Spitting in the Client's Soup

Spitting in the Client's Soup

Don’t Overthink Your Interventions

By Jay Efran, Rob Fauber

March/April 2015

Therapists sure have a knack for creating complications. In the search for simple explanations for their clients’ suffering, they tend to find an attachment injury behind every relationship issue, a traumatic event to account for any symptom, and brain research to support every clinical maneuver. New problem categories continue to be devised. For instance, the list of possible types of trauma has now expanded to include insidious trauma, intergenerational trauma, vicarious trauma, microtrauma, and betrayal trauma. Recently, just-world trauma has been added to the list. This is when an event shatters a client’s belief in a benevolent world in which good deeds are rewarded and wrong-doings punished. But isn’t this what we used to call growing up?

Of course, new therapeutic specialties and novel variations on existing approaches keep cropping up. Among the latest are cognitive-processing therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, trauma-sensitive group yoga, attachment-focused family therapy, and even forgiveness therapy. The neurobiology craze has many therapists offering clients lecturettes on neuroplasticity and myelination, and one Networker author reports showing them PET scans, presumably to prove that therapy really does change the brain. Of course, so does drinking your morning coffee.

The field is as fractionated as ever. And as new and reworked methods continue to attract adherents, the…

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 12:09:54 PM | posted by Chanan
In this article, Jay writes about his experiment in the 80s of tricking phobic patients into thinking that there were flashes of pictures of spiders on the screen: We invented a bogus treatment, purposely designed to violate all the known laws of learning. There is a new law of learning that has recently been discovered called memory reconsolidation (Bruce Ecker). Phil Manfield has used this learning when he developed the Flash technique. The Flash technique explains the results that Jay Efran discovered with his experiment without attributing it to a placebo effect.

Friday, May 15, 2015 3:50:02 PM | posted by Sue
Trying not to over-think while in session is a good suggestion, especially, I think, for folks who are new to practice and are still reeling from the demands of the educational process which includes tracking hours, testing, licensing, learning and applying theory, ethics, and the law.

But I don’t really understand or appreciate the tone and premise of the article.

This article starts off highlighting that the study of trauma or attachment theory or interpersonal neurobiology or CBT or DBT leads to an overly complicated therapy by a bewildered clinician. Those in particular are deemed overly complicated and unhelpful.

It then purports what hopefully most of us know... that 'relationship' is key to successful therapy, not the 'technique du jour' employed by the clinician. Which by the way, is what attachment theory and I hope any theory purports as an underpinning. An attachment informed clinician is not bogged down with a stance in therapy that your childhood is the cause of all your problems... rather, an attachment informed therapist is interested in the mystery and healing power of intimate relating, like between infant and caregivers, like between therapist and client. Why the assumption that their is a problem here?

A trauma informed therapist is interested in people 'growing up' too, and are not peddlers of staying stuck in infantile regression because as a human being you are in fact likely to experience various forms of trauma while spending time on earth as a nervous system wrapped in skin. Why the assumption that there is a problem here?

The remainder of the article highlights the authors own case studies, giving intervention examples that any creative, skilled clinician, I hope, might try, has tried, or would be willing to try based on the context given in the article--- Regardless of how much they do or do not know about CBT,DBT, trauma, or the neurobiology of attachment. Right? The author also includes interventions that sound a heck of a lot like something straight out of DBT, such as radical acceptance and getting over the idea that much of anything that goes on in the world is about you, personally.

So whether we draw from Socrates or the Buddah...we are all doing these things....Right?

Why does the author sound so self-congratulatory?

Is it not possible to be both? Skilled and up to date clinicians informed with the latest science and/or techniques, AND steely relationship experts that think on their feet in sophisticated and creative ways that benefit our clients?

There's plenty of room for both to exist, no?

As for the nature v. nurture debate...didn't we figure out a long time ago it's a complicated mix of both? And not just both...but even more, including elements we don't even know to ask about yet, because, it's such a mystery and probably always will be?