Papers and Workshops

Religion and psychotherapy face to face

Sandra Winton

Religion and Psychotherapy have never been easy bedfellows. Religious people may fear therapy and therapists may distrust religion. Drawing on my experience of being both and Catholic sister and a psychotherapist, I seek in this paper to open a space for thinking about this interface as it occurs in the therapy room. Using the Winnicottian concept of the play space, and drawing on clinical material, I reflect on such matters as: how therapy is affected when our beliefs and those of our clients intersect or clash, what might growth mean for the religious client, what might impede growth for such a person.

Sandra Winton is  a psychotherapist in private practice in Dunedin.  She  trained in Self-Psychology with ANZAP and then completed  Graduate Diploma in Child Psychotherapy Studies from Monash University.  She is interested in a relational approach and is a member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy as well as NZAP. She is a Dominican Sister.

Facing into the Queer Embrace. Challenging psychotherapy to embrace difference in a normal world.

Jeremy Younger

So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face, your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth and clarity of you – warm brown tea – we held each other for the time the dream allowed.
Mark Doty: The Embrace

My presentation will begin with a consideration of the John Cameron Mitchell film Shortbus (2006). I shall suggest that our therapy profession needs to discover and celebrate being queer, and that, if being queer is about embracing an exploration of the unlimited freedom of difference, rather than the closing down of identity, then we have in this a beautiful and challenging summation of what we are about as a profession and as practitioners.

Referring to case-study material I hope to show that ‘queer’ is more than a word for a rainbow coalition of non-normative sexualities: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and so on; rather, queer extends the politics of sexuality beyond sex and sexual minorities and their civil rights and stands not opposed simply to “straight,” but more broadly to “normal.”

In our work we are not in the business of making (to borrow Adam Philips’ phrase) “shopkeepers into happier or better shopkeepers,” we are here to do something very different and far more creative and exciting: to challenge and confront and be radical agents of new thinking and new community.

As therapists I believe we need to grapple with this, that we are queer not because we are in the business of promoting liberal tolerance, but rather because we are constantly discovering the countercultural connections, risks and meanings in our social alienation. What does it mean then for therapists and clients to do the work of therapy in the freedom of difference?

Jeremy Younger trained as a Neo-Reichian psychoanalytic therapist in London some twenty years ago and now works in private practice in Auckland where he also co-leads the +2 Psychotherapy Group for gay and bisexual men. He is an elected member of the Council of NZAP and the editor of the Association’s Newsletter. He is also a member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the Centre for Lacanian Studies in Auckland. He has been an Anglican priest for over 40 years.

Being Janus faced: Reflecting on the edge between facing the patient and facing oneself as a psychotherapist in practice.

Margot Solomon

Ethics fascinate me. The philosophical ethics of Levinas, in particular has given me food for thought as I have struggled to find an appropriate balance between “the importance of accepting without attempting to know the Other’s otherness,” (Lowenthal 2006, p. 205) and the value of personal reflection and self-discovery that informs my practice as a psychotherapist.

I think Levinas is saying that facing the other involves taking responsibility to respond to the other and recognizing that the other is different. He or she may seem to be the same as me in some way but I have to respect that any label, or category that would put on the other would be murder in the sense that it would not be recognizing the infinite otherness of the other that is unknowable, irreducible and that can only be faced in the saying, in the here and now experiencing of the experience.

Symington (1996) claims that ethical behaviour requires us to have sufficient ego function to be able to process internally the inner and outer repercussions of behaviour to inform us what is right and what is wrong. He discriminates between moral amorphism, where we make decisions based solely on our own subjective feelings, and passive submission where we submit to an external authority. His solution is to develop what he calls conscience.

