Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN41
Perceiving and understanding 'enactment' in the therapeutic relationship
Over recent years the most exciting developments in our field have come via neuroscience, psychotherapy integration (i.e. the cross-fertilisation between therapeutic approaches), the inclusion of the body and 'relational' perspectives. This workshop combines and integrates all of these developments, to bring them to bear on the most difficult dynamics that we encounter as therapists: impasses and 'enactments', or in other words: disturbances and impasses in the working alliance.
We now understand that whatever psychological wounds the client is bringing to us and into the consulting room, we will in some ways become involved and implicated with them, in ways that go far beyond verbal interaction. The term ‘enactment’ (as an extension of the traditional notions of 'transference' and 'countertransference') is being used to describe the ways in which the therapist is - inevitably and necessarily - drawn into the client’s wounding, leading to the working alliance being disturbed or even breaking down.
There is great therapeutic potential in these cycles of rupture and repair that occur in the client-therapist relationship, but much of it occurs subliminally. So if it occurs unconsciously, outside of awareness, how can we perceive and understand enactment and respond creatively from within it?
The starting point is the recognition that a deeply involved and engaged therapist does not maintain their therapeutic position statically or non-chalantly. On the contrary: the therapist's stream-of-consciousness, internal process and moment-to-moment bodymind experience is full of conflict, ambivalence and uncertainty. By attending to the bodymind detail of the therapist's experience (what we think of as - in the widest sense - countertransference), we discover parallels to the client's inner world, and the patterns, scripts, schemas and character conflicts which constitute the client's psychological struggle.
This CPD workshop is dedicated to deepening our engagement with difficult dynamics in the therapeutic relationship, and to finding ways of accessing the therapeutic potential locked within them.
It is designed with participants of a previous introductory CPD event in mind, but it is open to all practising therapists, and suitable for practitioners from across all modalities. Michael will offer the essence of his perspective in formulations which can be translated and adapted into all therapeutic languages and models.
Building on and extending the learning from the previous workshop (which was repeated several times in Brighton: “How to work when therapy isn’t working”), we will go beyond recognising enactments as a significant feature of the therapeutic relationship, and now begin to attend to its phenomenological detail:
• how can we notice and distinguish significant moments of enactments?
• and how can we access and make use of the multitude of perceptions, feelings and thoughts which occur in the therapist’s stream of consciousness?
• what fantasies and hypotheses can we articulate which give us information about the inherent dynamic of the enactment?
What you can expect to learn on the day …
• perceive the ways in which the client’s wound enters the consulting room
• register significant and charged moments in the relationship
• understand these moments in the context of the three kinds of contact
• collect in these moments bodymind information which would otherwise remain subliminal
• link these moments to the client’s habitual relational patterns
• process the charge and pressure impacting on the therapist
• begin to consider interventions for relieving or intensifying the enactment pressure
Organisers: Brighton Therapy Partnership
This workshop is expertly organised by Shelley Holland from Brighton Therapy Partnership, who has been running an inspiring and well-attended CPD programme for several years now. You can find some feedback in response to previous workshops on Michael's tutor page there.