|Beyond the One-Way Mirror - Page 11|
Before the introduction of PLL, the therapists had been conducting all their sessions behind closed doors. Therefore, they were understandably anxious about this new form of supervision. However, their anxiety quickly dissipated when the onsite clinical director, Joan, took the lead and we used videotaped IPR one-way-mirror supervision on 16-year-old Max, who was experiencing bouts of emotional and physical abuse from a father who refused to come into therapy. To give the mother the support she needed, we had her best friend, who couldn't attend the session, on speakerphone. Bringing in the client's "village" to move a stuck system was a brand new concept for the therapists, who'd worked primarily with individuals.
The therapists were riveted as they watched the videotape showing how Joan and I, acting as a consultant during one of my onsite visits, worked together to get the mother unstuck. As they watched the video, they used the IPR form to rank us on seven separate skill sets. They loved the idea of critiquing us and being active participates in the supervision process.
A critical moment in the session came when we had to use the structural technique known as "unbalancing" to take sides with the best friend against the mother, to try to get her unstuck. Agitation and tension were clearly visible in her as we explained that her unwillingness to bring her husband into therapy would cause a relapse in Max's symptoms of disrespect and acts of aggression toward her. We even brought up the issue of race, suggesting that the mother might not trust us enough to bring the father in because we were both white and the family was African American.
The unbalancing maneuver seemed to work, as the mother's friend became our cotherapist, gently but firmly convincing the mother how important it was for the father to be present. The friend brought out the fact that race was an issue, because the family was from an African village that deeply distrusted outsiders. To address this issue, the friend agreed to ask her husband, who was a friend of the father, to speak with him about joining the therapy.