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Technical issues in therapy: A workshop with Susie Orbach
Fri 23 June 2017, 10:00 – 16:00 BST
On Friday 23rd June 2017 Susie Orbach will visit Stockport to run a workshop on technical issues in therapy. The workshop will consider a range of clinical dilemmas that are common in practice. The aim is to get as close to the experience of a session as possible. Process notes are usueally used to reproduce the narrative of a session. But 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 theoretical and countertransferential: what is she thinking now? what is she feeling now? what sense does she make of the utterances between the people in the room?
The therapists interventions may be directed at facilitating the individual’s narrative. Or they may be used to slow a person down and help them think. There are also interventions that are focused on affect and an examination of the complexity of feelings an individual may be experiencing. Beyond those considerations are interventions that challenge the individual’s conceptions of events and the construction they place on them. These relate to the inner world of the client and are striking because they appear to be out of kilter. Then there are the interventions that are designed to get behind defence structures.
To facilitate the process, Susie will play excerpts from her two recent Radio 4 series In Therapy, which span a variety of clinical situations. These will be disected to understand what is said by the therapist and why. Participants are urged to bring their own case material so it can be subjected to the same kind of questioning and thereby further the understanding of our interventions and what makes them helpful.
The first session
What are we looking for in a first session? Is it information, family history, symptomatology? What is the presenting problem and how do we view it? What does the therapist need to consider in a first session? How do we draw a provisional mental picture of the prospective client/patient’s internal world and object relations? What sense do we make of the therapist’s transferential responses?
Dealing with erotic transference
Erotic transferences can be extremely troublesome. Are they, as Freud argued, both expected and a defence against the therapy? How can we understand them when they occur and how do we work with them? Are there ways to minimize the kind of discomfort it causes the therapist?
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 or helping them get a deeper or more complex understanding of themselves.
Couples come in different configurations: sexual couples, mother-daughter, 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 to think about and avoid them?
The workshop leader
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 has 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 including Government, the NHS and the World Bank.
She continues to help many individuals and couples from her practice in London.