Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Group Therapy Supervision and Confrontation

I am thankful to the instructor for trying to hold our dialogue in her mind and trying to find an answer to her dilemma. I want to state that I do not feel her comments as a confrontation. Rather, I experience her as passionately arguing her interests in the group which I run. Accordingly, I do not feel that I confront group members, but, rather that I am empathically attuned with patient’s needs to be hateful to the group and to be self-destructive.

Also, within this supervision, we have both chosen to co-create an experiment: the instructor to supervise and I to be supervised for a group by a supervisor who is not a group therapist. This is mutually confronting, I think, also for the class. Unless we have the courage to visit unvisited areas of our experience, therapy, and supervision, cannot take place. I find this experience anxious enough to help my growth and the bouts of shame that may occur as the necessary elements of that. Being humiliated for the badness is not the same thing as being empathically confronted for your need to be bad.

I think that there are many ways that confrontation can occur and it seems that, as a supervisory group, we have started exploring this range. As a supervisee I do not feel shame when you suggest something different. In a parallel process also, I think the group member had the courage to be hateful enough and the group was courageous enough to challenge empathically her destructiveness. The shame that may arise reflects the underlying shame she got when she wanted to attack her family and they did not let her be hateful enough. Now, in the group, she is starting to realize her destructiveness.

I quote a paragraph from a Darlene Ehrenberg paper and also the paper to perhaps assist us:

For some the realization that dealing with difficult feelings and tensions in immediate relation to the another can lead to both learning and growing and the relationship becoming stronger, rather than either or the relationship being threatened or diminished, may be a revelation (Ehrenberg, 1996). This kind of revelation is an “insight” that cannot be conveyed in words. It is the lived experience that that this is possible that is the “insight.” This kind of “insight” is in response to change, which is contrary to the idea that insight is what leads to change. Rather, the lived new experience, in all its profound emotional intensity, in the immediate analytic interaction is what is “mutative.” This has bearing on why research based on transcripts of the words spoken in sessions miss what might be going on experientially and emotionally between and within patient and analyst, and how powerful this dimension of what transpires, often without words or beyond words, ultimately is.
Stavros Charalambides, Candidate TBIPS, and Athens

1 comment:

Lycia Alexander-Guerra, M.D. said...

Dear Stavros

Thank you for your exemplary post in response to my previous post on my supervising dilemma. You certainly take things in stride. Your comments about allowing patient destructiveness are well said. I am, of course, reminded of Winnicott's exhortation to survive, that is, to neither withdraw nor retaliate. You certainly stay engaged. Thank you as well for reiterating, through Ehrenberg's writings, my repeated caveat from class that one who supervises misses all the implicit communications going on in the room between patient and therapist, lest we ever forget.