Disconnected and Unreachable: How to Work with Shut-Down States of Mind
Saturday 20 June 2020 - London
A One-Day Exploration Led by Dr Anne Alvarez and Dr Graham Music
Working with someone who cannot respond to the connection to another offered by psychotherapy can be one of the most de-skilling experiences for practitioners. Being with long periods of silence, avoidance of eye-contact, difficulties in showing affect, purpose or even words can be enormously challenging and likely to evoke a very negative countertransference. Frustration, boredom and feelings of incompetence make it hard to maintain interest in such clients and they may be dismissed as unready or unsuitable for therapy.READ MORE...
Our speakers both have extensive experience of working with children, adolescents and adults who are deeply shut-down, and they will share reflections on the challenge of engaging them in the therapeutic process. Drawing on the psychoanalytic work of Freida Fromm-Reichman and Harry Stack Sullivan, and linking to current critical thinking in the developmental sciences, including Stephen Porges’ vagal theories, they will offer new understandings of the subtle differences in the ways of being unreachable. New concepts will be introduced, such as being not so much withdrawn as undrawn, and the differences between being shut-down due to neglect, and dissociated due to trauma will be discussed.
The early roots of unreachable states, including neurobiological and attachment problems, lead to a theory of deep disembodiment. Here, lack of connection to appetitive body-states is central to this disengaged way of being: the seeking systems, so fundamental to attachment and the taking in of good introjects, is often impaired. Therapeutic effectiveness thus needs to be informed by the therapist’s own felt embodiment and attachment-based countertransference. Anne and Graham will demonstrate how to remain alive to one’s own bodily sensations and vitalised in this work. As well as slides and video-clips, there will be space for an experiential exercises and discussion with your colleagues and speakers.
This ticket type is for 2 people. Please specify the name of the second attendee where prompted on checkout.
A psychotherapy trainee is someone undertaking a therapy training course of at least 8 hours study per week.