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March 09, 2009


Joanna Poppink, MFT

Dear Robin,

Yes, I was at the conference too. Thank you for a great summary and synthesis of complex material.

Another point repeated or implied by most of the speakers involved the importance of the psychotherapist's own stamina and ability to go the distance in his or her own psyche.

To be on the edge or past a patient's "window of tolerance" the therapist has to be willing and able to go to such places in her or his own psyche.

It's a new articulation of the psychoanalytic point of view - which I agree with. We therapists must do our own deep work in order to work with others.

In working with traumatized people we have to have done and/or keep doing our own very deep work indeed.

Thanks for a great post! Enjoy your bird watching!

Joanna Poppink, MFT
Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist

Robin Shapiro

Good point, Joanna,
When I was teaching EMDR, I used to send students to therapy when they didn't appear to have the affect tolerance for their clients' grief, shame, or anger. I've sent a few consultees in my day, too.

Rik Mark

Hi Robin,

I really appreciate you giving these brief summaries of what you got at the conference. I attended this conference all the way back in 2003. It can all get so overwhelming with the amount of trainings, and personalities, and books...its like, why did i even go to graduate school? Because much of what i learned is not what these people are saying is going to help our clients...looking at your conference summary, it almost seems pretty straight forward...like there are only a few new things 'under the sun' and not as many as all the different models, centers, workshops etc would suggest. I think van der Kolk's center puts all the main ideas into a single unit...what do you/others think? Thanks, RM

Robin Shapiro

I think that Bessel does put the main ideas together. I've loved watching his growth since I first saw him, 11 years ago.

irle goldman

Robin, I just found your comments through Googling info on Daniel Siegel. I must say that you put his ideas in written form better than he does.( He's a great speaker.) You also have a great way of addressing the meta-message, what it is we all do to help healing, how it can be seen as different and yet all have the same common ingredients.

Having seen Dan Siegel at the Psychotherapy Networker conference and being tremendously impressed by his message of integration, connection and meaning, I've been trying to find good written descriptions of what he conveys so that I can use them in my teaching Psychopathology, Theories of Psychotherapy, Clinical Skills, Pssychology of Illness and Wellness and Human Development at Lesley University and Cambridge College here in Boston. Yours is the best description that I have found of both what he says and how it fits into the rest of the world of psychological theory.

I've been pondering more and more about how Dan Siegel's view on interpersonal neurobiology are part of a larger equation that includes Besel's more holistic approach to trauma, Jerry Kagan's approach to human development, Francine Shapiro's underpinnings of EMDR, Freud's contributions to secular relational healing, most religious/spiritual/humanistic approaches, etc. etc. etc.

Ultimately, it seems to get simpler and simpler. It's all about what helps you ( and helps us clicians to help our clients) to be a mensch, a respectful, caring human being. There are many paths to getting there, but the mountain is the same one.

Robin Shapiro

I absolutely agree.

trauma therapy

I recently came across your blog and have been reading about trauma therapy. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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