Amie Campbell's Archive


11 Commentsby   |  10.23.09  |  Uncategorized

Process is what we’ve been working on for the past few weeks, but this concept is a slippery one. When we work on our dyads, or when we write up our observation reports, we are looking for evidence of process. Gilbert (1992) describes watching for process as a “complex but fascinating” endeavor (p.33). Indeed, looking for the process in what a client is saying can be challenging, yet if we want to be the most effective therapists we can be, we must take this challenge. More »

Amie Campbell's Comment Archive

  1. Amie Campbell on Accurate Empathy
    7:52 pm, 11.05.09

    I think in any situation, whether we approve of the client’s behavior or not, we can still show accurate empathy. Even if we find a client’s behavior to be appalling, the client is still a human being, and often a hurt and broken human being. By working to see the client’s perspective in the case of an abuser, we can not only help the client feel understood, but hopefully find the underlying emotional and cognitive basis for the behavior. Most people do not wake up and say to themselves “I think I’m going to beat my spouse today” or “Today I’m going to be a horrible parent.” Often times these behaviors follow from people who are suffering and need to feel as if they are understood in order for them to make positive changes in their lives.

  2. Amie Campbell on Non-possessive Warmth
    7:46 pm, 11.05.09

    During an observation earlier this week, Elizabeth and I were talking to Jordan about how he handles abuse cases. Like Jacqueline, I find that abuse cases are cases where I might have a particularly difficult time showing warmth. Jordan was saying that what he does is focus on the fact that the client may have done some bad things, but they are hurting individuals just like anyone else. He said that he focuses on trying to find anything positive that the client has done so that he can have something to praise the client for. For example, at least the client is willing to come to therapy and try to work on their problems.

  3. Amie Campbell on Second-Order Change
    7:31 pm, 11.05.09

    One way I’ve seen second order change in my family is in moving to Abilene and then getting married. My mother and I lived 40 minutes from my Grandparents and saw them often. Then I came to Abilene for school and my mother and grandparents were 2 days away. This dramatically changed the way that we interacted. Then, two years later, Philip and I got married. While not the same as the birth of a child, it did bring a new person into our family system.

    And I want to add my voice to the others, that analogy was pretty awesome!

  4. Amie Campbell on Emotional Cutoff
    4:43 pm, 10.23.09

    Question #4: Solo, used multiple video feeds compiled together.

  5. Amie Campbell on Emotional Cutoff
    6:23 pm, 10.16.09

    I think cut-off can be healthy. Like Jacqueline, I can see situations where for a person’s safety, and maybe even their emotional health, a cut-off may be the best option. I would say that it is still a tough spot in which to be. As Tara pointed out our families are designed to be our primary support system. I would say that in cases of abusive relationships that the support system has already been damaged. Now theoretically, these relationships can be mended, but I would say that it might be easier (and possibly better?) for an individual to become cut-off (or maybe just very distant) from their abusers and to then work to develop an extra-familiar support system to replace those damaged relationships.

  6. Tyson,

    I like the correlation you found with generational sin, and I would like to offer another one from my own life. Philip and I both have alcohol/addicted parents. Studies have shown that children of alcoholics are much more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Part of the research points towards a genetic or biological component, but I think there’s a lot of influence in a Bowen sense as well. This is something that Philip and I have both been made aware of as we have looked into our families and learned to cope as children of alcoholics.

    In answer to your question about whether or not awareness is enough, I think it can be. I think that if therapists are able to bring awareness into a client’s life about their generational patterns before the patterns have taken hold, or when they are still only weakly shown in the client’s life, the client can then take action to change those patterns.

    I think a therapist can be a great help in making those changes. Sometimes the pull of family patterns can be incredibly intense and it takes more than one eye-opening experience to bring about a willingness to change. Sometimes, even if we want to change our family’s patterns and work towards healthier functioning, it creates a lot of anxiety and stress.

    Personally, I believe that such cycles can be broken. I don’t think it’s easy and it can cause a great deal of stress within a family, but it can be done. In my life, Philip and I have chosen to break the cycle of addiction in our family and have taken steps to ensure that the family we create overcomes the obstacles that were handed down to us from our families of origin.