A Workshop on Practicum Supervision: PRACTICUM: Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (LTEA) in Clinical Practice
The next presentation at the logotherapy conference was a workshop presented by Julius Rogina, PhD and Michael Winters, PhD
(These notes will be very sketchy because they are not my own. Even when I take my own sketchy notes, I can read a few words and recall what I wanted to say and fill in the rest later. Perhaps the notes will jog my memory anyway. Be that as it may…)
A volunteer from the audience talked about her experience with a client, a 24 year old female, history of abuse, particularly witnessing violence. She had multiple male figures in her life as she was growing up. Her current boyfriend is a wrestler. They have children.
The client has serious image issues that are reinforced through her behavior. She sees herself as not pretty and not feminine, even though the therapist felt this person appears very pretty and “put-together.” She is in the habit of pushing her boyfriend and irritating him by trying to get him to admit that she’s fat, to the point where he hits her.
Dr. Rogina asked: “What is the issue here?” He requested from the therapist to conceptualize it, and to think about the need to get her client to buy-into what she is saying.
Dr Winters asked: “When did you feel most connected and when did you feel least connected?” He attempted to get the therapist to self-reflect. The way we are feeling with a client ought to be a signal for us, he explained.
If you are running out of steam as a therapist on the intellectual/psychological dimension, you need to get to the emotional level and go to your noetic side with compassion and reflect on that, sharing with the client “being in the moment.”
We need to move from psychic to noetic awareness: “When did you feel least connected?” “Where was your hope for her?” “Where do you see her in a year or in two years from now?” “What is whole, pure, and intact in this person?”
Dr. Paul Welter suggested giving her a moral challenge. – “You spend a lot of time punishing your boyfriend, when would you consider stopping that?”
As an after note: Secondary victims of abuse protect themselves by suffering themselves because of their powerlessness to fix the parent who was abused.
The second volunteer was someone who had a 67 year old mother as a client. This client had two children in their 30’s and the oldest daughter had an illness, tragically resulting in her death. The mother suffered grief, panic attacks and anxiety. After receiving therapy for the grief she was now in her third year of therapy where she hyperreflects on her story. She takes Xanax to help her sleep. Typically her anxiety occurs early in the morning. Looking back at her experience of caring for her daughter, she feels guilty.
Dr. Rogina asked: “You are observing the dance of hyper reflection. Is the dance providing meaning?”
Dr. Winters asked: “Have you asked her what it would be like to stop telling the story?”
Dr Rogina noted her need to conceptualize and have a road map. “What would happen if you reflected on the good times?” (Maybe this would transition to what is possible)
Further it was asked: “Does she have other relationships to connect too?” “How is she identifying with the story?”
Pain does not go away, but you can see it from another angle We can help the client to “change the story” of their pain