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The persecutory therapist re-visited: The damage done by trauma to a patient’s sense of agency and the implications for psychotherapy practice

The persecutory therapist re-visited: The damage done by trauma to a patient’s sense of agency and the implications for psychotherapy practice

An often neglected aspect of psychodynamic psychotherapy is its potential contribution to the development of self-agency, which, in healthy development passes through a series of stages from the physical to the representational and autobiographical. One of the most devastating effects of trauma, especially various forms of early relational trauma, is the profound damage done to this agentive developmental process and the patient’s sense of self-agency in the world and in relationships. In this paper I shall explore Meares and Hobson’s description of the specific ways in which psychotherapists may enact a persecutory role, examining these in terms of their impact on the patient’s self-agency in the therapeutic relationship. I suggest that Meares’ model of analogic relatedness, based on associative, imaginative and non-linear patterns of thought, is fundamental to the gradual re-emergence of the patient’s experience of self-agency. It provides the essential space in which the patient’s own motivation and meaning-making processes can emerge, rather than passive compliance with a coercive powerful other. The neuroscience that underpins these developmental processes will be discussed.

Speakers: Dr Jean Knox
Areas of Interest / Categories: ANZAP 2016

ANZAP 2016

Society, Catholicism and the human person as complex systems and sub-systems

Complexity theory is recognised as the New Science that conceptualises the universe as a system of communicating systems. As such, everything in the universe is better understood by exploring the dynamic, nonlinear relationships between the parts that make up the whole. Psychoanalytic Complexity Theory provides a new, but familiar contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Poiesis in verbal art, in verbal science and in nature: Creativity and the Conversational Model

Therapists working in the Conversational Model draw from a number of sources of experience and creative endeavour. The use of such sources suggests that therapists recognise some form of crossover between the goals of therapeutic, dyadic sharing and the value bestowed on aspects of subjectivity by creative engagements. In this talk, we offer analyses related to three aspects of such a crossover: a) what reasons have been proposed by practitioners (i.e.. Meares and his colleagues) for the efficacy of artistic values in therapeutic method and in a therapeutic relationship? b) what role do analogical ‘leaps’ have in the discourse between therapists and patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? c) what do current theories of art and science suggest about a resonance between mental health and ‘poiesis’ – or inspired making and accomplishment?

Depressive realism, angst and creativity - What can the work of Michel Houellebecq tell us about the art and science of psychotherapy?

This paper will explore this question and present the work of Michel Houellebecq who has now published six novels, all of them bitter and miserable. Their pessimism isn't the only or necessarily their most important element, but it's probably the first thing that everybody notices. They are callow, cynical, sex obsessed, openly racist and misogynistic in turn, rife with B-grade porn, contradictory, full of contempt for art and intellectuals and operate on a low level of masculine anger at the indignities of not being an alpha male. They are none-the-less serious works, and their increasing reputation has more to do with their artistic achievement than the strong reactions they elicit.

Society, Catholicism and the human person as complex systems and sub-systems

Complexity theory is recognised as the New Science that conceptualises the universe as a system of communicating systems. As such, everything in the universe is better understood by exploring the dynamic, nonlinear relationships between the parts that make up the whole. Psychoanalytic Complexity Theory provides a new, but familiar contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Spoiled identities and community resilience

Using the work of Goffman and other social psychologists, this presentation looks at the ways in which the identities of perpetrators of sexual abuse are constructed in a monolinear fashion creating `spoiled identities’. This is a social construction which the community actively participates in for necessary reasons but which after time affects levels of community healing and resilience through embedded and habitual processes of othering.

Development of the CMAS - Conversational Model Adherence Scale

Meares et al. (2012) outlined within the clinician’s manual for Conversational Model Therapy (CMT), the basis for a scale that would measure adherence to CMT within any given therapy session. Our aim was to further develop the Conversational Model Adherence Scale (CMAS) through multiple workshops with senior clinicians within the Westmead Psychotherapy Program and through consultations with Russell Meares, the co-founder of the Conversational Model. Measuring adherence to a given psychotherapeutic approach has numerous benefits, such as the verification of therapist expertise, ensuring therapy fidelity in the reporting of patient outcomes, and facilitating the training of new CMT psychotherapists by minimising the cognitive load within a complex skillset.

Trauma and Lateral dissociation: The spoken and the unspoken stories