Janina Fisher, Ph.D
Location: The Highland Country Club (1922 Highland Heights) London, Ontario
Like parenting, psychotherapy can be only “good enough.” Therapeutic mistakes are inevitable, yet our work lives don’t allow us many opportunities to acknowledge and grow from them. Our mistakes occur in the privacy of an office with no one there but the client with whom we could process them. The thought of sharing them with colleagues often increases shame, not curiosity. We may pause to critique ourselves but rarely have the chance to ask: How did that happen?
This workshop examines the underlying issues that most often contribute to therapist error and explores how what drives us to do this work can also lead to “mistakes of the heart.” Whether the mistakes we make are more clinically mis-attuned, ethically incorrect, or the result of our own internal conflicts, there is much to learn both about our own vulnerability and what it can teach us about preventing future mistakes and repairing past errors.
Integrating psychodynamic and somatic conceptualizations of countertransference with an understanding of internal conflicts occurring simultaneously in client and therapist, this workshop will look at complex therapeutic relationships through a different lens. Sometimes therapeutic mistakes end the treatment or cause havoc from which neither client nor therapist can recover fully. Sometimes, though, our honesty and vulnerability can provide an opportunity for growth—for therapist, client, and their relationship.
• Identify common categories of therapist error
• Distinguish between clinical errors and “mistakes of the heart”
• Recognize common counter-transferential internal conflicts experienced by therapists
• Discuss ways of using mistakes in the service of growth and change
• Develop trust in the power of therapeutic vulnerability to “repair”
• Utilize co-regulation to restore therapeutic attunement
About the Presenter:
Janina Fisher, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a clinician and consultant, she is also past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher has been an invited speaker at the Cape Cod Institute, Harvard Medical School Conference on Women and Summer and Winter Conference Series, EMDR International Association Annual Conference, University of Oslo, University of Wisconsin, the University of Westminster in London, the Psychotraumatology Institute of Europe, and the Esalen Institute. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.