How to be a ‘Bad’ Therapist: Deconstructing the ‘rules’ of our profession, reimagining how to work with integrity and creativity (March 2023)
Allison Priestman, provided us with a very inclusive, interactive and live seminar to the online…
This was a stimulating and inspiring event that surpassed my expectations. The workshop revealed that there is a real appetite to include a discussion and experience of spirituality into our work as therapists. Stephen Bushell, Jungian Analyst, introduced the morning by affirming that therapy offers an invitation to “go deeper”, whilst on the contrary our Western culture conspires to keep us “on the surface”, especially young people who may be trying to keep up with social media. There is a hunger to meet a “larger space”.
We learned about the “field of encounter” which encompasses three levels: a) intra-psychic (what’s going on inside ourself); b) inter-psychic (what’s going on between ourself and others); and c) trans-psychic (what’s going beyond, across or through). This could also be thought of as a) self, b) the physical room we inhabit eg the therapy room, and c) expanded space ie infinity.
The term “numinous” describes an experience of wonder and awe which is usually mixed with fear. It is an encounter with something much larger than ourselves which may shake and transform us.
We discussed our associations with the words: spirit, soul, religion and spirituality. Perhaps it was not surprising that for some delegates the term “religion” had negative connotations, but Stephen guided us to recognise that religion should be the gateway that sustains spirituality, and that we must, of course, respect our clients’ own experiences of religion. We agreed that the terms soul and spirit tend to overlap. However, according to the Jungian author James Hillman, soul has “feminine” energy, is receptive and has the capacity to “go down” into buried emotions; whilst spirit has a “masculine” energy which enters from beyond, animating the soul, enlivening us.
Stephen offered us information about the Jungian notion of individuation and the archetypes of Self and Collective Unconscious and how this compared with, and differed from, Freud’s psychology.
Most helpfully, we discussed together how we recognise those moments when we experience depth when working with a client, and how to be precise with this awareness so as to enhance such encounters. Examples included a bodily shift (eg goosebumps), a feeling of suspension, expectation, spaciousness or emotional release (eg sadness or meaningful euphoria) in us or in the client.
The workshop was an exceptional learning experience and I was honoured to host it. I am thrilled that all 17 delegate feedback forms gave Stephen Bushell 5 out of 5 for his teaching and facilitation.
I would like to thank delegates for their openness, generosity and supportive participation. I thank Stephen for his excellent guidance and facilitation of the subject and our group.
By: Wendy Bramham, Jan. 2019
Feedback from delegates:
Scores from 17 written feedback forms:
for “Speaker of the seminar” 5 out of 5!
for “Organisation of event” 4.94 out of 5.