Reflections on Theory & Practice

Reflections on Theory & Practice

Heinz Kohut viewed the nature of human psychopathology as emanating from a disorder of the self, and the fruits of psychotherapeutic cure were brought to bear by the individual’s capacity to seek out appropriate and nourishing relationships. The intersubjective theorists built upon Kohut’s conceptual framework to support new thoughts on the treatment of psychopathology; namely, that the primary curative interaction is the elucidation of the principles that structure the disruption of the bond between therapist and patient. In both theories it is the relational aspect of the human experience which defines, and sets it apart from previously accepted isolated mind theories regarding the origins of psychological experience and the developmental process. Attachment theorists sought to expand upon the reformation and re-conceptualization of intellectual and scientific thought by providing neuropsychological data to confirm the preeminence of the intersubjective medium within the developmental process. From this, previous information regarding the centrality of early child/caregiver experiences became reconstituted as the blue prints for the centrality of attachment relationships in human development.

In reflecting upon my growth as a clinician and considering the forces which shape the at times amorphous experience of psychotherapy, I am brought to dwell on the contributions of each of the following modalities in shaping and effecting the development of my philosophical and theoretical understanding of the work of psychotherapy: Self Psychology, Contemporary Attachment Theory & Affect Regulation, and Intersubjective Systems Theory. Through Kohut’s theories I was taught the skills to deepen my understanding of the therapeutic process, and consequently the effectiveness of my analytical stance. I felt that most importantly his work contributed to structuring my developing awareness of psychological development. I applied intersubjective systems theory to philosophically and morally justify my interpretations of the fundamentals of psychotherapeutic technique, the treatment of psychopathology, and the basis of human interaction. Finally, it was through attachment theory that I was able to understand the importance of how to be with the patient, and appreciate the wisdom and elegance of childrearing as an erudite form of interaction.

I maintain that for every theoretical modality of psychotherapy there exist corollary interpretations of psychopathology. It may be painfully obvious if I state that utilizing a multilateral and multidimensional approach to psychotherapy may prove to be the most efficacious in the holistic treatment of the individual. Yet, I don’t believe that enough credence is really given to the philosophy of each individual, for it is the patient who provides us with the navigational instruments which will prove to be most efficacious. At this point I would like to repeat what has already been said many times by others: it is the feeling of being deeply understood, seen and heard, protected, and taken care of which contributes to a happy, freer inner-self which is resilient to negative subjective experiences.

Posted on May 03, 2017 By admin

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