The focus in this workshop will be to use supervision of clinical practice to provide an opportunity to be supported and engaged in a dialogue that encourages reflection; and creates the space for development of both conscience (Symington) and responsibility for the other (Levinas). This workshop is an attempt to play with these divergent/opposing and essential edges of our capacity to engage. This involves interrogating our own certainty about both ourselves and others. Essentially we need relationship – communication with another – not me – that facilitates our awareness of the edges of our own ethical and unethical behaviour as psychotherapists.

I believe that a group can do this work together. Using reverie in the group to process what has been presented enables a giving up of the unconscious split between the presenter and group members (Berman and Berger 2007) and provides a containing space for:

The uncontained thoughts of the session (which) can be envisaged as searching among the group members for thinkers that are receptive to them and who can think and transform them into a verbal comment. (Norman and Salomonsson, 2005).

Margot Solomon, MA (Hon), MNZAP, MNZIPP, MPPAA, MGAS, MIARPP is a senior lecturer at AUT University in the Department of Psychotherapy and is chair for the New Zealand Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Her small private practice includes individual patients, supervision and group analytic psychotherapy groups.

Balint Group Supervision to Discover the Face of the Other

Sandra Turner and Mark Davis

This two hour experiential workshop offers an opportunity to experience and discuss the Balint method of group supervision. Michael and Enid Balint were innovative and influential UK psychoanalysts well known for their group work with health professionals.

The two co-leaders will provide a clear structure. The process involves a group participant briefly presenting a case or clinical situation, and then observing the group ‘work with’ the material. The holding of the group process by the leaders provides important safety and freedom for the group to imaginatively explore and speculate on the world of the therapist, the world of the client and the world that exits between them. Through this we get to discover the face of the other in ourselves and in our clients. There will be time for two case presentations. (Group size is limited to ten participants.)

Sandra Turner: Psychotherapist, Psychodramatist, Supervisor and Trainer
My practice is currently focused on training, supervision and facilitation. I have found the Balint method to be one that offers freedom to both the presenter and group members: creativity, fun and our wild imagination can all be accessed as we do the serious work of supervision.

Mark Davis: Psychiatrist in private practice, Supervisor, and Health Educator – based in Wellington
In addition to my psychiatric experience of 30 years, I have trained in individual, group and family psychotherapy in the UK and NZ. I have led a monthly Balint group for the past 9 years. I am a member of the Board of the Balint Society of Australia and NZ and am an accredited Balint Group leader, and Balint Leader trainer/supervisor. I love the ‘Balint’ way of working and have been deeply moved by the profound personal and professional changes that often occur in the members of Balint groups.

Traversing the Fault lines: A relational approach to the treatment of trauma

Jo Stuthridge

In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes, the image of the fault line became a powerful metaphor in my work with trauma. The fault line symbolized my thoughts about dissociative cracks and mutual enactment.

Trauma shatters the mind, creating self-states that harden and cleave into separate parts of the self like tectonic plates. Unbearable bits of experience are cut off and banished from any link with the subjective ‘I’. These not-me fragments, once exiled from consciousness, then intrude in the present as transferential enactments. ‘Not me’ is often located in the other. When internal fault lines are externalised, relationships are prone to rupture.

From a relational perspective, client and therapist must traverse these ruptures or interpersonal fault lines. As enactments are repeated and resolved, unwanted parts of the self can be integrated into a broader sense of ‘I’. We discover ‘not me’ through an act of recognition – feeling seen in the eye of another.

The development of the subjective self requires an encounter with alterity or the face of the other.

Jo Stuthridge M.Sc, is a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Dunedin. She is co-director of the Physis Institute, which provides training in psychotherapy. She has published work on trauma and recently contributed chapters to two edited volumes; “Script or Scripture” (2010), in Life Scripts: The Transactional Analysis of Unconscious Relational Patterns” R. Erskine, (Ed) and “What do I do now? Grappling with uncertainty in a postmodern world” (2011), in Relational Transactional Analysis: Principles in Practice, Fowlie, H. & Sills, C. (Eds). She is currently co-editor for the international Transactional Analysis Journal.

