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Each week students in Bill Borden's Psychodynamic Theory and Practice I course submit a single-paragraph response to the readings, relating key points to their current field experiences or raising specific questions or concerns. "Writing about something helps us integrate it into our experience," says the senior lecturer in the School of Social Service Administration. "To register these ideas takes a long time. It's important to settle in and spend some time with these thinkers."

Reading themselves
The primary "thinker" on Borden's syllabus is Stephen Mitchell, author of Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis (Harvard, 1988). The text explores the client-therapist relationship as a mutual and collaborative endeavor. Says Borden, "We'll learn to think about the clinician as a participant-observer. We'll think about relating to clients as others do. We'll consider the concept of internal supervision, and we'll work to monitor the interactive process and use it as a means to evaluate our progress. We'll read ourselves in light of the situation-when we're considering things we might say, we'll be imaginative and empathic. We'll put ourselves in the patient's place."

The "work" in social work
During the last four weeks of the quarter, students will learn to apply psychodynamic concepts in a social-work setting-where the Freudian id is easily forgotten when clients are only seen once or twice or when budgets or managed-care limit therapeutic contact. Using Patrick Casement's Learning from the Patient (Guilford, 1991), students will construct a working plan that takes them from assessment to formulating goals and establishing a safe and therapeutic "holding environment" to creating an interactive and "relational" experience and finally to determining how to terminate the therapy.-S.A.S.



  JUNE 2001

  > > Volume 93, Number 5


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