Home PagePress ReleaseCreative Therapeutic Techniques

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In a practical how-to guide, the dynamic duo of Hillary and Brad Keeney gives therapists tools to get unstuck in dead-end sessions by using fresh techniques. 

PHOENIX, Ariz. – April 15, 2013 – Comparing psychotherapy sessions to theater or film, where there are plotlines, storyboards, and an actual beginning, middle and end, Hillary and Brad Keeney encourage therapists to think of themselves more as actors who are required to perform first and gain understanding later. The Keeney’s believe that doing so allows therapists to focus more on movement and change rather than being trapped in the typical problem/solution world. Exercises are offered as well as case examples so that therapists can creatively reframe impoverished sessions and transport clients from a problem-focused life to a life of infinite possibilities. One exercise has therapists starting at the end with a client, requiring them to “act in order to know how to act next” and put aside any habitual over-reliance on the client’s background information.

Another idea the Keeneys promote to create movement and change is the very-Ericksonian method of utilizing all resources. In fact, they ask therapists to learn how to “smell a resource” and utilize whatever the client brings to a session as fodder for creative change. Physical props such a flea market finds — the wild, wonderful, and even weird – are also recommended to use as more than just as conversation starters but as game-changers — ways to breaks the cycle of stalled sessions. And, there is much praise for the beauty and usefulness of the absurd in “Absurdity Lubricates the Wheels of Change.” Therapists are advised to steer clear of expected questions that are abundant in the problem/solution world, such as “Tell me how that makes you feel?” (Although discussing emotions at the right time is not discounted.) Instead, the Keeneys suggest throwing out unexpected, even slightly shocking question, such as “Has anyone in your family ever told a joke to a grasshopper.” Called an “out-of-frame attractor,” this type of question and can be useful in Feeding a Virtuous Circle and Starving a Vicious Circle — part of what the Keeneys call Circular Therapeutics –which happens to be the title of their last book.

In the final chapters of Creative Therapeutic Technique, the authors demonstrate ways in which they’ve helped other practitioners utilize their own unique resources and discuss the philosophical nature of the therapist as a traditional healer, who through their own wisdom-based learning and experience can guide others.

Witty, wise, and refreshingly irreverent, the Keeneys are true innovators in the field of psychotherapy. More interested in real change rather than theory or plaques on a wall, they give new meaning to thinking outside the box. Like Dr. Seuss they turn the world of psychology upside down by introducing the whacky and wonderful and what truly works.

For more information visit: http://erickson-foundation.org/.