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  • © Steven E. Ball, All Rights Reserved

    Psychology 537 Advanced Therapeutic Techniques

    (Revised December 2018 for Spring 2019)

    Note: This syllabus is subject to small changes once the semester begins. These will include corrections and slight refinements in the assignment(s) and scheduling. Description of Course from Graduate Catalogue:

    “There are three kinds of liars: liars, damn liars, and college catalogues.” – Elizabeth Sasser, Professor of Art History, Texas Technological College, circa 1966

    PSY 537 - Advanced Therapeutic Intervention

    Hours: 3

    A study of selected current specific techniques used in the practice of psychotherapy. Students will study a set of clinical procedures based on different theoretical models, including cognitive

    behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, solution-focused psychotherapy, and

    others. Emphasis will be on technique with evidence-based effectiveness and practical value in

    producing therapeutic movement, and students will practice the procedures in controlled

    clinical settings. They will also be encouraged to develop an articulated practice model of their

    own. Prerequisites: PSY 508 or consent of program advisor.

    Web Enhancement:

    To the extent that the university’s infrastructure permits, we will manage this course in part

    using online “web enhancement.” This fact has implications for your conduct and success:

    1. As soon as available you should go to the online web site for this course (D2L Bright

    Space) and familiarize yourself with what is there (which will be added to as the

    semester progresses). You may access by going to your My Leo account and clicking

    on eCollege. Links to additional guidance are in appendix 1, which contains things

    the university requires us to include in our syllabuses, most of which can be quite useful.

    2. You will turn in written assignments in D2L Bright Spaces.

    3. Use this formula to name the files you turn in this way:

    YOURLASTNAME.YOURFIRSTNAME.AssignmentName.Date. If I were going to turn

    in “Report of Rorschach on a Child” assignment on May 11, 2019, the file name

    would be BALL.STEVE.RorschachOnAChild.5.11.2019. Check the Dropbox Protocol link on eCollege for more details. You will receive written feedback for most (if not

    all) of your written assignments by way of D2L and its email facility. 4. You may take exams online – but only if the infrastructure permits an adequate

    interface between D2L Bright Spaces and Respondus or related files (and if time


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    © Steven E. Ball, All Rights Reserved

    5. You will retrieve documents to read from me by way of the D2L, and web sites to

    read on the “Webliography” link on D2L. Some of the latter may be accessible by way of links placed strategically within each week’s overview and assignments (but

    probably not).

    6. You will probably want to check the Announcements on D2L daily.

    7. You will definitely need to check your university e-mail daily:


    8. Do not send me an e-mail about this class except through the D2L email utility. I will not respond to other e-mails about this class. (I really probably

    will, but it helps if you do it this way. Also, if you are asking or answering something

    that the entire class might profit from, send to us all, and we can respond with

    “reply all.”)

    9. Thus, if you have a question of general concern to the class (not just a possibly personal or private concern of your own), ask it through D2L email and send the

    email to everyone in the class. That way everybody has access to the question and

    the answer, and I (or whoever answers it, possibly a member of the class) won’t have to answer it more than once. It may also reveal that you have not read the syllabus,

    paid attention in class, or that your heart is filled with lassitude. I will ignore your e-

    mails if you are ignoring this request. 10. In general, email is the way to communicate with me when we are not in class. I will

    almost always respond within 24 hours, with the exception of holidays (including

    those attendant on my faith tradition), winter or spring break, or the time between

    semesters if I am not in town.

    Our Contractual Agreement:

    Through the university I am offering this course to you (and a grade in it) in exchange for your

    doing the work specified in this syllabus, and otherwise complying with university regulations

    and requirements. If you choose to continue your enrollment in the course (whether you attend

    or not), I will assume that this agreement is consummated. You and I will thus be responsible for the content of this syllabus and complying with its specifics. Each of us is further

    acknowledging that we will abide by and accept the outcomes generated in this course through

    the appropriate application of the guidelines of its syllabus.

    General Objectives of the Course (Measurable Student Learning Outcomes):

    By course’s end the student (i.e., each o’ y’all) should be able to do the following things:

    1. Articulate a broad model of psychotherapy, including a general model of the person

    (especially one most relevant to the circumstances leading to a need for psychological

    intervention), a conceptually integrated model of the therapeutic process, and set of ethical principles that can guide the theoretical process. The intervention strategies

    informing the practice model should be semantically linked to the model of the person.

    Note that this psychotherapeutic model should be linked to established clinical

    literature, while at the same time representing the student’s emerging (and often very

    personal) approach to providing psychotherapeutic services.

    2. Articulate a strategy for identifying an accurate sense of therapeutic intentionality – that is to say how you go about where the client needs to “go” during the course of a

    specific psychotherapeutic course.

    3. Teach a client to relax and to use mindfulness or other meditation techniques to

    manage emotional, behavioral, and cognitive dysfunction.

    4. Say when and demonstrate how to use in-session behavioral techniques such rehearsal to produce therapeutic change.

    5. Say when and demonstrate how to develop and use systematic desensitization (and

    related techniques) in psychotherapy.

    6. Say when and demonstrate how to use body-focused techniques in psychotherapy.

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    © Steven E. Ball, All Rights Reserved

    7. Say when and show how to use each of these technique groups in general

    psychotherapy: a. Paradox

    b. Selected strategies drawn from Gestalt therapy

    c. Selected strategies drawn from psychodynamic tradition

    8. Describe Shor’s cognitive model of “the generalized reality orientation,” specifying how

    it is related to core conditions and the special cognitive states sometimes called

    “trance.” 9. Describe the role that anamnestic techniques have in working through resistance and

    failures to “remember” or be aware of relevant factors of one’s psychological functioning,

    including relationships.

    10. Describe specific techniques for recognizing and managing with borderline and

    narcissistic organizations in clients presenting for psychotherapy

    Topical Outline:

    General considerations

    Modes and morals

    Revisiting therapeutic intentionality Building a therapeutic algorithm

    Symptom relief

    Progressive relaxation

    Useful techniques from the older behavior therapies

    Systematic desensitization, implosion, & exposure techniques Rehearsal, role reversal, coverants

    Meditation & “mindfulness”

    Body-focused techniques, bioenergetics, & locating the affect in the body

    Cognitive interventions: Beyond automatic thoughts & core beliefs (insight on the half shell)

    Understanding the generalized reality orientation

    Paradox Gestalt techniques

    Helpful techniques from psychodynamic thinking

    Eriksonian hypnosis

    Tales of enchantment

    Special populations & symptoms Anamnesia

    Impaired object relations

    Integrating special techniques into a broader therapeutic model

    The A&M System prefers that I give specific dates for each of these topics, but the organic

    nature of a course such as this with developing psychotherapists makes that an uncertain prospect at best, and a frustrating and guaranteed failure at best. Suffice to say, we’ll get to the

    best of this stuff in as much detail as your expanding understanding of this remarkable

    process grows.

    Required Textbooks:


    Recommended Reading

    Haley, J. (1993). Uncommon therapy. (reissued ed.) New York, NY: W.W. Norton. (ISBN-13: 978-0393310313) London, P. (2014). The modes and morals of psychotherapy. (2nd ed.) Abington, UK. Taylor & Francis. (ISBN-13:


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