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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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 Post subject: Therapist supervision
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:36 pm 
I?ve been thinking a bit about supervision of therapists and the realities of the primal community as well as therapy generally.

The primal therapy community is quite small to begin with, and it?s been my observation that within this already small community, there are even smaller factions, each with its own particular bent. The therapists are naturally drawn to those who share their particular orientation, and consequently, who often also share the same blind spots.

I?ve seen this in group intensives with multiple therapists where the potential for supervision is present on the spot. All the therapists will miss the same problem, although it may be obvious to others who are there.

So, I think that as great as peer supervision sounds, in practice it?s not as helpful as one would hope. This isn?t exclusive to primal therapists. Many years ago, my psychoanalyst-in-training was closely supervised, but of course his supervisor shared that same blind spots regarding analysis and how I was reacting to it as he did. I know from personal experience that therapeutic neutrality isn?t neutral at all. There?s no escaping the blind spots.

Maybe it would make more sense to have therapists with very different perspectives supervise each other. Cognitive therapists supervising primal therapists and visa versa. That might shake things up a bit more effectively, although ultimately, as a non-therapist, I?ve come to believe that anyone who becomes a therapist is driven by forces that guarantee certain blind spots. It?s inherent in the profession.

It?s an imperfect system. Seems like the best a client can do is to be aware of the imperfections in the system, know that a therapist will have blind spots (as will the client, of course, complicating matters tremendously), and find a therapist who is always willing to look at himself or herself and share with the client what is relevant. Then the client can identify the blind spots and work with them, or not.

Sometimes great therapy happens in the interactions that occur around the exploration of blind spots. They are not a bad thing; they are the reality.

If supervision by other therapists lulls the client into thinking that he or she doesn?t have to be concerned about the therapist?s blind spots, then I think the client loses.

I don?t mean to say that supervision is bad, but I?m trying to be realistic about its limitations.

Shelley


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:39 pm 
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A larger primal center is a good place for therapist training and supervision. Janov's center I think produces therapists who perform therapy pretty much the same way. They are closely monitered for several years before they are allowed to do a full session on their own.
When I went to the NYC Institute there were usually about 5 therapist trainees in various stages of training at any particular time.
I think that some of the more important things are to know what not to say and do as a primal therapist, so as not to take the client out of a feeling. Because clients had to prepay, there was a continuity and trainees could learn how to work with that particular client in group
and know that the client would be coming back many times.

So this is a good way to train and supervise therapists. Of course this was done according to Janov's ideas and principles and there was no "independent" therapists around. But his senior therapists are competent and have their own ideas and are given leeway.
I don't see how any purpose would be served to have a primal therapist supervised by a cognitive therapist, they are different animals.
In New York City there is another large center with a training program
called, I think, the Center for Integrated Feeling Therapy. At the PPP message board you will see their Google ad come up. I don't know why they aren't listed in the therapist and therapist training areas of the PPP site. I think there are 5 to 7 therapists there and a second office in upstate NY. The website describes the training program. I only know what I have seen on the website.
What would be good would be if therapist training centers would share information and methods etc. and direct observation of each other.

Phil


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:25 am 
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It's not just therapies or primal therapies that are naturally drawn to those who share their particular orientation, and consequently, who often also share the same blind spots. You see it in most forms of organized communities, politics, etc. If there's no supervision, if there's no way to critically verify the results, then you have cult-like or totalitarian situations. As the old saying goes: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If it wasn't for the openness of the internet a lot of information on abuse wouldn't have reached people otherwise.

But, therapists who are depending on their income through suffering people, are not likely to bite the hand that feeds them. I think it's important to give correct information about primal theory and therapy and the sources of human suffering. Not one person can do that, but together, through discussion and exchange of experiences and ideas, we can make a small contribution.

Dennis


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:26 am 
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What I want to add is that I think a group of primal therapists is unlikely to share the same blind spot, if they have done their own personal primal work. It will also be unlikely just because they are different people.
That is why it can be advantageous to work with different therapists.


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