Tag: Ken Hardy

Ethics II: NP0046 – Session 6

As a therapist do you wonder how much you should share with your clients in or out of therapy? Do you know where to draw the line between personal and professional questions? Join Ken Hardy as he explores the complexities of self-disclosure in therapy.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org.

Tell Us What You Think | Ask Questions | Get Feedback From Your Peers

How will what you heard today change the way you practice? Is there a particular technique you plan to try? Do you have specific questions for the presenter? Join the conversation!

If you have any technical questions or issues, please email support@psychotherapynetworker.org.

Finding the Hero Within with Ken Hardy

Exploring the link between trauma and oppression

By Ryan Howes

One of the hallmarks of the family therapy movement of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s was the exploration of the power of social issues like race, class, and ethnic background in clients’ lives. Leading figures in this movement, like Salvador Minuchin, Braulio Montalvo, Marianne Walters, and Monica McGoldrick, were outspoken about the importance of paying attention to the impact of social issues in the therapy room. But these days, we don’t hear much about the connection between psychotherapy and the larger social issues of the day. It seems that, for most therapists today, multiculturalism is a required, four-hour CE workshop, not a cause worthy of attention. One exception is Kenneth Hardy, a professor of family therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, who’s dedicated himself to working with troubled inner-city adolescents and keeping alive psychotherapy’s social conscience.

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RH: You once said: “My training prepared me to be a pretty good white therapist.” Could you elaborate on that?

HARDY: I did my graduate training in the early 1980s at the Medical Research Institute in Palo Alto, and spent time at the Family Therapy Institute in Washington, D.C., with Jay Haley. I learned a great deal at both places, but there was little that spoke to me as a person of color. Whatever discussion there was about race or culture tended to pathologize people of color without seeing their inherent strengths. When I left my graduate program and got a job at a psychiatric outpatient clinic in Brooklyn working with a population that was largely people of color, I saw the first day that there was a massive disconnect between what my training had taught me and what they needed from me. While I’d been well trained, I felt like I was a white therapist in black skin.

RH: Has training changed since that time?

HARDY: Well, I think there’s been improvement. You’ll certainly find more faculty of color in training programs—not a substantial number, but one or two people. You’ll find some course content focused on themes of race, class, and ethnicity. But when I talk with students of color, the kinds of experiences they describe today are chillingly similar to the ones I experienced some 30 years ago. They still don’t feel entirely safe bringing up issues of race or ethnicity. Is it better than when I was a student? Absolutely, it’s better.

RH: You described the shift in your work with inner-city teens as moving from, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” Could you elaborate on this?

HARDY: Lots of the young people I see have been perpetrators and done some pretty horrific things in the world. But as a therapist, I’ve found it most useful to start by getting curious about what happened in their lives that contributed to their violent behavior or other aspects of who they are. I see them not just as perpetrators, but perpetrators who were themselves victims before they became perpetrators. So I typically ask early on, “Who were you before you became who you are today?” I want them to think about the events in their lives that reshaped them and led them to be where they are today.

The lives of these kids are filled with trauma, and trauma can reshape every aspect of our lives. As a therapist, I begin by looking at what happened along the way to clients that’s incited this shift in them. I’ve found that doing that is a much more helpful place to begin than trying to decide what’s wrong with them.

RH: What does this approach look like?

HARDY: The kids I see are coming in for things like robbery, violent crime, or chronic truancy. I’ve found again and again that trauma provides a powerful backdrop to those presenting problems. It’s really important not to start the relationship by focusing on their criminal activity. So I’m asking them to talk about their experiences of being poor, black kids in a poor neighborhood of Philadelphia, for example.

RH: You mention that a big part of your work with these young folks is affirmation. What do you mean?

HARDY: I once overheard someone talking about how a periodontist had to impact his gum and create some sort of synthetic gum. Something like that happens in psychotherapy. Often we have to build up the underdeveloped parts of people and find strengths where we can—to lay a foundation for growth. Affirmation starts to rebuild or restore what’s been destroyed, to create a foundation from which therapy can actually take place.

That’s not always so easy, especially if someone’s life narrative as a result of trauma is that “I ain’t nothing.” That can be difficult to rewrite. If I dare to see something redeemable in such people, they may think I’m trying to manipulate them. How could I honestly see something valuable in them?

RH: You like to talk about seeking out our clients’ “untapped heroism.” What does that mean?

HARDY: It comes from my deep conviction that no matter how egregious our behavior, we still have in us some redeemable qualities—something that sets off a flicker of light in the midst of everything that’s awful. So I’m always looking for that quality of what I call heroism in these young people—that part within them that’s managed to survive against tremendous odds. Heroism is this undying will to keep on keeping on, despite all kinds of adversity.

Whether you find that quality in your clients depends on what you look for. A therapist who looks for pathology sees it. A therapist who looks for strength finds it. You have to change what you look for in order to change what you see.

Ryan Howes, Ph.D., is a psychologist, writer, musician, and clinical professor at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, California. He blogs “In Therapy” for Psychology Today. Contact: rhowes@mindspring.com; website: www.ryanhowes.net. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at letters@psychnetworker.org.

Welcome to “The Latest Advances in Trauma Treatment.” This series will explore the clinical implications of the latest advances from attachment, development, and neurobiological research and how to effectively apply them with clients. What’s the best way to structure treatment with trauma clients? How can therapists help clients reshape their trauma narrative? How can clinicians effectively tailor therapy to meet clients’ needs in the context of trauma? Discover the answers to these questions and much more.

In this first session with Mary Jo Barrett, the founder and director of the Center for Contextual Change, she’ll explain what she’s identified as the five essential ingredients to effective trauma work, through the lens of a structured, collaborative method of working with clients.

Discover how the stories clients tell about a trauma event shape their experience of it with Donald Meichenbaum, a founder of Cognitive Behavioral Modification and an expert in the treatment of PTSD. You’ll learn how to help clients create a more positive, “untold” story, the significance of resilience in healing, and how to help clients enhance their cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral resilience.

Learn how to help trauma clients create a “somatic narrative” with Pat Ogden, the founder and director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Discover how helping clients gain greater awareness of their bodies and creating a somatic narrative will help them work through experiences and distressing emotions that may be otherwise inaccessible to them cognitively.

Discover the relevance of trauma issues like family dynamics, poverty, and racism with Kenneth V. Hardy, the director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships. In this session, you’ll learn how to broaden your clinical frame of reference to address the sociocultural factors that can keep traumatized clients stuck.

Explore the distinctive challenges of working with dissociated clients with Christine Courtois, the cofounder of The CENTER: Post-Traumatic Disorders Program in Washington, DC. In this session, you’ll learn practical methods for helping clients with dissociative disorders move beyond their patterns of avoidance so they can process their experiences of trauma, abuse, or loss.

Discover an attachment-based approach to healing trauma founded in affective neuroscience with Diana Fosha, the developer of Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). Learn how to build a relationship with clients as a trusted “True Other” and enlist clients in a process of dyadic affect regulation that’ll allow the client’s latent resilience to develop.

In the bonus session with Francine Shapiro, the originator of EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), she’ll show how this revolutionary treatment can be used to address challenging cases and shorten treatment time.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org.