2012: Psychotherapy in changing times and with more than “The face of“ the Earth changing.

Brigitte Puls

Human beings are always in relationship- with themselves, with others, with the earth and cosmos.

The very foundation of life and beingness is relatedness, or better still, interrelatedness. We are living in times of great change and transformation. The earth is changing, societies and their structures are in flux. Our very foundations (e.g. food and water supplies, the solidity of the earth we walk on, our monetary systems,) are in flux. Indeed, times of great change- and, maybe, times for transformation. Undoubtedly, subtly and not so subtly, our clients (and ourselves) are affected by this “Spirit of the Times” and its practical consequences.

This workshop offers the opportunity to reflect on who we are – and on our relationship with the earth-from phenomenological, anthropological and ontological perspectives as well as on implications for our practice with our clients and supervisees.

It contains a paper presentation and a held space for participants to share and reflect. Links with the conference topic are made throughout the workshop. This is a big topic, so the underpinning stance is not where we get to in one hour, rather “the path (of creating space for this conversation) is the destination”.

Brigitte Puls works part-time in the AUT Psychotherapy Programme (senior lecturer) and coordinates and teaches the Postgraduate Diploma in Creative-Expressive Therapies.
In her private practice she works with individuals, couples and children, in dyadic psychotherapy and in groups. Her approach is shaped by her education as psychologist (clinical), psychotherapist and movement dance therapist. She works “holistically”, with a strong grounding in relational Gestalt psychotherapy. In her spare time, she teaches and dances Universal Peace Dances and is part of an ecological and spiritual retreat on the Coromandel.

“Mirror Mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all.” Fantasy and Reality Within Reflection.

Susan Alldred Lugton

In my paper “Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?” I will be attempting to explore what is seen and what is not, or cannot be seen, within the therapeutic space. I will refer to Oscar Wilde’s book on The Picture of Dorian Gray and link that and the above, with the concepts of projection and projection identification exemplified by the process of what can be seen in the mirror or in someone’s eyes.

I will be exploring what it may feel like to look different and will draw on my experience of working with a Malaysian patient for six years who now lives in the Middle East. She realized during the process of therapy, that she much of her struggle had been about people staring at her because she looked different. The pain of that experience had not been acknowledged or worked through. I will also refer to three Maori patients who I had in analytic work in Wellington.

I will attempt link above with living in New Zealand and the tensions within multiculturalism, being in relationship with many who may look different but may have many shared internal experiences.

 In my usual fashion I am still writing the paper so the emphasis and contents may change as we draw nearer to the conference.  There will be time for questions

Susan is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and psychologist in private practice in Nelson. Susan completed post-graduate research at Melbourne University involving the Esther Bick method of infant observation. She has written and published papers on “the effect of the birth of an infant on the marital relationship”,” adolescent suicide”, “the lost maternal object”, “extramarital Affairs”,  “cats in the consulting room”, “triangles and the previously unknown depth of Oedipal rage explored within psychoanalytic psychotherapy” and most recently,” reliability with thanks to Donald Winnicott”.

Susan provides supervision and training therapies for a range of professionals who are interesting in developing their clinical style to include working within the transference, taking account of projection and projective identification.

When the Other’s Roots are Far Away

Meg McMillan

In my private practice in Auckland I have observed that nearly half my clients have roots elsewhere. They may be recent or established immigrants or the children of immigrants.

These clients raise specific questions arising from the particularities of their culture, religion, ethnicity, language and historical experiences. There are likely to be issues around attachment style, identity, adjustment and possible post traumatic stress. With new immigrants there is always the question of what has brought them so far from their first home. Questions about insecure or avoidant attachment are relevant as is curiosity about the possible experience of trauma in their native land.

With the children (or in some cases grand children) of immigrants there are issues around identity. Tensions between the values of the original culture and the perceived kiwi values may complicate individuation and identity formation. This is exacerbated where there are specific ethnic/racial differences. Religious and cultural values which emphasise family and community may also be at variance with more individualistic and secular kiwi values.

