Monday, March 19, 2012

Six Days of EFT Training

Blog Entry for 18 March 2012: 

While Diane went the US to see our son Kenneth and to take care of business, I travelled to the Netherlands and Belgium to run six days straight of EFT training.  I'd never before done this for as long, and I was concerned that I might run out of energy or inspiration before I got to the end, so I decided that I would pace myself and to do my best to get enough sleep along the way.  

Monday and Tuesday I started a new EFT Level 2 training at Apanta, a large psychotherapy group practice and training centre in Veldhoven, in the southeastern part of the Netherlands.  Juliette Becking, a Dutch psychologist, coordinates this, and Anja Rutten comes over to help with the training. This was the second Level 2 that we've run here, and we again had a good number of participants, about 20, most of whom I hadn't met before, since I was unable to travel last Fall for the Level 1 training, which Jeanne Watson ended up running.  I’m still not completely satisfied with the day 2 session on client processes and case formulation, but the other sessions went really well.  I went away convinced that we need to include emotion schemes as a key element of EFT case formulation.

Wednesday was the next installment of the seven session EFT Level 3 group supervision series.  This was hard work but went really well: (a) We started with a round robin, in which each person checked in re: how many clients they are currently seeing in EFT, and how they are doing with the recording and monitoring requirements, which are actually a lot of work. (b) Then, four of the 15 participants presented and got feedback on 15 minute segments, transcribed and translated into English, of diverse clients in various stages of therapy. (c) Between case presentations, I discussed scoring and interpreting outcome measures and talked about Meaning Creation for meaning protests.  (d) Once again, a high point was role playing ("embodying") a client that one of the participants was struggling with.  (Note on EFT Level 3: Include embodied client work regularly as part of the group supervision sessions.)

After EFT 3 finished, Kurt Renders took me back to Antwerp with him for the rest of the week.  Fortunately, I had Thursday morning off, allowing me some recovery and time for a run, before I met up with Greet Vanaerschot, who took me off to the University of Antwerp medical school, where she runs an Integrative Psychotherapy course that emphasises humanistic (person centred, EFT, Gestalt) and third generation CBT. The students there (half psychiatrists, half psychologists) had already had quite a bit of input from Greet on EFT, so I was doing a specialist workshop on Social Anxiety.  For me, the high point of this was a practice session on working with Anxiety Splits, which involved participants enacting various sources of anxiety, including birds and telephones!  I forgotten how challenging and fun this kind of work can be. Afterwards, Greet and I had a late dinner, where we spent a long time catching up and reminiscing about our time and friends in Leuven.

Then, somewhat worse for the wear after late evening with Greet, it was off to Turnout, 30k east of Antwerp, with Kurt again, for the final two days of the EFT level 1 that I'd begun last month.  The group, both students and teaching staff of the Faculteit voor Mens and Samenleving, was even more enthusiastic and involved than the previous time, and we had a great two days of Two Chair Work and Open Marker Work, with lovely big processes.  I had made it through my long run of six days straight of EFT training!  

That evening, Kurt checked out a City Bike for me, so we could go to his favourite restaurant, in the centre of Antwerp, where we sat at the counter, mesmerised by the drama of the chef and his assistant as they danced around the little kitchen.  It had been a really good week, full of meaningful work, connections new and old, even a few tears along the way.  I was exhausted to the bone but also energised and happy to be doing this sort of work, which feeds me at many levels.  

Toward the end, on the last day at Turnout, someone asked me how I work with clients with narcissistic processes, who suffer from a huge sense of inner emptiness.  I paused, and said to start with that I don't challenge their grandiosity, because reflecting it empathically makes space for the emptiness and vulnerability to emerge.   Also, I recognise and share that I too know what that inner emptiness feels like, from my own experience.   Someone else remarked, but isn't isolation and inner emptiness an existential given of being human?  Answering, I said that I used to think this.  Now, however, I believe that the emptiness comes from our isolation from one another: separation makes us empty.   Furthermore, citing Eisenstein in The Ascent of Humanity, I now wonder if this isolation and emptiness is really a modern phenomenon.  And just as disconnection from each other makes us feel empty, so does connection with others fill us.  As I get older, I said, I am increasingly convinced that this separation is an illusion, and that we are all much more deeply connected than we can imagine.  

After our amazing dinner, as I cycled back through the darkened streets of Antwerp with Kurt leading the way, I reflected on this, and many of the other things that had happened this week, and was filled with wonder at all the connections that were made and deepened. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Dream of Running

Entry for 7-11 March 2012

This year I finally made to the Full-time Counselling Diploma course residential. Thursday
night, Maggi ran a workshop on working with dreams. Here are my notes on the dream I
worked on:

I have a recurrent dream in which I'm on a long run:   I'm out in the country, on a country
road, but there's little or no traffic, and the day is sunny but not hot.  Maybe there is a
light breeze, just enough to keep me from overheating.  I run for miles, without getting
tired, swooping down around bends in the road, running, running, feeling the ground pass
beneath my feet, moving through the countryside, running into new places where I haven't
run before.   Sometimes I get a bit lost, but I keep running, and eventually find my way
back.  It's a feeling of flow.  I have  a feeling of exhilaration and freedom, and it feels like I
could keep running forever,  just flowing along the road. 

I'm aware that I don't have much  interest in interpreting this dream; I just want to enjoy it.
I suspect that it comes to me now perhaps because I've been doing interval training lately,
increasing my speed by sprinting for one minute out of five.  But that is pretty hard work –
in fact that is the point of it, to build capacity by pushing myself to my limit.  The dream is
different from the actual experience of running, because it feels relatively effortless.  There
is no jarring sensation of my feet hitting the ground, no careful monitoring of my body's
state and my surroundings. Instead, in this dream, I have the opposite feeling, of flow.

In fact the dream is more like the dreams I used to have as a kid of flying through the air
as if swimming, using the breast stroke, but instead in this dream I'm running rather than
swimming, and it's easier than the swimming in the childhood flying dream was. However,
the exhilarating feeling of swooping, gaining speed as I drop down through small dips in
the road and the centripetal force of rounding tight corners, that is part of the flying dream
also, and fills me with joy.

What in my life is like this?  Of course this is like the feeling of finishing one of my long
weekend runs, the burst of speed  at the end, or even more the afterglow of enhanced
aerobic capacity that lasts for several hours after I've successfully stretched my capacity, a
sense of accomplishment, of enlargement. But I think more generally it's about the feeling
of flow, when I'm immersed in meaningful work, whether it be a good therapy session
where everything seems to come together, or a productive bout of writing where the ideas
and words just flow. Heaven!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Theophany (for Brenda Wood)

Sitting in church this morning,
Out of the story of the Transfiguration,
Distant memory of you
Returns, fifty years later:

We are ten years old,
At George Washington Elementary School.
Standing in the lunch line:
Suddenly, my classmates part,
And I glimpse a vision of you,
Eternally in that instant,
Incan princess,
Luminous in brightly coloured brocade,
Goddess glowing
Through your temporal person.

I blink, and you are your ordinary self again.
But for me forever after,
You are imbued
With the Divine,
And the Divine with You.

And so I wonder:
Where are you now?

                        -4 March 2011