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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Real in Relationship and Communication-- a small start

A Boar in a China Shop:  looks like trouble.

Thanks to colleague and anxiety genius psychiatrist Dr. David Hart, I am enjoying the exploration of authenticity in communication within personal and professional communication.  He introduced me to FAP, aka Functional Analytical Psychoanalysis, in which the relationship between therapist and client is but a mirror to client's extended relations out of the office.  Old news, right?  Psychoanalysts have explored that for decades.  But in FAP, that dialogue is happening live in vivo, not just in the shrink's heads or notes.  I've always said I'm an open book for my clients-- if they are wondering what the heck that last comment meant, or why I'm encouraging a certain homework, I encourage them to just ask.  But now I am mindfully (hopefully!) censoring less about counter-transference, and saying things like "When you do X, I feel Y rise up, and I wonder how often that happens for others in your relationships".  I am encouraging them to investigate and take accountability for their impact. That's hard to hear, but can be powerful insight. I try to do a good job of acknowledging my own filters; eg I could be way off.  And I want to be respectful and indicate understanding for the behavior coming from a positive intent.  But we are all defensive of our personal versions of reality, so it's hard work, for therapist and client.

Truth in Dating Book Cover
For better or worse, it's a loaded endeavor when one chooses to risk being respectfully honest about one's internal reaction to what's happening in real time.  Perhaps my grace for that will improve with practice.  Bear with me and extend trust my heart is in the right place and I will struggle through it in partnership with you. 
To hone my skills, I am also reading Susan Campell's
SAYING WHAT'S REAL: 7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success,
another recommendation from Dr. Hart.  It's important to me to keep learning if I want to teach.

 Next week I'm giving workshops on compassion fatigue to Kansas City animal shelter workers.  Tonight I watched Sundance Award Winner documentary "Buck" and it's a powerful piece of film.  Head to the Darkside for a beautiful example of a person finding and living vocation (Buck is a gifted horse trainer) despite a difficult childhood.  There is much to be learned in here, and you don't need to know a thing about horses to get it. A lot is about communication-- checking to see you are clear and consistent in what you say you want from the other.  Applies to horses as well as people.

Speaking of gaining awareness of of impact-- I continue to obsess about the multitudes of subtle and chainsaw-type impacts of Letting Go of Nose.  Found this article tonight and love this paragraph.  Author Jennifer Boyles has likely been anosmic from birth, which is a different ballgame from those of us struck down after years of taking the olfactory world for granted,  But she has some powerful things to say.  I particularity related to this paragraph:

"While anosmia is not as life-altering as blindness or deafness, I am still missing one of my five central senses. Many people don’t take this seriously. They say that I’m “lucky” because I can’t smell car exhaust, dog poop, smelly socks, etc. True…but I also can’t smell dangerous things like smoke, burning food, spoiled food, noxious fumes, gas leaks, and other danger signals... Besides, at what expense am I “lucky” to be in a dog poop-less world? At the expense of flowers, perfume, candles, and so on! Is it worth it to not be able to smell dog shit if it also means that I can’t smell baking cookies? Of course not! And nobody would say to a blind person, “You’re so lucky you can’t see. It means you don’t have to look at garbage, dog shit on the sidewalk, and polluted rivers!”

If you get a chance, check out her honest and thoughtful blog here:   http://www.jenniferboyer.com/main.html.
She's a wise soul.


xian said...

excellent accident - if accidents even exist. tonight i had to tell one of the people i love most in this universe how must they were hurting me. and i had to say this without ire or pathos. i had to be real. when i stumbled upon this installment, jana - it validated years of personal evolution that led me to be able to face this communication bravely. thank you.

Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...

Thanks for commenting, xian. I am glad this was useful for you. I do have an errata-- Dr. Hart wrote to tell me that a better introduction to Campbell's book is Getting Real. Saying What's Real applies the concepts to couples, but the first is a better overview.