More and more of us are training to be therapists. Every year, schools and training courses release another batch of newly-qualified practitioners. Most of the associations or guilds that they subsequently join will have CPD requirements for ongoing skills development, but not many of the postgraduate courses focus specifically on their personal development as Practitioners. Where can those practitioners reflect on their own shadows and strengths, and the numerous pitfalls that may lead to them losing confidence or even becoming the subject of a complaint? We believe that there is an ongoing need for self-examination and self-care amongst practitioners of any discipline, and most especially in those therapies where touch is used. In psychotherapy, supervision is usually mandatory, but in many bodywork therapies it is often only required for an initial period, if at all. This seems an anomaly to us, particularly as touch can be such a volatile and evocative area. Our view is that some form of Supervision is a part of the way we look after both ourselves and our clients and should be continued for as long as we are in practice.
Our course is not meant to replace personal Supervision, but to open practitioners to its potential. Our experience of working with groups has shown us that there is a great deal of value to be gained by sharing and discussing the insights that arise when working with your peers in an environment of honest reflection. By looking more deeply into areas such as client/practitioner boundaries, the dynamics of touch and trust, and exploring our core values as therapists, we have seen that finding common ground and experience gives our attendees the confirmation and confidence that they are not alone in confronting the ups and downs of practice.
Practitioner care means not only that you try to avoid picking up negative energies from your clients; it goes much further, requiring us to be both eternally vigilant as to how we are relating to our clients, and equally observant of how they are responding to us. As a therapist you will usually have an ongoing energetic exchange with your client, mimicking the qualities of a complex dance. You follow both the dynamic flow of the relationship whilst also making sure you keep your feet on the ground. We believe that these subtle skills are a work in progress, and need constantly refreshing and reanimating over the course of a career.
We have been running one-day workshops exploring topics like this for some time, but now feel that it is time to extend our ideas into a full course, where more time can be spent on the subjects we cover. We will be looking in detail at some of the more familiar problems that we all face. For example, how did we come to be a therapist and do our reasons for doing so affect or colour our work? Do we tend to attract clients who are similar to each other, or do they have problems or life stories like our own? How do we work to the best of our potential, and perhaps more importantly, what types of clients or problems do we feel that we are not so successful in treating? What, in effect, does it mean to be a therapist?
We both truly believe that the work we do is most successful when it is entered into as a 'Joint Practice' with both client and practitioner becoming equal partners in the therapeutic journey. We aim to bring this spirit of collaboration, openness and enquiry into our course, qualities we have always encouraged in our one-day workshops. The course offers meditation, practical exercises, discussion, and hands on work.
Between us we have approximately 45 years of experience in practice and have taken trainings in Counselling and Supervision as well as related courses in Psychotherapy. Additionally, we have had extensive experience of the Disciplinary Processes of the Craniosacral Therapy Association having served on its committees in many roles. This has given us both a deep insight into the most practical ways to support fellow practitioners, and has become our driving force. As part of this ongoing exploration we have recently published a book, 'Every Body Tells A Story', highlighting the importance of the client/therapist relationship and how it might develop in real life.
Our course is divided into four three-day modules and will run over a year. It is suitable for all bodywork practitioners at any stage of their career. Each module is designed to be self-contained and can be taken individually.