Course description Summer School

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1st week

Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology – the Austrian Law Situation

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Philosophical foundations of Psychotherapy Science

In Philosophical Foundations of Psychotherapy Science, the issue of how to define science is approached by Plato’s cave allegory that is contrasted to Aristotle ‘empirist’ understanding of knowledge. With emphasis of Plato’s late work, Timaeus, and Newton’s claims, science will be grasped as Platonic enterprise that is on the quest for the world formula – science is, thus, not in the wake of the Aristotelian understanding of science (with keeping in mind, that Aristotle’s ‘sophia’ is quite different to modern science). In contrast, psychotherapy science deals with the idiosyncratic person that is not an instantiation of an idealistic, mathematically based formula. Hence, psychotherapy science will be understood in terms of the ‘geisteswissenschaft’, viz. as a hermeneutic approach. Eventually, the definition of psychotherapy as meaning change, according to the legendary Jerome Frank, will get a specific touch.

It is, of course, an aim of this course to convey some basics in intellectual history applicable to the issue of psychotherapy science, but to bring across the unbridgeable gap between the sciences and the geisteswissenschaft, the gap between explanation and understanding, can be emphasised as being the main learning outcome.

The History of Psychotherapy

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Psychoanalysis – Core Concepts

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Psychoanalysis – Treatment Techniques

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Systemic Family Therapy – Core Concepts
Systemic Family Therapy – Treatment Techniques

There was a long path in working with clients and their significant others to overcome the negative side effects of some of the assumptions that were informing the psychotherapeutic work with family and groups who live and work together and are in many ways connected with each other. In the short seminar we “fly” through some of the approaches and its methodology- as assumptions so much informed different practise in systemic family therapy historical epochs and still is. The current preferred models of languaging will also be touched Case observation and reflection at the SFU Ambulanz – an outpatient clinic: systemic therapists are used to work with co-therapists and groups behind the mirror to open up the many ways of understanding and nurturing the dissolving of pain, sorrow and problem talk. At the Outpatient Clinic we have a tradition to work with clients and use the reflecting team, if the client so allows. An international group will help us deconstruct our prejudice and core assumptions behind understanding and interacting with the clients in order to improve. A one way mirror, some English speaking clients or translators in English will make this experience special, and still letting the client and his agenda being the main task to be fulfilled.

Psychotherapy and Its Importance in the Healthcare System

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2nd week

Gestalt Therapy – Core Concepts

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Gestalt Therapy – Treatment Techniques

Gestalt therapy: as one of psychology’s 3rd force blooming flowers, it offers many methodological tools and psychotherapeutic interventions. The phenomenological and existential foundations of its methodology and its humanistic understanding of the human condition, make Gestalt therapy uniquely suited to relieving psychic despair across cultures.

In order that participants understand each treatment technique, the fundamental principles will be viewed through an historical perspective. A variety of techniques will be introduced, for example, how awareness can be increased in therapy, such as; the meaning of Buberian I-thou relationship, the existential dialogue, the role and importance of the Here & Now, and some other experiments like empty-chair.  Within these hours, participants will acquire some of the key skills and unique perspectives used in gestalt treatment, which they will then have the opportunity to practice during the self-experience part of the class.

Psychotherapeutic Discourse

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Person Centred Psychotherapy – Core Concepts

Carl Rogers is known for his discovery of the importance of the relationship between client and therapist. In all major psychotherapy schools it is usually understood, that first the therapist establishes a good relationship with the client, and then applies specific therapeutic techniques. Rogers‘ own understanding differs from that radically. According to Rogers it is the special quality of the relationship itself, a special atmosphere in the relationship, which is healing.  He called it a way of being. The therapist contributes to this atmosphere by her endeavour to be authentic, prizing and empathic with the client. According to Rogers this atmosphere allows a client to understand oneself better, to become more authentic and to develop as a whole person. — Becoming familiar with this atmosphere and learning to reflect it may be a description of the possible learning outcomes of this course.

In the lecture we shall explore this challenging concept theoretically. We shall address topics like Rogers‘ anthropology, his developmental and personality theory, his understanding of non-directivity and of necessary conditions for personal development.

