Central to our philosophy is an emphasis on an integrative relational approach to working with clients. A commitment to an intersubjective stance based in a two-person psychology presupposes the centrality of relationship as the primary helping factor. We see as important a consistent focus on the co-creation and navigation of relationship involving the two people engaged in the dyad as joint participants in the healing dialogue in the service of the change process for the client. We acknowledge the central importance of the interplay of two human sensibilities who together co-create ways of relating that are unique to the interplay of both their subjectivities.
We see all relationships as operating at both the explicit verbal level and at the implicit, non-verbal level of interaction, with a delicate interface between the two. Our focus is on the immediacy of the encounter and what is foreground for the client in this meeting. The mutuality of the co-created relationship does not imply equality, since we are aware of the power basis involved in all psychotherapy, psychological therapy, coaching, training and supervision. We view it as the practitioners’ responsibility to pay attention to their engagement with the process in the best service of their clients .
We emphasise the intentional use of relationship, grounded in the therapeutic alliance, in the service of the goals of the client as these are negotiated and renegotiated in the process of the work. Given the centrality of the intentional use of the relationship and of the practitioner’s use of self in contributing to successful outcomes, we put emphasis on self reflexive practice, self-understanding, interpersonal encounter and sensitivity to attunement, mis-attunement and repair in maintaining an effective working alliance. By co-creating and maintaining a clearly formulated and secure working alliance, practitioner and client alike are enabled to focus upon complex interpersonal and intrapsychic issues at both conscious and unconscious levels of interaction.
We acknowledge the crucial importance of the contextual and field conditions that influence and shape all relationships, whether these be organisational, social, economic or political. Hence we honour the impact of the dynamics of difference in shaping the working alliance at conscious and unconscious levels.
Our trainings focus on building integrative relational frameworks for practice drawing on a range of traditions in psychology, for example, relational psychoanalysis, self psychology, object relations, systemic, cognitive-behavioural, humanistic and existential views of the person. We are particularly informed by the work of the self psychologists, developmental researchers, relational psychotherapists and neurobiologists and the perspective they bring to the developmental significance of the other for the growth of the self and the continuation of this process of self formation throughout the course of the individual's life. We stress the importance of providing a containing relationship in which the work can be done.
This approach to training is informed by research results, which consistently point to the quality of the helping relationship as probably the most significant component in successful practice and good outcomes. Such research suggests that the choice of a particular theoretically based method appears to have little differential influence on the effectiveness of the healing process. We are exploring theoretical integration across different disciplines as well as integrating currentresearch findings into the change process into our ways of thinking about applied practice. We are aware that such training requires the full mobilisation of the student's thinking, sensitivity, responsibility, maturity and ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty. Integrative training will require of the student a commitment to maintain and tolerate several views, even when these may appear to be contradictory, in an effort not to foreclose prematurely on a particular point of view. These differing views serve as a system of continuing self-supervision so that any position taken is a flexible one and responsive to the particular needs and circumstances of a particular client at a particular time in a particular context. Such an approach to integrative practice can serve practitioners well in a variety of contexts.
Through the many facets of this training students will develop an approach to integration that has its own internal coherence and which reflects their personal style and which can be finely tuned in relation to each particular client,relevant to the context of work and the time available.