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Self reflection: dreaming oneself to be otherwise

Self reflection: dreaming oneself to be otherwise

The emergence of Self is contingent upon an ongoing interaction with the care-giving environment. Under favorable conditions, this interaction gives shape to a developmental trajectory of increasing complexity with the experience of Self at its apex. Here the Self has a capacity for reflective awareness. Under less favorable developmental conditions or trauma, the Self is compromised and its capacity for reflective awareness may be impaired or focally lost. Reflective awareness lies at the center of what it means to be human, differentiating us from other creatures with ‘the mark of the possibility?.always to be other than we are.'(Heidegger). People come to psychotherapy to feel other than they feel, wanting to be free from the fated sense of their limited possibilities .It provides an opportunity for an ‘internal evolution’ (Hughlings Jackson) – where an expansion of reflective awareness can take place. Reflective awareness is a disarmingly simple term, but is farreaching in its ramifications. It includes: thoughts and feelings directed to one’s body and one’s feeling, towards oneself; a shift in the focus of this awareness to include the ‘other’ in all of their complexities; and the question of whom or what is doing the questioning. All these elements of reflective awareness are held in delicate dynamic balance. Its development is manifold, and marked by changes in self-states, relational configurations and features of language. This paper will examine reflective awareness from the perspective of its emergence in the therapeutic conversation, as proposed by the Conversational Model of Psychotherapy. To dream oneself to be otherwise occurs within a conversation

Speakers: Dr. Phil Graham
Areas of Interest / Categories: Psychotherapy, Self, The Conversational Model, WCP 2011

WCP 2011

The individual and the couple in the context of the perinatal experience. A dream or a nightmare?

"There is no such thing as marriage - merely two scapegoats sent out by their families to perpetuate themselves". Whittaker & Keith 1981. This presentation will explore the experience of Anxiety and Depression for both men and women, in the perinatal period. The perinatal period offers a unique opportunity to provide comprehensive care for parents diagnosed with perinatal Anxiety and/or Depression. There is significant evidence that the partner's risk for developing a related Anxiety or Depression, is increased from 4.8% to 36% at 6 weeks postnatally. 

The universality of infant-parent psychotherapy - a South African model

The birth of the democratic South Africa opened up the possibility of meeting with fellow citizens who had previously been kept apart.  Since 1995 a model of  infant-parent psychotherapy has been developed resulting in a mental health service which has come to be valued within the community.

Complex trauma: voices of healing

Within the context of the recent natural disasters occurring around the world, attention has been focussed on trauma's psychological consequences. The trauma spotlighted here is on that of childhood maltreatment and the effects on subsequent adult life. Described in this paper are experiences of recovery from patient perspectives, and an examination of how these are different from, and interact with, representations of therapy derived from published expert theoristpractitioner experience. It is based on a phenomenological study of reports from seven women with histories of chronic childhood maltreatment. These women have since been through significant recovery from dissociative symptoms, and it is this part of their journey that was the focus of this research. From the data, two models are proposed.

The Light In Darkness - Art-therapy, a powerful tool in Palliative Care!

Over the years, we as health care providers have proven that a good perinatal preparation, a good birthing process and a good postnatal care ensures the physical and mental well being of the newborn and his mother. A similar opportunity for quality outcome should be afforded at life`s final phase - preparation and a good 'gateway' for the dying person, as well as a good follow - up period of those left behind. A good death needs guidance to settle outstanding issues, to articulate values, beliefs and doubts and to live the remaining period of life in the fullest and most meaningful way. Early contact is pivotal to learn about our client and his life history. This time is needed to build our client`s trust, to endorse our commitment, and to collect the tools needed to guide him through the gateway and when taking his last breath. It is equally important to meet the immediate needs of his family and to develop the crucial trusting partnership that will ensure a good dying process for their loved one in setting of his choice, and a better acceptance of their loss. It is realistic to assume that people in the future will invest in their final time. 

Lateral violence and Indigenous peoples.

Lateral violence occurs when the violence associated with oppression is internalised by those who are oppressed, and redirected between the members of the oppressed group. Among Aboriginal and Torres

Clinical dream incubation and body

For 1000 years during the beginning of Western medicine (500 B.C. - 500 A.D.,) of the hundreds of medical treatments offered at the time, only dream-based medicine was ubiquitously practiced throughout

Psychotherapy with deaf and speechless clients.

Traditional psychotherapy as presented in most psychotherapy training programmes in South Africa do not equip psychotherapists with sufficient skills to deal with people who have special needs.