Voices welcomes submissions in the form of personal essay, research- and case-based inquiry, poetry, art, cartoons, and photography.

Please direct questions and submissions to the editor, Carla Bauer, LCSW at crbauer01@bellsouth.net.

Submission Guidelines available here and in any Voices issue.

Summer 2022

Borders and Walls: Facing the Other

Deadline for submission: April 15, 2022

 

The great challenge of this century . . . is that of understanding the other.

– Charles Taylor: Dilemmas and Connections

Nothing that is human … can do without the idea of the alien, to protect itself.

– Adam Phillips: Terrors and Experts

In this issue of Voices, we explore the borders and walls we erect in our minds and with each other — barriers we use to turn ourselves into strangers. Inner and interpersonal forms of estrangement are unavoidably linked. Those we alienate may be our friends, enemies, family, professional colleagues, larger community, people diverse from us in any number of ways, or strangers that represent disowned parts of ourselves.

From micro level to macro, facing what feels alien can stir up diverse feelings, including fear of loss of identity, power, or pride; helplessness, ignorance, or vulnerability; feelings of superiority or guilt, of failure, shame, or self-loathing. Facing the other can be met with varying forms of resistance: scapegoating, aggression, othering, projecting, sub-grouping, etc.

Consider your own experience and that of your clients:  What are our borders and walls for, what are they meant to protect us from, what and who are they designed to exclude? How do we use them to prevent us from understanding the other? How do our inner and interpersonal barriers mirror actual borders and walls between neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries? What are we afraid of in the other? What are we disowning in ourselves when we reject the other?

We are hard-wired to seek connection, and through connection, communion. Yet we repeatedly default to behaviors that distance us from the other. As we examine our cherished borders and walls, our profound attachment to our distortions, and we begin to imagine what it’s like being someone else, we are changed. Estrangement, when challenged, may be replaced by feelings of kinship or fellowship we have tried to disown.

For this issue, consider how these dynamics show up in your life and practice. Consider, too, how large and small group process can facilitate facing the other and breaking down walls.

Voices welcomes submissions in the form of personal essay, research- and case-based inquiry, poetry, art, cartoons and photography.

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Winter 2022

Impasse, Intrigue, & Inspiration: Effecting Change through Psychotherapy

Deadline for submission: August 15, 2022

 

People come to therapy to change – or do they? – yet clients often resist that very change.

Ever feel stuck when working with a client? The therapy seems stalled, at an impasse – now what?   Perhaps your steady client has hit a plateau and can’t seem to move forward. What about that ambivalent one who never quite seems fully invested, or the frustrated client with one foot out the door?  How do you motivate that resistant patient who just won’t do anything different to change what isn’t working in her life? How do you break the impasse and motivate change?

Are you intrigued about the topics your clients talk about – and don’t talk about! – wondering why they’re paying to talk about that?  Are you left wondering just what keeps them coming?  What about those surprises when your patient buries the lede or drops a major revelation while walking out the door?

For this issue of Voices, consider: What have been some of your most challenging moments in psychotherapy? When have you felt stymied, not sure what to do next?  When have you been caught off guard by something your client said – whether a door knob moment or an unexpected revelation in session that changed your formulation of the case? What about those moments when you hear, too late, how your words landed on your client’s ears with a heavy thud, threatening a conflictual impasse? What inspired breakthrough in such scenarios? What have been your successes and struggles in motivating change?  What would you do differently, given a do-over?

Consider:  how do such moments of impasse impact your sense of self as therapist, your confidence in your abilities or impact?  Consider, too, when you have felt stuck in your own life. How have you broken your own impasses and ambivalence for the change you sought, heeded (or not) your own therapeutic advice, to unstick your own life?  How has your own experience informed your work with clients?

Also for consideration: While not specifically a pandemic theme, perhaps this surreal time has brought its own impasses and/or previously unattainable resolutions to former ones?

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