Thursday, November 29, 2012
We live nowadays in a strange times. All the time I hear or see the advertisements of some courses in the domain of psychotherapy, coaching and in general psychology oriented domains which promise to the participants the mastery, that can be obtained on for example a week or so. This post is a reflection about this, lets call it, social phenomenon.
Very popular are nowadays the courses in the domain opf for example NLP and related subjects, that promise, the one will become professional practitioner or an agent of change in the course of one week. Now, is it really possible? Lets not go into the reflection on the subject, if people who teach it all, are themselves so good as they promise other to become. Lets just narrow this discussion to the good coaches and therapists, that really obtain great results. Is it possible to learn their skills in one week?
Many people promise to teach for instance Ericksonian Hypnosis in four or five days. There is vast amount of that kind of courses. My opinion is, that it is not possible, however this dopes not mean, that attending the seminars is pointless. I personally thing that You can not learn the attitude of some other person in one week at all, and there are few arguments for it.
First of all even Milton H. Erickson him self concluded, that to be a good hypnotist one has to go through the complete education in the field of mental health related profession, and at least ten years of private practice in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
Now, this seems to be reasonable approach. Basic education in one of the mental health professions gives the main background to work with a patient, and to basically have some idea what to do and what is going on. Now, what about the ten years period of practice? Research in psychology of creativity and in cognitive psychology on the processes of obtaining knowledge proves this point, showing exactly, that it is crucial for a person wanting to master a skill to practice it about 10 000 hours, which is the equivalent of ten years of practice.
Now, where in all this are these courses, lasting for five days or so? Well, when we look at the courses in general, they are not long at all. Even the recommended by American Psychological Association courses in Ericksonian Hypnosis or for example Cognitive Behavior Therapy lasts about two or three weeks in a row. Yes, but these are not the courses, that promise go create a master from a novice. There is a very important place of education incorporated into a practice. In my opinion the right approach is, to treat coursework as a guidelines and inspirations, for a development of ones own abilities as a therapist or a coach. In Europe the system of education for psychotherapists is a bit different. The basic course, which prepares the participant for the work as psychotherapist lasts for four years, and it includes the theoretical coursework, self-experience or psychotherapy, and supervision, apart form this, many times it requires from a participant to work in some place where psychotherapy is one of the basic tools of work . It is created in a way, to bring up the basic abilities in the beginning psychotherapists. And still it lasts for four years, this means, that there is even more required, for someone to become a master.
I personally am more found of the american system of education in psychotherapy, and the reason for it is, that it is far more individualized and one can follow unique path reflecting his own personality and preferences.
No matter where one study, in my opinion, he or she has to do far far more than to attend some course, and I would a specially avoid those seminars that promise miraculous. All these promises are more likely marketing tools in practice (most of the times used no very professionally by the way:)), than real intentions followed by the results.
To end this all with a summary, I would say, that one can become a master, but it needs to take time fulfilled with hard work, practice and education. There is no course, that will make this shorter. However many courses can be helpful in directing the work into proper directions. I will end this with one more sentence. Remember, when You observe Dr. Milton Erickson or Aaron Beck, or whoever else working, you most of the time see a person that have behind at least thirty years of continuing education in the field and the same amount of practice.
So let us all go to work, for the future mastery. :)
Friday, November 2, 2012
Reflections on resistance in therapy
Well, I think it is fair to start with the statement, that there are many ideas about what the resistance is, and why it occurs. These ideas are mostly connected with the brother conceptions of the human psychological construction and the theories of how people works and why they are disturbed.
In Psychoanalysis for example the resistance occurs in the relationship between the patient and therapist because of some previously suppressed unconscious content. Generally speaking we deal with the resistance when the therapist touches in the process of analysis some things that are, due to some reasons suppressed into the unconsciousnesses. It can be due to some trauma or anything else. Casual psychoanalytic therapist will, in this place accuse me of the vast oversimplification, and he will be right. The only think I would like to highlight here is, that the resistance in psychoanalysis is on the side of the patient. It is the psychological structure that uses resistance as a strategy for protecting some unconscious content.
In Structural Approach, which I am one of main founders, we see the resistance as something different. Our view is closer to the idea of Milton H. Erickson. A lot of our idea on this matter, came out from the analysis of Doctor Erickson's hypnotic sessions. From our point of view the resistance is a mistake in the communication process. We can call it miss-communication. To simplify the subject, it occurs when one person wants to force something of another. It does not necessary means, that the therapist imposes some idea in a direct fashion. This is however also the case. A therapist can hold to much to the theory of psychotherapy in which he was trained. This in consequence will result in reduction of a patient and can cause resistance due to multiple reasons. For example: The patient will not feel accepted and understood, he can feel forced to something, he can feel that the therapist is incompetent, because of this impressions, and so on. In general the view presented by the research projects in Structural Approach presents a point of view opposite to psychoanalysis, and puts the responsibilities for the resistance on the therapist and his lack of communication skills.
This statement also creates opposite implications for the therapy situation than in analytically oriented currents. In psychodynamic approaches it is very common to say that, if the therapy does not work for a patient and there is too much resistance in the relation, that means that the patient is not ready for the therapy. In Structural Approach we revers this statement into the following: Is the therapy does not work, it is not ready for a patient. Each person is different, and each therapeutic session to be effective, has to be somehow different. It suppose to be well adjusted and tailored to the specific person. Most of the resistance comes in my opinion from simple ignorance of this fact.