We discussed the notion of resilience today where Dominic opened with a quote from The Making Of A Therapist by Louis Cozolino “A risk of private practice is that you are God in a universe of your own creation. Like priests , movie stars, and kindergarten teachers, therapists can suffer from having too much power over too many people. The lack of balanced relationships in private practice can contribute to reality drift and make the therapist dependant on his or her clients for human contact. If you choose private practice , make sure you have colleagues you can tell anything to , while maintaining confidentiality. Talk honestly with them about clients , and continue to get accurate and compassionate peer supervision and feedback when ever possible.”
This led to a discussion on power in the relationship and how this can be seductive and even enriching. One down side is when we do not see progress and feel powerless. We looked at examples of how this can relate to various client groups in particular couples and how we feel when therapy is unsuccessful. The effects of this seem more immediate in couple work than in individual work where clients seem to be looking for a “fix”. Couple work is seen as more demanding than individual work and this led to look at resilience in relation to self care and client load.
We looked at resilience as a facet of internal supervision and when we feel helpless who does that belong to . We touched on external supervision as being an essential part of monitoring and helping supervisees to grow along with the role of challenge in that relationship. For example asking the supervisee “now what have you not brought to supervision from your client work”
We also looked at using supervision to help replenish our internal level of resilience.
The idea of how inadequate supervision may come from a lack of resilience within the supervisor was discussed and how , if at all, this is monitored by the profession. We also looked at the risk of supervisors falling into the role of second counsellor thereby making the supervisee feeling inadequate and how to avoid that.
We looked at how some clients seem to try to “tough it out” and how conversely this can lead to a loss of resilience in the individual. This led to a discussion of the paper by Roebuck and Reid (Coun Phychother Res. 2020:20:545-555) which looked at how trainee therapists experience resilience: An interpretative phenomenological analysis where students observed the need to feel vulnerable as a an important part of resilience development and learning from failure (P549).
The notion of “you are allowed to be ill” was discussed as was how we tolerate failure and how we have to be careful of avoiding collusion leading to a misuse of the therapeutic power dynamic.
We moved onto the role of empathy and congruence in the therapeutic relationship and how we use the impact of supervisee content on us to support the supervisee. How do we allow the impact of clients on us to be useful in the therapy space and how we encourage students to take that nanosecond to pause before using a congruent reply to ensure we are assessing whose benefit is this disclosure for.