Behind such clients are the historical circumstances of their native lands. Suddenly the wars, revolutions, persecution of dissidents and natural disasters of which we read in the papers are present in the consulting room, in the memories of our clients and the intergenerational effects on their children. My intention is to open discussion based on my observations of such clients in my own practice with the aim of sharing knowledge and contributing towards better practice with this client group.

Meg McMillan: Since completing the AUT Masters in psychotherapy, I have worked in private practice in central Auckland. This paper arises out of my fascination with the diversity of the histories and backgrounds of the clients with whom I work.  My arrival in psychotherapy was the culmination of a lot of psyching. In the preceding years I studied psychology, psychosynthesis, and psychodrama.  This followed earlier study in business administration, a degree in English literature and teacher training. My other incarnations include being a teacher, sex educator, dedicated mother, organiser of school galas, parent educator, administrator and being an only child, who for 10 years in middle life, had responsibility for my severely stroke-disabled, mother. I have travelled widely, read voraciously and sometimes write poetry.

I live with my husband with whom I share responsibility for managing property, 2 large gardens, and a commitment to the environment. We make time to tramp, travel and play, while anticipating the impact of future grand children.

The Face of Men

Sean Manning

Psychotherapy emerged as a discipline practiced primarily by men upon women.  The great majority of the patients described by Freud and Breuer were women, and this imbalance has not changed significantly in a hundred years.  Now, psychotherapy is mainly practiced by women.  There is an implicit assumption that the dynamics of men are vaguely similar to those of women, but somewhat less interesting.  The reasons for these trends can be found in our constructions of masculinity, and the reasons for them.

This paper begins with a light-hearted look at conceptions of gender difference, spends a little time happily debunking them, then looks at evidence from several fields that we prefer to emphasize female vulnerability and male culpability.  The nature of male vulnerability is explored looking at data from a sample of antisocial men, and if there is time it will end with with some brief vignettes and perhaps a poem.

Seán Manning. MSc, DipSW, DipGrad, MNZAP, TSTA, Registered Psychotherapist.
Seán is a psychotherapist in a therapeutic community in Dunedin with a small private practice. His academic and professional background is in psychology and social work. Raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he has lived in Aotearoa New Zealand since 1975. He is 66 years old and has three grown up children and one grandchild. A former member of the Board of the International, Transactional Analysis Association, and of the Training & Certification Council of Transactional Analysts Inc, until recently Chair of Ethics for the Western Pacific Association for Transactional Analysis and is the current president of the NZ Association of Psychotherapists instead of having a social life.

Psychotherapy Board of Aotearoa New Zealand

Face of the Other – information on regulation relevant to Psychotherapists.

Listening to the Silenced: The closed stranger adoption of Maori children into Pakeha families.

Maria Haenga-Collins

This paper explores the narratives of six self-identified Māori adults who were adopted into Pākehā families by way of closed stranger adoption and is based on findings from a recently completed Master’s Thesis. The study found that adoption is not a one off event, but is an on-going life experience. The multiple and complex ways the participants narrated their cross-cultural adoption experience reflected the diverse and contradictory narratives Māori adopted into Pākehā families navigate. Participants told stories on a continuum between ‘belonging’ and ‘not belonging’ within their birth and adoptive families, and in Māori and non-Māori worlds. In the telling of these narratives, participants have sought to repair the rupture in their lives when the dominant familial narrative of growing up in a birth family with a shared cultural heritage was not possible.

The study utilised a Māori-centred research approach, and a thematic narrative analysis of the participants’ accounts was undertaken.

Maria Haenga-Collins (BSW 1st class Hons.) is employed by CCDHB as a kaimanaaki/social worker in a specialist community health team working with young people experiencing first episode psychosis. She works almost exclusively with Māori clients and their whānau. Maria has just completed her Master’s Thesis and will be undertaking doctorial research in 2012 which will focus specifically at identity and adoption issues in relation to Māori within Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Face of the Other Other; Expanding the Psychotherapy Frame with Supervision

Jonathan Fay

Live supervision of workshop participants’ clinical work in a two-hour workshop.

