Thursday, November 16, 2006

Level 2 Training in Process-Experiential/Emotion-Focused Therapy

Entry for 16 November 2006

I have been developing an approach to doing Level 2 training in PE-EFT since the end of the Level 1 workshop that Les Greenberg, Jeanne Watson and I did last June. There was a lot of demand for this continued training at that point, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like. After some obsessing, we hit upon a format of 3 hours each two weeks, to include a combination of workshop and supervision. I sent out an email to the participants form last summer, and got 15 people, just in the middle between the minimum of 10 and the maximum of 20 that I had been hoping for. This is a comfortable size for me, one that I am used to from the best period of the PE therapy workshop in Toledo.

This training started two weeks ago, and had its second meeting last night. Last time, two weeks ago, felt fairly disorganized to me: I was anxious, my video didn’t work, people didn’t like some of my ideas for the content (they wanted less Person-Centred training and more exotic tasks), and the initial orientation seemed to take forever. After that, I was determined to do more for this time, and to be better organized. However, I didn’t have a clear exercise in mind for the next topic, Case Formulation and Client Modes of Engagement, which I previously presented in class as a lecture rather than in workshop.

Last week, I woke up one morning with the sudden realization that the emotion scheme model could be generally applied to clarifying and elaborating the Modes of Engagement. I roughed out this reformulation that morning, then revised it last Sunday as part of a handout that I emailed to the training workshop members. This still left me with the exercises, which I wrote up the evening before and the morning of the second workshop meeting. (I plan to include some of this new material in my next blog entry.)

Although I often find that spending this much time preparing for a class results in bored students because I’ve gone too far into my head, that was not the case last night. The workshop participants asked penetrating questions, which helped me clarify the presentation further, but they seemed to find the approach interesting and useful. (I had also been afraid that they were poke holes in the formulation.)

After a break, with a wonderful assortment of snacks provided by Mae, we were finally ready for the exercises. It was clear that the four exercises I had prepared to help participants explore the four main productive modes of client engagement were going to be too much for the remainder of the evening, so I only gave out the first two, on Internal Attending and Experiential Search.

After having the participants pair up, I circulated among them as usual. I had been nervous that the exercise would strike people as too structured and artificial, but they gave it the benefit of the doubt, and really got into it. Many reported that although they found it foreign to guide the client to this degree, they found it quite useful for exploring their experiences. Finally, I suggested that we start the next session with the two remaining exercises (secret pooling and expressive work), followed by case supervision. I thanked them for their input on the new modes of engagement formulation, and was startled when they broke out into applause! This is the first time, an ongoing PE training workshop group has applauded at the end of a session. The new material and exercises were a success, and exactly the kind of thing that I had hoped to be able to do here, benefiting both from the more supportive environment and also access to more experienced learners.

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