Deaf and ethnic cultures What makes a social group a culture? How does Deaf culture compare to full-fledged ethnic and religious cultures? What are the criteria for recognizing a group as a genuine community or culture?
The first course, Becoming a Trauma-Aware Therapist: Definitions and Assessment, covers questions of what constitutes a trauma, and how to assess for its effects in a range of ways. The second course, Treating Trauma: Basic Skills and Specific Treatments, introduces an overarching framework for trauma treatment, and then reviews the large variety of specific treatments for trauma that are now available.
Countertransference and Other Challenging Therapist Emotional Responses Countertransference is a reality in psychotherapy.
Whether or not your theoretical orientation has an explicit reference to the construct, what is true is that all psychotherapies, including those interventions that are largely about medications, are encounters between human beings, who come to those encounters fully loaded with personal histories, feelings, and needs.
Thus, therapists have feelings about our clients, some of which are immensely helpful to the therapeutic endeavor, others of which are potentially harmful or even destructive when unexamined and misunderstood by the therapist. It is in the nature of working with trauma survivors that such therapist feelings are more present, more powerful, and more challenging than may be the case with other clients because of the nature of the material and the dynamics of post-trauma responses.
Like many psychologists trained in the middle of the last century, I was given the message that such emotions were a problem, likely a result of my own unresolved conflicts, and that my job was to confront and work through them in my personal therapy so as not to burden my clients with the projections of my own materials.
The notion that psychotherapists could, and ought to be, objective, dominated that discourse and continues to influence my generation of psychotherapists, despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary.
Many other psychotherapists insist that they do not experience or need to deal with countertransference because they are not psychodynamic — and similarly assert that there is also no transference in the therapy because it is not focused on exploration of unconscious processes. Some writers have argued that if one is doing a cognitive or behavioral therapy that this, per se, obviates the problem of countertransference; somehow, these therapists believe that if their construct does not include attention to less adult emotions or symbolic representations in relationships that these are simply banished from the room.
I join with Dalenbergwho is the foremost scholar of countertransference issues in trauma treatment, in eschewing both of these viewpoints. After intentionally working with trauma survivors for more than three decades and unintentionally doing so for far longerI would argue that while all of our clients are likely to evoke some kind of strong emotions from us at some points, clients with a history of trauma are more likely than most to do so.
Why might this be? The simple answer is that everything about trauma has the potential to evoke some kind of powerful response in other human beings. Whether we turn away, become numb, get emotionally activated or sexually aroused, rescue, judge or blame a victim, we are demonstrating those responses.
All of these responses are human. When I train therapists to work with trauma, I often share my own experiences of going numb, fighting off sleep, and writing grocery lists in my head when first hearing details of traumas that pushed me beyond my then-capacities to know of the cruelties of the world.
I talk about my urges to rescue, the foolish things that I have done when faced with the power of post-traumatic emotions sweeping over my client and me like a tsunami. Each therapist, no matter how experienced, will feel such things repetitively throughout her career, as her capacities to witness trauma change due to personal life experiences or the very real effects of working with trauma survivors.
Most therapists, upon encountering these responses within themselves, feel ashamed, guilty, or both, adding emotions to the mix that confuse, frighten, or alienate the survivor client. Consequently, a necessary step in using the countertransferential material of trauma treatment in ways that assist the therapy is to accept its presence, warts and all.
Clearly such emotions are normative, no matter who the client is. With trauma, however, other emotions emerge as well. Common Countertransference Responses to Trauma Numbing and Avoidance What therapists working with trauma bear witness to is terrible.
Trauma is cruel; it is profoundly random and irrational. It breaks the heart and, with repetition, hardens it.
A child goes to school; an earthquake occurs, the roof falls in and crushes her. She survives with the memory of the cries of her dying classmates in her ears, and her own terror of believing that she will never be found.
A man goes to work; an angry former co-worker storms in and shoots people in front of him. The sight of blood pooling around his desk, and the smell of his own body sweating in fear both haunt him as he returns to work each day. A woman marries; her husband beats her bloody, for no reason and every reason, beginning on their wedding night.
A decent law-abiding man and a violent felon crew on a fishing boat; it sinks, and only the violent man survives.
A father rapes his daughter repeatedly. A priest molests an altar boy, who for the rest of his life becomes nauseous each time he attempts to take Holy Communion.
For a therapist to remain stoic in the face of this sort of material would be inhuman. Readers are likely, at this juncture, to wonder why it was necessary to write things in this most blatant and painful manner.
Could I not simply refer to sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, combat trauma — the various covering terms that allow us to communicate to clients our desire to not necessarily hear or know the details of their lives?
This is precisely the point I hope to make here.Yahoo Lifestyle is your source for style, beauty, and wellness, including health, inspiring stories, and the latest fashion trends. Bookmark. College–Level Sociology Curriculum For Introduction to Sociology.
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