The therapeutic dyad is, among other things, a space where two people struggle over narratives about what is happening now, what has happened in the past, and what may happen in the future. Each person inherently has one vote; so each has a natural incentive to try to make their vote count for more than the other person’s.
Many tools for winning this struggle are available to both people – domination, seduction, intellectual argument, emotional manipulation, and so on. However the therapist has some built-in advantages. The therapeutic space is their space. They are familiar with it, relatively comfortable in it, and better equipped to define what can and cannot, should and shouldn’t happen in it. This is not to say that the client has no effective tools with which to fight for power. And it is certainly not to imply that we should try to cleanse therapy of all power struggles!
I will be arguing that conscious attention to issues of power as they arise in the therapy room, together with an honest attempt by the therapist to acknowledge their own efforts to control the situation, can be an enormous valuable aspect of the work. Pretty much everyone – clients and therapists alike – have suffered in early life from a deficit of power, and from having their perceptions and experience overruled. We need to notice and explore ways in which this can be repeated in the therapeutic relationship, and ways in which it can be interrupted there.
About Nick Totton
I have been working as a therapist, supervisor, trainer and workshop leader since 1981, having trained originally as a Reichian bodywork therapist. Since then I have completed an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies; trained (but don’t practice) as a cranio-sacral therapist; attended a number of seminars in Process Oriented Psychology; and developed my own integrative approach to psychotherapy. I offer workshops and seminars on a range of themes, including embodiment, ecopsychology, and the politics of psychotherapy.
Price: CaPPP Members £25.00, Non-members £35.00
Places are limited and must be booked in advance by 18.00 on Thursday 10th February 2022. A link to the event will be emailed to you at the latest 24 hours before the start of the event.