Furthering Fluidity & Flow – Training Year Content
In this coming year for our US training, we will explore our ability to relate more deeply as human beings – to move another, and to be moved by another.
We will deepen our understanding of depth psychology – and the ability to drop below the surface of our lives and access the flow of a depth process happening beneath the content of our lived experiences, and as a result, to find new meaning and insight there.
That said, we have specific content that we’d like to explore, as we work with underling process. This year will provide us with rich, complex and challenging themes. It will plunge us down into the depths of vital forces that motivate us, excite us, repel us, and ultimately, bring us more alive.
We intend to make use of the vitality and the safety of our training group and grounds to explore the following:
- The life-giving nature of our Embodied Eros.
“The erotic is the very creative stuff of life and is inextricably linked to passion. It is a maverick, capable of the unexpected, and is the therapeutic momentum in analysis. The issue is one of passion, an intensity of feeling with no east resolution; but out of the heat of passion old links are weakened and new links can be forged.” – Andre Green
- The function of our most essential Sexual Fantasies.
“The developing body in its own sensate vitality and elaborations in fantasy and action can provide both a means of grounding and containing, while seeking to sustain intensity and aliveness. To work successfully with sexual anxieties, conflicts and fantasies, a therapist must tolerate layers of enigma, the disquieting patterns of desire that may strike one as profoundly alien and quite possibly frightening or disgusting.” – William Cornell
- The lighthearted embrace of Play.
“Play has the most remarkable effects on the cortex, programming it to become fully social…any therapist who can capture the therapeutic moment in mutually shared play episodes will have brought the client to the gateway of happy living. To the extent that the client can be held there, in both body and mind, the therapist will have offered one of the greatest emotional gifts that therapy can ever provide.“ – Jaak Panksepp
- In characterology, we will learn more about the Depressive Character.
“Depressive people have a theme of early and/or repeated loss. They have made sense out of their experiences of unmourned losses by believing that it was something in them that drove others away. The fact that they feel rejected has been converted into an unconscious conviction that they deserved rejection, that their faults provoke it, and that future rejection is inevitable if anyone come to know them intimately. They try very hard to be ‘good’, but they fear being exposed as bad, and discarded as unworthy.” – Nancy McWilliams
- In Anatomy of Emotion,we will address the counterbalancing affects of Interest & Disappointment, Sorrow & Play.
“Our ideals are how we would like the world to be, as well as the sort of people we would like ourselves to be. Without our ideals, nothing would seem worthwhile; we need to hold onto them, but at the same time we need to accept that our ideals are rarely ever realized. It is a paradox of our existence that we have to be in both of these positions at the same time.” – Ian Graib
- In our Mindfulness Practices, we will continue to work with the hindrances that prevent us from being fully present to our lived experiences.
“Working with the hindrances means to address the underlying unlived experience, to bear the unbearable. They are as follows: Sensory desire – a particular kind of wanting that pulls us into the experience of our five senses, and also seeks to distract us there. Ill-will – thoughts related to wanting to reject, such as feelings of ill-will, resentment, envy, hatred and bitterness. Sloth-torpor – a heaviness of body and dull mind. Restlessness-worry – the inability to be still and to calm the mind, and Doubt – the lack of conviction or trust in self, and others.
We have to understand that the presence of the hindrances is natural and unavoidable. Instead of rejecting them, we can see them as an indicator that points to something deeper, worthy of further exploration.”
- In our Practitioner’s Mind segments, we will focus on how to be informed by, and make use of, our own Counter-Transference as practitioners. In addition, we will explore for the first time Erotic and Eroticized Transferences, and understand how they are imposed on therapeutic relationships, and how they foreclose a deepening process. Yet, they also can provide a bridge to depths of a process never before reached, and speak to a person’s deep desire to transform.
“Eroticized transferences are typically an idealizations placed on a practitioner which forecloses deepening and seeks to defensively ward off conflict and loss. There is an overt or covert demand for the practitioner to validate and reciprocate the feelings the client is having towards them.” – William Cornell
Developing A PSEN Practitioner’s Way of Thinking
A primary focus of our training is on developing a practitioner’s ability to track what is happening with the body and mind of the client as well as within themselves.
We practice these two things while also providing the necessary containment, space, attention, curiosity and interest that will keep an interior process alive for ourselves and our client.
As body-mind practitioners, we place a strong emphasis on allowing a depth process to unfold, and we pay mindful attention to what is emerging as it does. This is the art of facilitation, which we define as bringing forth what most wants to move or emerge, in order to become a part of the larger whole.
This differs from a more directive and leading approach, which can also be useful at times, but skews the process in the direction of the practitioner’s agenda for the client, as opposed to going with the client’s deepest needs and motives, as well as respecting the client’s limitations and deficits.