“The 21st century offers a new, expanded context for our work, significantly different from the 20th century in which traditional psychotherapeutic theories, methods, and techniques were developed, For example: (1) new paradigms of the origin, context and purpose of life based on recent advances in astronomy and physics, (2) new appreciation of the wider context of human needs and aspirations based on ancient indigenous wisdom and contemporary ecological understanding, (3) a new pluralism and diversity awareness based on advances in cultural self-awareness and self-understanding. But does any of this really make a difference to ordinary clinical practice? How might these new forms of understanding be usefully applied in a practical clinical context? In supervision, our first priority is whatever will be most useful to the client and our second priority is whatever will be most useful to the therapist. This workshop will be an experiment to see if traditional psychotherapy practice and 21st century theory can meet.”

Dr. Jonathan Fay is well known to most of us. He earned his PhD in clinical psychology from Duke University in 1985 and has practiced, taught and supervised psychotherapy for 33 years. From 1991 to 2003 he trained more than 101 psychotherapy practitioners at AUT. For the past two years he has held a position as Associate Professor of International Psychology for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jonathan served on the NZAP Executive Council as Chair of the National Supervision Committee from 1993-97 and Chair of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee from 2000-2006 and in 2010 was honoured by NZAP with a distinguished service award.

Facing the Many Faces of the Russian Doll: which face to work with and which to leave as it is?

Dr Olli Antilla

If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human being can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call dear baby “it.”
T. S. Eliot

My starting point is that we were conceived in a relationship and we were born into relatedness. My aim is to reflect on some of my clinical experiences where the meeting with the other failed. Looking back to my own and other clinicians’ experiences I can see that what went on was co-created. There was a face, or layer hidden, that should have been approached differently, or even left as it was.

I am going to talk about how to understand these extremely painful clinical situations using concepts like the analytic field and its different layers, Bion’s concepts of L, H, and K, and Simone Weil’s thoughts on beauty and the need for space and the necessity for distance. According to Simone Weil, instead of talking about love of truth it would be better to talk about the spirit of truth in love. Truth is not the object of love but reality. I will talk about the necessity of transformation and transcendence and how our problems cannot be solved on the same level where they were created.

I will also ponder the importance of curiosity as the crucial driving force in our work and how it makes possible for us to learn from experience in spite of the pain of that learning.

I will talk about the experiences of weeping with someone who cannot weep. I will talk about feeling feelings when the other cannot, and I will talk about traumas that cannot heal; or can they? I will talk about the difference between surrender and submission, and the difference between health and perversion. I will talk about the truth that disappears if it is spoken and how to become and to stay conscious of the myriads of interpersonal experiences that take place in our daily sessions without trying to force these subtle moments into spoken words.

Olli Anttila is a medically trained psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice, in Parnell, Auckland. He has been working in New Zealand for 22 years and his current interest is in trying to understand what is crucial for the healing to happen in therapy, and as well, what seems to take place when the work cannot be brought to a good termination.

The Body Dreaming – Discovering ‘not me’ through body symptoms and physical illness.

Dr Gerald Maclaurin

Dreams and body symptoms are unavoidable aspects of human experience. Less well known is the link between these phenomena, and the practical ways we can harness it for awareness and healing. With training, such efforts frequently lead to the surprising and fruitful discovery of a ‘not me’ aspect within, an ‘other’ implicitly ‘seeking’ acceptance and expression, offering the possibility of expanding our identity and ways of being.

