additional training

Infant-Observation Experience

This professional training experience taught me to be able to sit with difficult feelings, examine them, and not express them or act on them. In work with patients all therapists experience feelings in a session. Sometimes it is a useful tool to help us understand the patient and what they made be struggling to express. 

I spent one year, one day per week for one hour unobtrusively observing a newborn baby with her mother. My task was to never share my thoughts or observations or to instruct. It was to notice within myself what thoughts, feelings, wishes, impulses to give feedback were stirred up in me. When I left the home I was to journal all these reactions. In a small group setting with a seasoned clinician we processed all of it. Throughout the year there were many developmental changes in the baby and personal life changes with the mother. I sat with a wide range of feelings, which included frustration, envy, concern, and warmth, among others.

Sometimes patients can instill feelings in their therapist. This is called counter transference and only through intensive training and personal analysis can a therapist be attuned to a patient. It takes years of professional experience to know what a patient is disowning and what is truly from a therapists own past. A therapist must know themselves to help others. 

Recommended Books:  Developments in Infant Observation, The Tavistock Model