When Therapy is Harmful…

“When Psychotherapy is Harmful…” with Dr Phil Mollon on Saturday 24th June 2017

In this one-day seminar Dr Phil Mollon will explore what can go wrong in therapy.

Psychotherapy is intended to provide the client with assistance in resolving emotional distress and maladaptive patterns of behaviour. Often it is successful in this endeavour and many clients feel that therapy has a profoundly positive effect on their life.

However, this is not always the case. We do hear of instances of psychotherapy having a profoundly harmful effect. Sometimes this comes about as a result of obvious malpractice on the part of the therapist – but in other cases it arises from the therapist behaving in ways he or she believes to be professionally correct. In this seminar we will explore some of the ways that common assumptions, theories, and styles of therapeutic technique can be profoundly malign in their effect.

Session one:
Evidence that psychotherapy is, in some instances, harmful – research shows that a significant proportion of clients are in a worse state after therapy than they were previously. The illusory clinical misperceptions common amongst psychotherapists.

Session two:
Common ways in which psychotherapists can harm their clients. Long term psychotherapy can involve an enormous consumption of life resources – psychological, financial, and time. An illusory promise of healing or recovery may ultimately give way to disillusionment, rage, and despair.

Session three:
The misguided emphasis upon the therapeutic relationship and the ‘transference’ – the slippage from Freud’s original stance. An adequate therapeutic relationship is a necessary condition, but is not in itself the vehicle of healing. Both therapists and clients have come to expect more of the therapeutic relationship than it is capable of providing. A dangerous illusion is prevalent, that the therapeutic relationship can make up for the pains and deprivations of childhood.

Session four:
How to make psychotherapy pragmatic and helpful – addressing goals, traumas, and beliefs.

Dr Phil Mollon is a psychoanalyst, clinical psychologist, and energy psychotherapist. He is well-known as a writer and speaker on topics including shame, trauma, dissociation, self-psychology, and EMDR – and has pioneered the development of Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy.

He is author of eleven books and was the first British author to write about shame from a psychoanalytic perspective, in the early 1980s, developing this theme further in his book The Fragile Self in 1993. His Shame and Jealousy, published by Karnac in 2002, examined the profound vulnerability of these most human affects.

With 40 years of clinical experience, in both the NHS and private practice, he has explored many different approaches, always seeking better ways of helping those who are troubled with mental health problems. His enquiries led him to a study of EMDR and then to the field known as ‘energy psychology’. For more than 10 years he has explored the meeting points of energy psychology and psychoanalysis and created the approach he calls Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy. His work remains rooted in psychoanalysis, whilst also incorporating neurobiological, cognitive, and energetic perspectives.

Phil Mollon’s most recent book is The Disintegrating Self: Psychotherapy with Adult ADHD, Autistic Spectrum, and Somato-psychic disorders [Karnac 2015].

Phil Mollon has been described as “a cautious revolutionary, one of those rare honourable thinkers and renaissance figures who rises above the milieu he was trained in to seek answers to difficult questions.” (Dr Valerie Sinason).

Go to the CURRENT EVENTS page to book your place by clicking here.

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