Interact Journal Integrative Ideas for the Process-Oriented Psychotherapist
Q: Why would you accelerate a process like that? In hopes that something will happen?
A: This is where the Rogerian part of my personal psychotheory shows up. Start with the idea that no matter what an organism is doing, it is always engaged in behavior that is deemed by the psyche either to be protective or to invite movement toward the resolution of its unresolved issues. And here’s the Gestalt part: When the organism does what it is doing to the point where that process is done enough, the organism will be done doing whatever it has been doing and can get on with doing something else.
Q: All they do in session is tattle on each other. Also, none of them is able to admit to being angry or upset about anything or with anybody. So what’s a way to work with this family?
A: You already see their process. Now create interventions that use their process.
Q: You’re always saying, don’t listen to the content. How can one not?
A: When you first start driving a car, if you steadfastly focus your gaze close to the car, you will steer crookedly down the road and not see anything but what is directly in front of you. Until, that is, you crash into something because you weren’t able to anticipate what was coming.
Q: Does psychotherapy always need a witness? With high motivation, can’t all this emotional work be done at home?
A: Most of us experience many enlightening moments from time to time throughout our lives. And although we integrate what we learn into our default behavior repertoire, we usually die long before we complete all our unresolved childhood issues, let alone the existential or traumatic ones that befall us as adults.
Q: Three different times last week I found myself disconnected from my work. Essentially, I wasn’t really in the room.
A: I’m glad you are aware of that. Were you aware in the session or did you figure it out afterward?
Q: How do you respond to a client’s general questionings?
A: Anyway you want to: be serious, get creative, lie, tell the truth. Keep putting the attention back on the person and work with the responses.
Q: She wants me to help her break through her denial. What exactly is denial?
A: Denial is a refusal to admit or recognize an occurrence or possibility. I don’t know about you, but denial is the preferred state for many of us (not me, of course) when we don’t want to deal with reality, our terror, or the possibility of change. To create an enactment, think reflexively.
Q: Sometimes I can’t think of anything to do in session and I feel helpless.
A: When you don’t know what to do in session, choose one of two things:
Q: I haven’t a clue what to work on with this person. There is so much that I have no idea where to begin.
A: Sometimes your psyche tells you, “Stop working so hard. Let the other person do the work.” In this case, capitalize on the fact that you haven’t a clue. Figure out a way to invite the other guy to begin.
Q: This man is like a gnat, all over the place.
A: And you are bugged, right?