On November 20th, I attended a Web-lecture, “The New Science of Romantic Love: What You Understand, You Can Shape” presented by Dr. Sue Johnson at Cal Southern University in Irvine, CA. The lecture was also available to watch live online through Cal Southern’s webpage.
I was excited to learn about one of the most powerful forces on Earth- love. Dr. Sue Johnson is an expert on Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and utilizes it to help couples repair their relationships. Emotionally Focused Therapy is best used to expand partners’ emotional responses, create new types of interactions between the couple, and foster secure bonding between partners.The basics of EFT Empathic Reflection that Dr. Johnson covered are validations- creates alliance and safety, focus during sessions, and cohesion through organization.
In addition to explaining EFT and how it is used as a “dance” between partners, Dr. Johnson also discussed John Bowlby’s attachment styles and how they influence adult romantic relationships. The ideas that held my interest throughout the lecture include: secure attachment bonds lead to emotional responsiveness while insecure attachment leads to anxious emotional responsiveness. Furthermore, my biggest take-away point was learning how a cue of rejection or criticism from a person you’re connected with is processed the same way as physical pain in the brain.
December Clinical Connections with George Nalbach, Ph.D. — The Future of Psychotherapy: The Primacy of Empathy and the Seduction of Evidence Based Treatment
For the December 6 Clinical Connections at the Irvine Graduate Campus, popular long-time Pepperdine faculty George Nalbach, Ph.D., presented on the history, present status, and future of psychotherapy. Dr. Nalbach, the Associate Executive Director of Santa Anita Family Service, discussed his concerns regarding the current standardization of therapy inevitable with third party reimbursement. He also critiqued the plethora of “evidence based treatments” research and literature and the evolving standardization of graduate education. In contrast to these issues, Dr. Nalbach reintroduced the prioritization of empathy as the indispensable tool of psychotherapy fact finding and the central aspect of psychotherapy effectiveness.