Do you ever find yourself getting stuck as a therapist?

Do you ever get stuck as a therapist?

Our next workshop is about this topic. We are bringing in one of the most popular ACT trainers in Europe, Rikke Kjelgaard, to deliver this unique workshop about getting unstuck as a therapist, while treating yourself with kindness and compassion. Rikke Kjelgaard is an extremely dynamic and engaging presenter who will help you explore your stuck places and help you get free to be the therapist you most want to be (and also a good friend to yourself).

She wrote this inspiring blog post so that potential attendees have a sense for what it will be like to be in a workshop with her:

https://www.rikkekjelgaard.com/blog/thestucktherapist/

Here are a few excerpts from the post:

“I wanted to walk the talk. I wanted to show her ACT. I wanted to sit with her inside of the darkness with kindness and compassion. She was not alone. Nor was I.”
“My invitation is that you ask yourself what lessons you could take away from whatever experiences you have had of being stuck? And might you offer yourself some kindness and compassion for being human? ”

The Compassionate and Flexible Therapist-Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Bring out the Best in you as a Therapist
Presenter: Rikke Kjelgaard, ACT Denmark
Date and Location: April 17-18, 2020, Portland
To sign up or get more info: https://portlandpsychotherapytraining.com/workshops-and-classes-for-therapists/

We’re thrilled to be able to bring Rikke out from Denmark and hope you will join us for this unique opportunity to see such a powerful and inspiring trainer present.

Author: Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

Jason is a psychologist who researches ways to help people with chronic shame and stigma and also works clinically with people struggling with those same problems.

Harnessing the Power of the Therapeutic Relationship

“Dealing with others is dealing with ourselves, dealing with others.” 

–Norman Fischer

Creating intense and curative therapeutic relationships is a fundamental skill for meaningful therapy. Strong relationships like this can engage people in ways that challenge and can perhaps even frighten them.  This means that therapy can involve exposure to avoided thoughts, emotions and sensations for the client AND the therapist.

“Exposure therapy typically elicits a temporary increase in patients’ negative affect in order to facilitate new learning. This may in turn increase therapist discomfort as therapists interact with the patient and are confronted with their own uncomfortable subjective experiences.” (Scherr, Herbert and Foreman, 2015).

The authors of this study found that therapists with high levels of avoidance tended to avoid doing exposure therapy. Powerful therapy requires us choosing to lean into risking vulnerability instead of leaning back and doing therapy to the client.   Easier said than done. Doing therapy can be disturbing and we rarely receive explicit training on what to do when we are struggling. When we find the courage to open up about our challenges in consultation, we might hear solutions, be given articles to read, or have our behaviors analyzed by the other clinician. Rarely do we hear, “Yeah, me too. As a matter of fact, about an hour ago.”

Thankfully, two third wave behavioral therapies (Functional Analytic Psychotherapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) blend quite nicely and give us clear guidance on how to continue to move toward that vulnerable edge of growth.  With them, we can accept our own human urge to avoid distress and stay the course, especially when deep pain arises in the therapy.

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)

Bob Kohlenberg and Mavis Tsai, at the University of Washington developed FAP. As behavior analysts, they noticed some clients improved much more than others.  They found that in sessions where the client experienced great change, the relationship was pivotal. FAP focuses on interpersonal flexibility.  The power of FAP is responding to our client’s behaviors moment-to-moment in session. To do this, we need to consider our clients in the context of their lives and their histories.  For example, consider a client with a pervasive and persistent pattern of complaining which affects his relationships. Telling us that they don’t like something about the therapy could be an instance of that unworkable behavior.  For another client, it might be a risky move toward intimacy.  FAP terms these ‘clinically relevant behaviors’ or CRB for short.

FAP gives a framework for how to be most effective with our clients through a set of rules or guidelines. When we follow FAP rules with our clients, we can find ourselves risking and challenging ourselves to engage in an honest and undefended way.

