Mini Episode 2
We wrote and recorded this mini episode to provide a little encouragement during the harrowing uncertainty of the covid-19 outbreak.Recorded on phones in people’s homes by our generous guests from Season 1:Audrey Mayer, LCSWBarbara Pfingst, MA Spiritual GuidanceBonna Horovitz, LCSWElora Kalish, LCSWMichelle Gardiner, LCSWAnd our hosts, Monica Griffin, Bill DeSiena and Ian LaidlawFeaturing music by Like Trees
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A Letter to Ramy
In this final episode of Season 1, we go out as we came in. Ian shares one of his life regrets in a moving and vulnerable podcast letter to a friend and reflects on fear, hope, love, friendship and failure. But also in the hope of bringing our shame into the light and creating space and community through that process. Like the best of our work as therapists.If you have been encouraged by our show, please consider helping us to develop Season 2 by donating to our GoFundMe campaign below. Any donations over $100 get a Practice Imperfect Tote Bag as a gift! And also our eternal gratitude. Supporters will also be listed on our website (unless you’d prefer to remain anonymous).Thanks again!
Some art from that comic book Ian mentions
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Faith in the Process
Guest: Barbara Pfingst
At an early age, Barbara realized there was a greater sense to the universe than what is physically before us. In her journey to name this sense, she sought various forums that provided a safe and open approach to spirituality. In her travels she encountered an African Shamanic group that taught her the value of rituals and initiations. She is engaged in energy healing events, past life regression, dream and meditative journeying. Barbara is Reiki Master and a Minister in the Universal Life Church. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in Interpreting (1993), a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (2005), and a Masters of Arts in Spiritual Guidance (2015), from Sofia University in Palo Alto, California. Barbara is also a Nationally Certified American Sign Language Interpreter and fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).
Have you ever had a client ask you to reveal your particular faith or religious practice as a condition of continuing to work together? How do we as therapists navigate the awkward moment when the client makes a demand to disclose our personal beliefs?In our latest unrehearsed role play, our therapist (played by Barbara Pfingst) keeps that ball of contemplation aloft with client “Jean” (played by Bill DeSiena), when this uncomfortable question invites self-disclosure of religious values and morals. Our client enters this session wrestling with their sister’s recent nonconforming behavior and distancing from a shared religious community, and whether it’s ok not to have a relationship with the sister because of it. What develops in session is our client considering whether other important relationships should be renegotiated, or even ended – including the reveal that the deepening relationship with therapist Barbara is on the chopping block too, should she either choose to withhold this information, or reveal values incompatible with Jean’s.In Episode 18, we watch the unfolding angst between therapist and client, and we sense that yielding to the demand for self-disclosure is precarious at best. Our client effectively hangs in with an inner conflict of how their tenets of faith and moral compass should affect decisions about whom they love and connect with. We witness our therapist working cautiously to just be with the client, without succumbing to the client’s wishes. In the aftermath, Barbara de-roles and reveals how her own inner struggle with worthiness affected her as the therapist, while Bill as himself shares how his own past experience with dogmatic faith and codependency impacted the role of client Jean.We invite you to share with the PI community how you’ve dealt with faith-based values when they’ve entered the room with your client.
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Love in Psychotherapy Part 2
Our discussion about love in psychotherapy continues: How do we convey our affection for the client sitting across from us, without crossing the line of impropriety? Psychotherapy will most naturally invite a reenactment of patterns in a person’s life, between client and therapist. When we can with intention do something in the clinical relationship to break that reenactment, to invite a chance for repair and healing in, is it ok to tell our client that we really like, even love them?If you’re looking for a light and fluffy topic right now, this is not the episode for you. Head to the kitchen and make an omelet instead.In Part 2 of the Love Episode, we dive deeper into what it means when we genuinely care about our client, when the affection we feel is mutual. The potential for powerful healing is there, side-by-side with the fear that we risk mucking things up in this clinical setting. When a person isolating in extreme emotional pain sits across from us, beckoning for an external answer to finding happiness again, it is our capacity as a loving being who can show up to simply walk with them in their pain, as an act of love, reaffirming the power of human connection. What can bring comfort in the moment is not the path out, but the companionship that a therapist can provide when there seems to be nowhere else to go.Team PI discusses our own vulnerability in the therapist setting, what happens after we affectionately open up to a client that they matter to us, and muse on whether insurance companies could measure love as an evidenced-based tool – and what our progress notes would be like if they did.And by the way, we want you to know that we love you…our listeners.
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