We feel it is most essential to be capable of following the client’s agenda, in order to assist the client in becoming more aware of what is driving or influencing their perceptions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors. This is especially important to do as we become aware of the deeper conflicting or contradicting motives and agendas existing within the client’s inner being.
The follow are examples of all the various facets we embrace when we are working with deepening psychological and emotional process, and facilitating these processes to come forth. They support both the art and the science of depth work.
PROVIDING A HOLDING CONTAINER
As part of our training, PSEN practitioners learn to strengthen their ability to create a holding container for others by learning to tolerate, contain and process their own psychic material and emotional issues. PSEN practitioners also learn to hold appropriate boundaries and limits, necessary for the client’s safety, as well as to provide a space for something new to inevitably come into being.
DEEPENING INTO THE PROCESS
Depths processes take time and space. They require the facilitator to be embodied, grounded and patient; to know when to wait and when to support movement. By actively waiting, our trainees discover that the bigger issues surface when they do no simply chase after the first thing presented by their client.
By strengthening their own tolerance for uncertainty, and for keeping a potentially challenging experience in the moment, and also give it the time and attention required, PSEN practitioners learn to help their clients deepen their journeys.
Our practitioners also learn to understand the differences between emotional intensity and emotional depth, and work with the counter-balances of emotional impressions and expressions.
COUNTER-BALANCING ATTUNEMENT & DIFFERENTIATION
Practitioners learn to intimately and compassionately attune with their client’s emotional and psychological states of being, while honoring their own individuality and differentiation from the client’s experience.
This is essential in establishing a healthy contact boundary between the practitioner and the client along which an energetic exchange can happen, and it enables the PSEN practitioner to move in and out of providing support and challenge to the client, depending on what is most needed to support flow and forward moving momentum of a session.
SLOWING THE PROCESS DOWN
Through the consistent practices of mindfulness and embodiment, PSEN trainees learn to slow down their own process sufficiently to be able to assist their clients in slowing down their own.
Slowing down a process helps both facilitator and client to look more deeply and to reconnect to feelings, as a way of deepening the process of inquiry. Slowing down also helps to attune to the more subtle messages available underneath the surface of everyday awareness.
MAKING PROCESS OBSERVATIONS
PSEN practitioners are encouraged to think about their clients’ process, both during their sessions with clients as well as afterwards. They are encouraged to bring any questions about their work with their clients into their supervision groups.
This process enables practitioners in training to let their thoughts and feeling be different from their clients’ thoughts and feelings, in order to be better informed by them.
Practitioners learn to communicate their observations to their clients, as a means to help their clients deepen and perhaps look at themselves from a different and new angle. They also learn to discriminate when to wait and when to offer an observation.
PSEN practitioners learn to keep a “beginner’s mind” in their work with their client. They learn to relax into the vulnerability of not knowing. Suspending judgments helps facilitators to keep their minds open and spacious while being fully present with their own and their client’s unfolding as well as the relational field between them.
This process creates a possibility for something new to happen.
STAYING PRESENT TO THE UNKNOWN
Staying in the present moment often means staying in the unknown. By deeply attuning to their moment to moment experience, PSEN practitioners learn to tolerate the vulnerability of not knowing what will happen next.
PSEN practitioners learn trust this process by taking one step at a time, by attending to what is in the here and now, and by allowing the gradual unfolding of the client’s process.
KEEPING THE WORK IN THE ROOM
The consistent practice of embodiment and mindfulness enables PSEN practitioners and trainees to encourage their clients to keep the work in the ‘here and now’ of the moment as it is happening, and to confront unresolved, unpleasant and conflicting feeling, as they arise.
PSEN practitioners learn to confront their own unresolved issues which enables them to give their clients space to address theirs.
Tracking vitality is essential in a client’s process and healing; PSEN practitioners learn to track to flow of energy and vitality in their own body while also paying attention to the client’s process and the client’s embodiment.
They learn to help their clients come into an embodied contact with their vitality, creativity and aggression and to tolerate the intensity in their bodies and minds; they also learn to meet their client in their expressions of vitality and aggression in a way that feels healing and empowering for their clients.
BECOMING A DISTURBING FORCE
PSEN practitioners learn to have a mind (and body) of their own, which enables them to become capable of becoming an enlivening life force on behalf of their clients. They learn to invite aspects of their clients into their awareness, which they would naturally tend to avoid. They are willing to demonstrate risk taking with their clients, and are capable of handling the unexpected.
Our bodies often tell others what we don’t see, while we are quite unaware of it.
PSEN trainees learn to pay special attention to peculiar and incongruent body signals, gestures and facial expressions and to bring them to their clients attention, when suited, as a way of helping them uncover perhaps unconscious and conflicting impulses and drives.