Resolving Clinical Dilemmas in Therapy
A one day seminar with Susie Orbach
London, 28 January 2017
10.00 am – 4.00 pm
As practising therapists and counsellors, we witness a plethora of clinical dilemmas on an ongoing basis – what should be the focus of our first session? How do we deal with erotic transference, perplexing and conflicting client behaviour and the challenges that come with client dyads?
We rely on process notes to reproduce narratives of our client sessions and yet realise that sessions are so much more than words. They are the pauses, the hesitations, the breadths, the felt misunderstandings, the projections that occur which may be wordless but are nevertheless palpable and powerful. In addition, there are the internal ruminations of the therapist, both the theoretical and the countertransferential: what are we thinking now, what are we feeling now, what sense do we make of the utterances between the people in the room.
These regular dilemmas are made even more challenging given the fact that our intended interventions may have multiple, and indeed co-existent objectives – our words may be directed at facilitating the client’s narrative or at slowing down the narrative and assisting our client in her thought process.
At this intellectually stimulating and practical seminar, Susie Orbach relies on a psychoanalytic and developmental approach and draws on therapeutic case examples to help us closely examine the challenging facets of our client interactions. The aim of the seminar is to get as close to the experience of a therapy session as possible. To facilitate the process at the seminar, we will hear excerpts from the two recent Radio 4 series In Therapy which span a variety of clinical situations. We will then dissect parts of the sessions to understand what was said by the therapist and why. Susie will also facilitate similar dissection of clinical material brought by participants with a view to elucidating the crucial aspects of our interventions that make these effective. She explains the best practices that therapists employ to overcome these commonly occurring dilemmas while providing interventions that:
- focus on affect and examine the complexity of feelings our clients may be experiencing
- challenge our client’s conceptions of events when these appear out of kilter with the inner world
- effectively get behind defence structures
Through interactive engagements with participants and seminar sub-sections, we specifically consider:
- The First Session: What does the therapist need to consider in a first session? Is it information, family history, symptomatology? What is the presenting problem and how do we view it? How do we draw a provisional mental picture of the prospective client’s internal world and object relations? What sense do we make of our own transferential responses?
- Dealing with Erotic Transference: Erotic transferences can be especially challenging. Are these, as Freud argued, both expected and a defence against therapy? How can we understand such transferences when these occur and how do we work with these? Are there ways to minimize the kind of discomfort it causes the therapist?
- Perplexity and Conflicting Messages: When people act in ways which perplex them and seem to be against their conscious desires, they can seek therapy to understand themselves better. It doesn’t mean that what they are ‘up to’ is necessarily any more transparent to us immediately but we have tools for helping them get a deeper and more complex understanding of themselves. We look at the effective use of such therapeutic techniques.
- Managing Dyads: Couples come in different configurations: sexual couples, mothers and daughters, separated relationships. We will discuss how we can hear both stories and translate them so that each person can begin to hear the grievance, hurts, confusions and betrayals. What are the pitfalls in couple work and how can we best avoid these?
About the speaker
Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, writer and co-founder of The Women’s Therapy Centre in London and The Women’s Therapy Centre in New York.
Her first book Fat is a Feminist Issue has been continuously in print since 1978, with a new Introduction this year. Her other books include Hunger Strike, What’s Really Going on Here?, Towards Emotional Literacy, On Eating, The Impossibility of Sex, Bodies, Fifty Shades of Feminism (co-editor). Her latest book is based on her Radio 4 series In Therapy, which was met with critical success and an audience of over 2 million listeners. The first series was broadcast in February 2016 and the second in November 2016.
She lectures widely in the UK, Europe and North America, has written for several magazines and newspapers. She has provided consultation advice for organisations from the Government and the NHS to the World Bank.
She continues to help many individuals and couples from her practice in London.
10:00AM: Session 1
11:15AM: Coffee Break
11:30AM: Session 2
1:00PM: Lunch (a light lunch is provided as part of the seminar)
2:00PM: Session 3
3:00PM: Session 4
© nscience, 2016 / 17
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