Here’s a simplified version of those rules:  Be aware, courageous and loving with our clients. Again, easier said than done.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT was developed by Steve Hayes at the University of Reno, and focuses on intrapersonal flexibility. Humans don’t like risk, so we need something to help us when we are in that shaky ambiguity of pushing our comfort zones.  ACT helps us find our ground as we engage in emotionally vulnerable ways with the people we serve.  As human beings with our own histories, it’s certain that we will have painful reactions in the therapy session.  Accepting this as normal, staying in the present moment with those reactions, touching into our values and taking action allows us to follow the FAP rules of engagement.   ACT helps us hold a stance of open curiosity, so that we can engage in the messy work of human intimacy.

Doing effective and meaningful work as a therapist is not easy. Thankfully, Steve Hayes, Bob Kohlenberg and Mavis Tsai have given us tools that provide a scaffold for us to create transformation with our clients.   I’m excited to share how you can get the most out of these two therapies and make your work more powerful.  We’ll be working in depth on blending these two powerful therapies and applying them to your most challenging clients.  Come join us.

 

Harnessing the Power of the Therapeutic Ralationship Using ACT & FAP

  • 2-day workshop led by Joanne Steinwachs, LCSW
  • March 4 – 5, 2016, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • sponsored by Portland Psychotherapy


Joanne Steinwachs LCSWJoanne Steinwachs LCSW is a social worker in private practice in Denver, CO. She is a peer reviewed ACT trainer and a recognized FAP trainer. To learn more about her training and therapy practice, go to www.joannesteinwachslcsw.com.

 

 

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENTS

January 31, 2020, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm · Portland, OR · Details

This workshop is intended to be part 1 of a two day workshop, but can also be taken on its own. This workshop is useful for therapists who want an update on the current clinically applicable research on how shame functions, including an overview of how and when shame tends to be adaptive versus maladaptive. This day has two primary goals: 1. To provide an overview of research on shame and self-criticism that can guide clinical practice and 2. To allow therapists to experience the model from the inside-out so as to develop greater personal self-compassion and a deeper intuitive understanding of compassion-based intervention strategies. Read more

February 1, 2020, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm · Portland, OR · Details

This workshop is intended to be part 2 of a two day workshop, but can also be taken on its own. If you already have a thorough understanding of the functions of shame and a good understanding of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, then it is you will probably be OK taking just the second day of this workshop. The workshop proceeds to discuss how ACT processes can be focused on addressing chronic and pervasive shame-based difficulties, with a particular focus on flexible perspective taking. Demonstrations of how to use perspective taking and compassion-fostering strategies with clients will be provided and attendees will also practice in small groups. An overview of chair work in the context of ACT will be provided. Read more

February 29, 2020, 9:00 am – 12:15 pm · Portland, OR · Details

Exposure is one of most the effective treatments for anxiety, trauma, and obsessive compulsive and related disorders (e.g., OCD, PTSD, panic disorder). A transdiagnostic intervention, exposure involves the repeated and systematic engagement with avoided stimuli that cause anxiety. Unfortunately, exposure remains underutilized by clinicians (e.g., Scherr, Herbert, & Forman, 2015), mostly due to misunderstandings of how exposure works and perceived difficulty of using it with clients. This half-day workshop will address these gaps by drawing from research on enhancing clinician understanding of and ways to overcome barriers to delivering exposure therapy (Farrell et al., 2016). Using didactics, role-play, and experiential exercises, participants will learn flexible application of exposure for a variety of clinical targets. Read more

April 17 and 18, 2020, 9:15 am – 5:00 pm · Portland, OR · Details

Do you ever “get stuck” as a therapist? Do some of your clients press your “hot buttons”? Do you ever find yourself struggling and thinking about “what do I do next” or feeling anxious, scared or stressed in therapy? In this workshop we will work on clarifying your therapist values and defining what is “difficult” about “difficult” clients. Through discussions, demonstrations and roleplays we will then work on these difficult clients and look at the processes from a compassionate ACT perspective. Read more