Sunday, July 10, 2011

8 July 2011: Reflections on route to the US: June-July Update

The last few weeks, since the end of May, have been very busy:

1. Courses end. The counseling diploma courses ended, amid the usual drama, tears and last minute marking of assignments. I continue to enjoy my work with the student groups here, counseling diploma & MSc students, counseling psychology professional doctorate students, and research PhDs. They are passionate and committed, which they have to be, because there is so little financial support for them.

2. EFT Training. Also in June, Anja Rutten and I delivered the third and final installment of a very successful EFT Level 2 in Veldhoven, Netherlands, and began planning Level 3 to start in the Autumn. The Strathclyde EFT Level 1 for the end of August is already almost full, thanks in part to the various one-day taster workshops I’ve been do around the UK. Over the past year or so, it has become clear that Emotion-Focused Therapy is gathering critical mass in Europe. The International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy (ISEFT) is being formed to promote the approach and to develop standards and accreditation procedures for EFT therapists, supervisors, trainers, and training centers.

3. Settlement. After a month of intensive study, Diane and I took and passed our UK citizenship test, entitling us to apply for what is called Settlement, or Permanent Leave to Remain in the UK, equivalent to a Green Card in the US. The test consisted of 24 multiple choice questions divided evenly between blindingly easy questions (“What is Valentine’s Day?”) and mind-numbingly picky ones (“How many representatives to the European Parliament does the UK have?”). We had 45 minutes for the test; Diane was the first of our group of 15 to finish, at 7 minutes. When we return from the US at the end of July, finishing our application will be our top priority; we can’t submit more than 28 days before our visa runs out at the end of August. However, the process requires us to send in our US passports. Once we’ve turned our application in, we’re stuck in the UK until we hear back on our case. That could take anywhere from a month or two, to 6 months or more. I’ve already cancelled or rescheduled most of the travel plans for the period. We will have to be patient and flexible, just like when I was recovering from surgery during the same time period last year.

4. The Summer Solstice, with 17.5 hours of daylight, came, but it was rainy and gray in Glasgow. We’ve a couple of days of nice weather since mid-May, but that’s about it.

5. SPR-Bern. The highlight of my scientific year is generally the annual international conference of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR), and this year’s conference in the beautiful, historical Swiss city of Bern was no exception. There were many EFT panels on the program, and a group of us did the “EFT Tour” going from session to session, learning about the latest EFT developments, such as applications of Antonio Pascual-Leone’s recently developed model of the emotional change process in EFT, and a new task model of hopelessness (which turns out to be a form of self-interruption). I took Rachel McLeod’s HSCED study of my first social anxiety client (about to appear in Psychotherapy Research) and converted it into a change process study, which worked surprisingly well. Diane gave her first SPR presentation, on clients from the Research Clinic who dropped out after only one or two sessions, and by all reports was informative and entertaining. (I missed her presentation because I was scheduled to present at the same time in a parallel session.) We got together with old friends, like David Orlinsky and the Collaborative Research Network; Bill & Sue Stiles; Art Bohart & Karen Tallman; Chris Barker & Nancy Pistrang; and many others. All in all, Franz Caspar and his team, along with Guillermo de la Parra, the program chair, did an excellent job of organizing the conference, one of the best in years, in my view.

Now, it’s time for a vacation!

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