2nd Grade, Week 3: Basics of psychotherapy
What to expect in this course
This is going to be a super-short version of psycho-therapy course so I will skip the usual boring stuff about different methodologies, whether we are talking about CBT, psychoanalysis, psychodynamic, etc, such stuff is truly boring.
All you have to know is that we are going to study the integrative methodology, which became quite favorite recently. The reason is that these different methodologies are better for some stuff and worse for other stuff. Integrative methodology combines the best of the aforementioned based on different situations. Eg you want to apply cognitive behavioural therapy methods on neurotic problems, experiential psychotherapy on depressions and self-searching, etc.
The reason why you should be interested in therapy at all is hidden within the arcanum of Magick. Magick is not a hobby, Magick is the lifestyle. If you mean it seriously with Magick, it's not okay being Magicians on Friday night during conducting some static ritual or while trying to impress your friends. You must live and breathe Magick, you must eat it for the breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well. Your every sleeping and waking hour must be filled with Magick. Psychology (and psychotherapy) teaches us important lessons about mankind and about ourselves. With these lessons we can easily help people resolve their problems or scare the living sh*t out of them without silly wand waving and all that pompous stuff, sometimes a word is more powerful than a sword.
What we learned before
During the first grade we have already learned and tried some techniques from experiential psychotherapy. These techiques were supposed to help us gain some stable mental health, fight our vices, support our virtues and help us fighting a stress, depressions and panic attacks. These techniques were:
-simple relaxation exercise
-two chair exercise
If you are not sure which is which I recommend to recapitulate these because these won't be mentioned again. Sorry, guys, I am not Bardon, I am not going to repeat myself.
Basic rules in therapy
1. You are not a problem solver, you are supposed to listen to people and in certain cases lead them in certain directions
2. Nodding your head lightly helps to build an impression of a listener, which helps for your client to open to you
3. Listen what your client says and remember it well, if long-term memory is failing you, take notes, but rather after the session, staring at the paper and writing something during session looks like you are not listening to the client.
4. Repeat client's words if you are unsure if you listened carefully or when you think that a client needs understanding. In the latter case formulate the sentence to be supportive.
Eg when client says: "I think no one understands me", formulate the answer as something like: "I get it, you feel as if you were not being understood by other people".
Such reaction usually has a bonding effect, except for few cases that we will talk about a bit later.
5. Feel free to talk about your personal experience or life if being asked by the client, just don't overdo it, remember that sessions are namely about the client. Also don't avoid answering because that could severe the bond.
6. Psychotherapy without bonds do not work, your client must trust you for the therapy to work (sounds familiar?)
7. If you make a mistake during remembering or interpretation and the client informs you either verbally or non-verbally, don't be affraid to admit your mistake, the bond is even stronger when client recognizes you as a human being. From such an apology the client can also learn that it is ok to be wrong and such situations can be resolved in a kind and elegant manner.
8. Some people talk fast, some quickly jump from one topic to another, some speak super slow, leave minute long pauses between sentences and some have just an annoyingly high-pitched voice. Adapt to people's speeds and personal settings and don't lose your cool. Certainly don't go "For God's sake, speak faster!!!" Or "This is so fucking boring!!!", that's generally considered a very bad form.
What to do if your client is defensive
In the beginning it's normal that some people are not willing to open, slow down and be patient. If the defensiveness appears later in session it means we omitted something. Either we forgot some information from previous sessions, we misinterpreted what the client told us or we touched some too sensitive topic. It can also be we didn't ask a correct question but in such cases the client usually asks similar question he wanted to be asked. Eg he defensively asks about your life and the reason is that he thinks you are not interested in his life because you didn't ask that question. You will usually notice this in non-verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication is a very complex topics and there are countless books on the topic. To make this section short we won't talk about it in depth, let's just say that non-verbal communication consists of:
-tone and melody of the voice
-eye movement and positions
Always consider these aspects and in long-term process you will know your client well enough to notice when something is happening and what is happening.
As we said before, therapists are not omniscient beings, they are humans. Don't be scared to admit your mistake and fix it.
Pygmalion effect shows how expectations in someone's abilities can influence someone's future actions and also results. There was an experiment where a group of random students were selected. Teachers of people in this group were notified that these people are highly talented, with a status of geniality. These students then had a remarkable improvement in their grade. Their teachers considered them special and treated them this way as well, which in return gave them better motivation in their study.
On the other side, if you were considered idiot, you would either had to work harder to get rid of this label or you could give up and your grades would degrade.