Person Centred Psychotherapy – Treatment Techniques

Based upon that knowledge we apply it in the workshop about „Treatment Techniques“ in the afternoon. The modern term „technique“ is derived from the ancient Greek word τέχνη (techne), which means „art“. There is only one possible way to learn an art: to exercise it. So we shall exercise relating in an authentic, prizing and empathic way with others and with ourselves. This is, where mindfulness meditation may come into play. We shall experiment with what we can do in order to embody this special way of being. Naturally this leads to the self-awareness part of the course. Self-awareness means encounter for Carl Rogers. Thus we have the chance to encounter each other in an open atmosphere, based in an inner attitude of realness, unconditional positive regard and empathy. Expect the unexpected…

Diagnostics in Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

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3rd week

Ethics in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapeutic work is characterized by personal, social, cultural and other values, attitudes, objectives and approaches towards people, as well as life, from the perspective of clients and of the psychotherapist – on the basis of professional and legal standards. Knowledge of psychotherapeutic guidelines is in general clarifying (for instance regarding confidentiality, boundaries, informed consent, competence, cross- cultural issues), particularly in case of an ethical dilemma they are necessary basics for decisions to make. Course topics include a limited review of main ethical principles and issues related to them.

One of this course’s aims is to familiarize/review some basic ethical principles in psychotherapy e.g. Ethical Principles of EAP, Austrian Code of Ethics for Psychotherapists (which relates firmly to the Austrian Psychotherapy Law) and to transfer them into a practical frame by concrete psychotherapeutic case examples.

A main learning outcome is to raise the awareness in ethical issues and dilemmas. A deepened personal reflection of values and ethical guidelines could increase the competence and strengthen a responsible approach in work of practitioners and students.

Psychotherapeutic Work with Traumatized Persons

In the workshop we will use the international standard (Istanbul Protocol) recommended by United Nations, World Medical Association and WCP to understand the complex interaction of culture, live experience, traumatic events and additional factors such as impunity and displacement, and the implications for diagnosis and intervention in severely traumatised groups. More than in the traditional individual interaction based treatment setting in psychotherapy, factors like social background, ethics, protection and human rights shape the challenges that the psychotherapist or health care professional faces when supporting this client. Culture sensitive approaches will be compared with gestalt and cognitive models to guide interventions offered.

Forensic Psychotherapy

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Culture Awareness within Psychotherapy Training

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Psychotherapeutic Work with Persons Suffering from Sexual Disorders

In Psychotherapy work with Persons suffering from Sexual Disorders, the issue of understanding what a Sexual Disorder is and the importance of understanding Sexual Health along with all its components will be introduce. Furthermore, we will discuss the topic of biological reasons for disorders in gender belonging, disorders of Vaginality (coital anorgasmia, lack of coital sexual desires, Vaginism and dyspareunia, disturbed sexual ability to experience (direct causalities in sexual problems), the precocious ejaculation: organic causes, available technique for dealing with the precocious ejaculation and aversive techniques. Additionaly, the subject of paraphiliac and Sexual perversion will be covered.

Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams

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Child Psychotherapy – Theory and Concepts

In Child Psychotherapy – Theory and Concepts, the specific features of child and adolescent psychotherapy will be explained in theory and practical work. Psychotherapeutic treatment of children and adolescents is very different from working with adults: The therapist has to be equipped with special knowledge about developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology to be able to observe the impact of emotional, social and cognitive development state on symptoms and treatment. He or she has to face and to deal with the situation of working with the child as well as with its caregivers and their relationship with each other, which arises the need for special intersubjective competences and triangulation. Techniques of intervention in child and adolescent psychotherapy require skills of controlled and reflexive regression in order to understand, speak and answer in the special languages of playing and acting. One out of these languages is “Sand Play Therapy “, which will be highlighted as an example of interventional techniques in child psychotherapy.

Child Psychotherapy – Case examples and Self-Experience

A basic understanding of theoretical concepts and practical work in child and adolescent psychotherapy will be offered, strengthened and supported by case vignettes and self- experience. Laying the foundation for further engagement in child and adolescent psychotherapy will be the main learning outcome of this course.