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REGULATING EXISTENTIAL FEELINGS: THE CHALLENGE OF MEANING-MAKING


Exploring and promoting hope, tolerance and resilience for clients in challenging times.

Presenter: Kevin Keith PhD

The early 21st Century is presenting monumental challenges to both leaders and everyday people. Global threats of climate change, mounting numbers of refugees, declines in civility and respect for democracy and accelerating inequality, to name only a few! Such matters may feel ‘all too big’ to fathom, let alone respond constructively. Evidence also suggests these conditions are raising a degree of existential anxiety in societies across the world. Mental health professionals are increasingly finding themselves impacted by these and similar trends. The ‘outside world’ is increasingly visiting us in our lives as well as our provision of care. How can we respond?

There is much we can do, but perhaps we need first to pause, acknowledge the challenges we face and assess our own strengths. This unique seminar proposes a dynamic model of secure base and safe haven functions to support therapists working in troubling times. [Yes, an attachment derived approach to our own practice.] What might count as our unique secure bases/safe haven of support? The first part of the workshop aims to help us explore this question. The workshop will assist us to (1) claim the values/virtues—components of our unique secure base—that motivate us to face challenges, and (2) identify the people and places that support us along the way—our safe havens. This initial exploration will be set within the psychotherapy humanist/spiritual traditions of the mid 20th Century. The seminar asks us to revision or renew our practice in the notion of the Mythological Hero.

The second half of the morning turns to a focus on empirical findings on the regulation of affect. How do we and our clients best cope with the range of feeling states encountered in facing the world. And more practically, we look at recent critical discussions of existential feelings: affect states that are more like moods but with the broader implications for things like curiosity, innovation and global care—but also despair and paralysis. These more existential states have been shown to potentially influence our abilities to be open to new possibilities. And as such, they are capable of regulation as are emotions and moods. They may also function as less conscious background experiences capable of being raised to the foreground of awareness—something clinically relevant for clients.

Next, the third and fourth sections in the afternoon continue our practical exploration into building tolerance and anchoring ourselves and clients in hope. The influence of healthy anger—still a controversial and unresolved topic—is initially surveyed. The less healthy influences are considered in light of growing lack public civility and the rise of hatred in societies. The potential role of forgiveness is combined here to assist us in applying knowledge to clinical realities. Two practical areas will be addressed: (1) the challenging topic of hate crimes in light of recently published ISTSS guidelines on treatment of victims, and, (2) a look at how we might assist in building increased tolerance within all who may be faced with anger challenges.

Finally, the fourth section brings back experiential reflection to the table. Hope will be examined and its role in our clinical work will be raised. Hope need not decline when matters might less than optimistic. But bringing the sort of heroic awareness discussed at the outset will return to conclude our day.

CPD Hours: This event counts as 6 hours of category A CPD for PACFA’s membership renewal requirements.

PACFA MEMBER DISCOUNT * PACFA members can avail a discount of 20% off the registration fees for all live events and digital seminars on our website by applying the code ‘PDP20PACFA’ at the checkout.

For full details regarding the event and registration please go to the website.


Date
25/11/2020
Time
9:15 am - 4:15 pm

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