22 Chapters
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CHAPTER SEVEN: Tell Me Your Story

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

“Our discussion last week,” the trainee began, having arrived precisely on time and settled into her comfortable chair, “our discussion, alongside my work with the Abbott family, reminded me of an experience in my very first month of clinical training”

“Tell me your story,” encouraged the 3-Point Therapist.

“Well, it made me think again about culture and difference in all the families we see. I thought about Point 1 on preparation and the importance of listening so carefully – listening so that we hear the difference and uniqueness in each family's story, and we can focus with them on what is important for them”

The therapist seemed to nod almost imperceptibly. She looked and listened hard as the trainee continued.

“A little while ago I was on placement in a residential children's home and was told to do some family work’ with a young boy who had just been reunited with his mother, whom he had not seen for many years.

“I invited his mother to bring to the meeting her current long-term partner, but he did not attend the first couple of sessions. I phoned her a number of times to emphasize the importance of the whole family attending. I had been told repeatedly that I must insist that the ‘whole family attend.You don't understand our culture,’ the mother told me firmly after my third call to her on the subject. ‘My present partner does not have to be involved with my son, he is not his father, it's not like that in our culture, he will not be attending the meetings’

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CHAPTER TWELVE: In an Unexpected Way

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee was beginning to understand, but was also feeling quite confused.

The 3-Point Therapist seemed to be teaching her something quite different – not what she had come to learn and not what she was expecting, but something was working and in an unexpected way.

She arrived the following week and settled into the therapist's room.

“Last week in my training placement I saw a new family, a really diff … a family with many difficulties.” She corrected quickly, hoping that the therapist had not noticed her near lapse into unacceptable language. “ The Barkers.

The two parents came with a very troubled child with extremely challenging behaviour. I had felt anxious and not sufficiently prepared, as the child's difficulty was in an area of which I had little knowledge and certainly no experience nor expertise.

“I remembered your instruction to listen well and make close notes on a new family with a particularly challenging problem. And I also remembered that I should simply ask the family about themselves, their situation, their solutions. I knew that I had to be prepared to listen very hard and very carefully indeed.To be honest, I was beginning to see how this way of talking and being with families actually related to doing therapy and, indeed, I think I was beginning to realize that this was, in fact, therapy itself. This, not techniques, not strategies, but curious and purposeful interest and listening.

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Mad with My Client

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee arrived in the therapist's room exactly one week later.

The therapist thought she looked upset, with something on her mind, and waited for her to speak.

After a moment or two the trainee's gaze rose from her lap, into which she had been staring fixedly since the moment she had sat down in her usual chair. She did not look over at the therapist, but instead her eyes drifted blankly over towards the open window at the far side of the room.

I was so mad with her,” she began suddenly and without warning, shaking her head slowly and still gazing vacantly across the room. “ I was so angry with her that I could hardly speak.”

“Tell me more,” encouraged the therapist. “Who was this with whom you were mad? What do you think was happening to make you so mad?”

“But mad with my client, I should never feel mad with my client, should I?” the trainee wondered, for the first time looking across at the therapist, hoping for help and more than a little reassurance.

“Tell me more, tell me about feeling mad with your client.”

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Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee was again in the therapist's room exactly one week later.

“Tell me what you understood you had done that was helpful in your last meeting with the Abbot family.”

The trainee looked intense and rather pained before she replied.

I have thought a lot about this. I realized that what I did was to concentrate very hard as I knew that I had to write up the session for this meeting with you and maybe for a paper in the future”

She noticed the therapist wince slightly and almost imperceptibly, but the trainee still offered a sheaf of papers, which the therapist declined with a raised hand.

“Because of concentrating so hard in the meeting with the Abbotts, I barely spoke. When I thought about this afterwards I concluded that this had therefore enabled the family to have space to talk and discuss what was important and useful for them. This was apparently more helpful than if I had been offering suggestions and trying to ‘do therapy, as I had done in the past. It helped me to realize how intrusive and unhelpful it can be at times to interrupt the family's thinking with my own flow of suggestions and my need to do therapy or to use techniques.”“Yes, this can often be more helpful to the families. What else do you think you did that was helpful?”

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Funny That/Funny This

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

When she met again with the 3-Point Therapist exactly one week later, the trainee was pleased but confused.

I thought a lot more about the Barker family and the meeting of which I told you last week. It seemed that all I really did was ask them a couple of questions and gain information about them and what they had already done”

“And?” queried the therapist simply.

Well, what happened then was that they told me that their real problem was that they had never agreed between them on how to manage their son's behaviour, though they seemed to me to have tried everything. There was nothing that I could add and again I felt pretty useless and helpless.

“How do you think the parents were feeling?”

They told me that they had been feeling completely useless and helpless. Funny that, I seemed to have been feeling the same as them.”

“Yes, funny that, but maybe useful information, do you think?”

Yes, maybe” replied the trainee slowly and thoughtfully.

“So what do you think happened in the session?”

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