Fear and the therapist
Fear and the therapist is a workshop aimed at enhancing our ability as therapists to recognise and regulate our own fear system responses in our work with clients.
There are very few clients who come for therapy who do not have a history of trauma. Most of the people we work with have an autonomic nervous system, highly attuned to threat and prone to fear responses such as alarm, anger, withdrawal, or collapse. Working with our clients, our own fear system responses are activated. These are biological processes that operate automatically, and they can shut down our social engagement system and render us ineffectual as therapists.
When our fear system activates in the counselling room, we can experience tension, anxiety, fright, loss of our ability to think clearly, irritation, frustration, feelings of uselessness and hopelessness, or extreme exhaustion. This is the opposite of the experience of energy, vitality, and absorbed interest that we have when fear is regulated and we, as well as our clients, become exploratory rather than defensive.
The aim of this workshop is to increase our awareness of the physical, emotional, and mental impact on us of our biological fear system responses, and to enhance our ability to regulate these responses, bringing ourselves and our clients to a place of safety - the 'window of tolerance' within which therapeutic work becomes possible.
The workshop will include an explanation of how the biological fear system works and the various states it throws us into, covering polyvagal theory and the concept of the fear cascade. Participants will be invited to explore their own experiences of fear system activation, both in their personal lives and in their work as therapists. We will also work with a number of practical methods for regulating our fear system responses.
While everything we will cover on fear system regulation is applicable to our work with clients, the focus of this workshop is on ourselves as therapists, as our ability to regulate our own fear system responses is the single most important factor in our capacity to facilitate therapeutic change in others.
Each workshop will be limited to seven participants and will be facilitated in a manner which prioritises the creation of a safe space for exploration.
To book, or to enquire about future dates for this workshop if you are not available on 15th February, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check on - www.michaelguilding.com/workshops/
About Michael Guilding
Michael Guilding is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in independent practice who is now moving into training therapists in understanding and managing our Fear System responses. He has previously worked in the NHS as a GP practice counsellor, and a service manager for primary care counselling and primary care mental health.