Yesterday I had the pleasure of once again hearing Scott Miller present. I won’t go into too much detail about what he spoke about, but there was one thing that really stood out for me. He was giving a clinical example with a video of a case he was brought in to consult on. The individual he was called in to work with was a ”very challenging case” – a man who had been receiving therapy and support primarily for his alcohol addiction for about 4 years. Now his mental health team was having a really hard time with this gentleman because they could not seem to convince him to adopt an internal locus of control for his addiction. His reasons for maintaining abstinence were pretty much purely external relational factors – i.e. how his drinking impacted and affected others… and this drove the team CRAZY because as therapists we often believe that we are to empower our clients to take control of their lives for themselves, and achieve the things they desire in life. What Scott did, though, was interesting. He honed right in on these external abstinence motivating factors and worked with them… and the client was very responsive to this… perhaps more responsive than anything else that had been discussed in his past 4 years of therapy. Now the most interesting part for me was that there was just one intrinsic motivating factor for this individual in maintaining his sobriety, and that was his spirituality. He said that one of the intrinsic deterrents for drinking was that when he was drunk he could not focus on praying and connecting with God. Something to think about.
Last winter some colleagues and I made our way down to Anaheim California for the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference. It was almost surreal when we received our workshop schedules a few weeks before the conference and I discovered many of the presenters were people who’s work I’d been reading and studying for years. I know it sounds pretty dorky to those not in the psychology world, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little star struck. Okay, A LOT star struck.
The highlight of the conference for me was definitely any and every presentation, workshop, discussion panel where either or both Scott Miller and Donald Meichenbaum were hosting. These guys were able to both educate and entertain, a refreshing approach in the psychology world seeing as one might not automatically equate the word therapist with hilarious. go figure.
Watching them interact made me think of the Smothers Brothers… Remember them? I don’t really, but you get the idea.