Psychodynamics and Safety Quickstart Guide to Group and Individual Activities



Explore how the past impacts what makes you feel safe and unsafe in the present and how to use that knowledge to create safety for mental health and to reduce anxiety and depression.

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Creating Safety From a Psychodynamic Perspective a Quickstart Guide to Group and Individual Activities
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs Counselor Education
Objectives
~ Review the basics of psychodynamics
~ Phenomenological reality (autobiography)
~ Transference
~ Compare and contrast (are you safe now?)
~ Creating PACER safety and Mindfulness of the Present
Basic Assumptions of Psychodynamics
~ Behavior and feelings are significantly impacted by unconscious and subconscious motives
~ Our behavior and feelings as adults are rooted in our childhood experiences including attachment
~ All behavior has a cause and a function

Phenomenological Reality
~ Situations in the present are perceived through the lens of the past
~ Experiences: Personal and vicarious
~ Education: Family, media, school
~ Developmental conceptualization
~ Seeing through that same lens helps us understand people’s reactions and interpretations
~ Having people write an anchored autobiography can provide a basis to explore current reactions
Transference
~ Transference can be positive or negative
~ Transference can be triggered by
~ Sights (appearance, movements, environment)
~ Smells
~ Sounds
~ Situations (going to the doctor, going to bed, going to a school)
~ It is vital for people to be aware how thoughts, emotions and reactions from their past experiences can translate into thoughts, emotions and reactions in the present
Addressing Transference
~ How is the current situation similar to and different from prior situations
~ Sight
~ Smell
~ Sound
~ Situation
~ How are you the same as you were then?
~ How are you different now?
~ What are the facts for and against the thought you are currently not safe?
PACER Safety
~ Physical safety at home, work, car, treatment
~ How can you moderate triggers for tension?
~ Mindful awareness
~ Breathing
~ What can you do to help yourself feel more relaxed?
~ Sights (including egress, people, light levels)
~ Sounds (including volume)
~ Smells (including intensity)

PACER Safety
~ Affective safety at home, work, car, treatment
~ How can you moderate triggers for dysphoric emotions?
~ What can you do to help yourself feel happier?
~ Sights (including egress, people, light levels)
~ Sounds (including volume)
~ Smells (including intensity)

PACER Safety
~ Cognitive safety at home, work, car, treatment
~ How can you moderate unhelpful or distress intolerant thoughts?
~ What can you do to help yourself think more positively?
~ Sights
~ Guided imagery
~ Thought rehearsal
~ Relational safety at home, work, car, treatment
~ How can you moderate triggers for abandonment fears or low self esteem?
~ What can you do to help yourself feel confident and loved?
~ Self esteem enhancement activities
~ Assertiveness and interpersonal effectiveness skills

Summary
~ From the moment we are born we start gathering data about our world
~ We remember sensory cues that indicate safety and threat
~ Once learned, those cues continue to trigger emotions, thoughts and behaviors designed to ensure continued survival
~ Those cues often become overgeneralized
~ Helping people become more mindful of the present moment instead of relying on old, unchecked data can help them feel safer.

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