‘Mistakes of the Heart’ – a resource for therapists
9 Hrs (approx) / 8 DVD’s Universal format
This recording with Dr Janina Fisher examines the underlying issues that most often contribute to therapist error and explores how what drives us to do this work can also contribute to “mistakes of the heart.” Like parenting, psychotherapy can be only “good enough.” Therapeutic mistakes are inevitable, yet our work lives don’t allow us opportunities to acknowledge and grow from them. Our mistakes occur in the privacy of an office with no one but the client with whom we could process them fully. We may pause to critique ourselves but rarely have the chance to ask: what in me drove that error? Why do I find myself this same mistake again and again? Why do I empathically fail this client more often than others?
Whether the mistakes we make are clinically mis-attuned or the result of our own internal conflicts, there is much to learn both about preventing future mistakes and repairing past or present errors. Therapists regularly confront the insidious impact of shame on their traumatized clients’ ability to find relief and perspective. Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy interfere with taking in positive experiences, leaving only hopelessness. Increased ability for self-assertion gets undermined by belief systems about worth or deserving. Progress in the treatment, increasing relief from symptoms, even greater success in life tend to evoke shame and self-judgment rather than pride.
This recording really touches on some key questions for anyone working in the healing field: how do I grow in my practice and stay alive to the people who come to see me? Dr Fisher is a great teacher and is open about her own ‘Mistakes of the Heart’. This is where something leads the therapist to what might be classed as an error, but which seen in the context of support could lead to a breakthrough for the client. In this way we are seeing the almost inevitable ‘error’ as part of an unfolding mystery that lies at the heart of true healing. This is an antidote to the idea’s around ‘regulating’ the psychological therapies because it focusses on the truly dynamic dance thats afoot in the healing relationship.
NB: Comments by participants at the event have been excluded for confidentiality reasons.
Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research centre founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a therapist and consultant, she is also past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Fisher has been an invited speaker at the Cape Cod Institute, Harvard Medical School Conference Series, the EMDR International Association Annual Conference, University of Wisconsin, University of Westminster in London, the Psychotraumatology Institute of Europe, and the Esalen Institute. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of research and treatment and how to introduce these newer trauma treatment paradigms in traditional therapeutic approaches.