This two hour workshop will introduce theoretical and practical ideas for working directly with our own and clients’ body symptoms in a psychotherapeutic context, using the model of Process Oriented Psychology (‘Process Work’) – the concept of ‘Process’ referring to the ‘flow of momentary, subjective experience’ and the modes by which the body ‘dreams’ and expresses such dreaming. The session will also begin to address ethical issues in such work and the delicate negotiation needed between the known ‘self’ and the inner ‘other’.

Dr Gerald Maclaurin is a long standing member of NZAP and has been studying and using the above approach for over two decades. He has practised medicine in a wide variety of settings, including 6 years in the Papua New Guinea highlands. He now works in private practice in Mt Eden, Auckland and has a particular interest in Neurobiology and the Mind-Body interface. He is currently the Executive Director of ‘Australia and New Zealand Process Oriented Psychology Inc.’ which offers training in Process Work, here and in Australia.

Facing the Other Within and Without

Dr Suhari Mommsen-Bohm

A mindful moment is one in which we are simply observing the doings of our own minds. We’re watching, hearing thoughts go by, without “being” them. If only for a moment
Ron Kurtz (Readings 2010).

Studies show, that using mindfulness increases sensitivity and the ability to read the micro-movements of face and body. In the slowing down of time the felt experience becomes more visible and accessible, the mind of the observer is open, curious and in the present moment. When looking into the eyes of another, it is said that we see the soul. In mindfulness then we might not only observe the signs and symptoms of suffering in front of us but also the divine spark that rests within. The present moment and current experience are embraced. Paradoxically, this makes even unwanted and painful situations more “workable,” by providing other options for responding than automatic and habitual reactions which cause more problems and suffering. We observe without judgment and with compassion or loving-kindness for others and ourselves. In the silence of mindfulness we might truly see the other, and the whole being in all its aspects becomes more accessible. What challenges does that bring to me as a therapist perceiving the other to such a degree. Mindfulness gives the opportunity to become aware and familiar with one’s own processes in the moment whilst at the same time opening up the body’s language to the observer’s eye.

In this largely experiential workshop I will explore the power of using mindfulness. The participant will have the opportunity to study and experience in a safe setting the gentle power of mindfulness in the context of Hakomi experiential Psychotherapy.

Suhari is a qualified registered doctor in Germany; she is a registered naturopath and psychotherapist in New Zealand. Since coming to New Zealand in 1980 her interest has shifted away from conventional medicine turning towards mind-body holism. In her private practice in Dunedin she integrates Natural Medicine and Hakomi experiential Psychotherapy.
Suhari is a certified Hakomi Therapist and Trainer. She is member of the Hakomi Faculty US and the Hakomi Pacifica Team. She presents and teaches workshops in Hakomi experiential Psychotherapy in Australia and New Zealand.

Being Māori/Pākehā – Complexities and Challenges

Heeni Collins

While the two major ethnic groups in this country who identify themselves in contrast to each other are Māori and Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent), yet over 5% of the population acknowledges both Māori and Pākehā descent. For this group, if the “other” is the oppressor, then the oppressor is not only external but also internal. How to sort ourselves out from within? What kinds of stresses do we experience in the “in-between” zone?

Hēni Collins has written a Masters thesis on Māori/Pākehā identity issues – entitled Te Putahitanga o nga tai e rua: The Meeting of Two Tides: Journeys of Mixed Heritage Māori/Pākehā towards Identity Strength (M.Phil Māori Studies, Massey University) – which analyses and places in context the lives of eleven men and women of dual Māori and Pākehā heritage. She draws on these narratives and her own life story to provide some insights into the complexities and challenges of straddling two contrasting and competing ethnicities in Aotearoa New Zealand. “Two rivers within me flow, they have one source, and that is my heart… though I am of mixed blood, it is the darkest that runs deep in me.” (Apirana Taylor 1981).

Heeni is also the author of a fresh version of the Te Rauparaha story (Ka Mate, Ka Ora! The Spirit of Te Rauparaha” published in 2010 by Steele Roberts, and is currently working in communications for Te Rau Matatini, the national Maori health workforce development organisation.