The Therapeutic Frame: Is it Central to the Cure?
Saturday 14 December 2019 - London
With Dr Maria Luca, Prof Alistair Ross, Maktuno Suit and Nick Totton
The therapeutic frame has evolved over 130 years, from being a practical appointment system for a meeting between analyst and patient, to a key component of the practitioner’s skill. Traditionally, it has been seen as providing consistency, reliability, confidentiality; of preserving a screen of anonymity around the psychotherapist, which allows the patient or client the freedom to freely roam their transferences and projections onto that person. It offers a dependable structure for that relationship, one with a quality of safety and predictability – something that is of great importance to those who suffer from inner or outer chaos in their lives.READ MORE...
The frame creates safety and inhibits the danger of the therapist’s use of the client. It offers a set of limits which, in themselves, can engage the patient with creative boundary pushing which illuminates their unconscious desires and fears. Yet, if held too rigidly, these limits can be experienced as deeply persecutory; they can exclude moments of deeper connection. The email that arrives between sessions, the early arrival for a session, the probing personal question about the therapist’s life: these interruptions may contain great potential for a therapeutic breakthrough if allowed some breathing space.
So, in contemporary psychotherapy, where should the therapeutic frame be placed? Many practitioners are now experimenting with outdoor therapy, loosely timed sessions, calls between sessions and self-disclosure. Do these enhance or hinder the work? After all, Freud took his patients on long mountain walks. Is there a risk that the frame exists primarily to protect the therapist? Or is it a key therapeutic device? We invite our speakers to consider if new and more flexible approaches run the risk of overlooking a key to therapeutic success: containment.
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A psychotherapy trainee is someone undertaking a therapy training course of at least 8 hours study per week.