On Saturday 04 March 2016, IICP were delighted to welcome Dr. Marie Adams to present a one day teaching class with our Masters Students. Following this, on Sunday 05 March, she presented a one day workshop highlighting her research into the personal lives of forty therapists in order to prompt discussion on why we become therapists, why we become the kinds of therapists and exploring The Myth of the Untroubled Therapist.
Review of Workshop
By: Pam Patchell (MA 2015 Year 1)
The IICP annual conference is preceded by a day of teaching where the guest speaker takes the helm in the Masters class. On March 5th, Dr Marie Adams came to visit. Marie goes down in the annals of IICP history as the first lecturer to bring both Master class participants together as one group. Whereas last year I was in the office in a haze of jealously, this year, I was front and centre with my MA15 peers listening to Marie and discussing the questions she posed. On March 6th, Marie conducted a workshop for the IICP 2nd annual conference.
In gathering her research, Marie says she sought to ‘learn from others’. What Marie learned has become a powerful tool of self-reflection and reflexivity. Self-reflection is the personal journey towards development and self-knowing. Reflexivity is the conduit converting self-knowledge into professional growth and competency in therapy. The workshop inspired me to come to terms with how I apply myself as an equal partner in a therapeutic relationship. That is no mean feat, particularly when I have struggled with what that means.
Marie’s dispelling of the myth that I can bracket my own experience, and the exercises she offered in the workshop, helped me to accept something I had not had the courage to embrace. Not only can I be me, and maintain boundaries, I do it well when at the forefront of my mind is the therapeutic consideration of what might be useful for the client, and/or ‘what would be useful to keep me safe and well’. I just don’t do it all the time, and for the life of me I could not see why!
Sometimes it is a simple concept that transforms your perspective. Marie talks about how there is always a ‘tension’. I had heard of the concept of tension in a sociological context, and have applied it to macro contexts in awe inspiring ways. It had not occurred to me to consider tension on the micro level; to consider the degree of tension between me, and me as a practising psychotherapist. By engaging in the exercises, I learned that what matters in the tension is how I identify with that anxiety, and how I use it.