Changes in the Therapist

Changes in the Therapist

Changes in the Therapist

Changes in the Therapist

Synopsis

Modern therapy has shifted its emphasis to focus on the interpersonal field and on "mutuality of influence." The therapist and the patient are now seen as participating in an ongoing feedback loop, with each influencing the other. This interpersonal focus has brought the therapists and their reactions more into the foreground. Experiences with patients can, in fact, have strong reverberations in practitioners' own lives and can be the cause or source of essential changes in the psyche of the therapist. This book is the first to explore how efforts to work through issues in therapeutic relationships may permanently affect therapists' beliefs, feelings, and/or actions. The authors, all highly regarded senior clinicians, describe their own reactions and the types of changes that they went through as a consequence of their treatment of a particular patient. They do not make the therapeutic process seem artificially smooth and seamless. In probing their own struggles and difficulties, they illuminate the in-depth workings of the therapeutic relationship. The editors' introduction constructs a systematic framework within which to think about the changes the authors recount. Changes in the Therapist will be of compelling interest to all those involved in therapy.

Excerpt

Brenda Bursch

Lonnie Zeltzer

Jane Watson, a 10-year-old girl, was referred to me (Lonnie Zeltzer) by the chief of pediatric orthopedics because of knee pain. in the orthopedist's telephone referral, he said, "I have this child crying in my clinic. This is a pain problem . . . not an orthopedic one. Please help!" Such a direct and personal referral set the stage initially for me to want to relieve this child of her pain, especially when the previous four doctors had not been successful. the assumption I made initially was that this child had neuropathic pain and had just not received the right treatment. We intervened with straightforward approaches to treatment of neuropathic pain, but these were not effective. the distress of this child and her family, including numerous telephone calls for help on a daily basis, eventually led to a hospitalization and a subsequent year of individual hypnotherapy with me for Jane, and family psychotherapy with Brenda Bursch. I present the history and evolution of treatment for the patient, and Dr. Bursch discusses the family treatment. We both explore the feelings and changes that each of us experienced through the process. This was the first patient with whom we worked together. Thus, this story is about not only the development of ourselves as individuals but also the development of our professional relationship.

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