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Journal of Psychology and Christianity Copyright 2010 Christian Association for Psychological Studies 2010, Vol. 29, No. 1, 82-87 ISSN 0733-4273 CASE STUDIES The Heart of the Matter indented for ease of following which of us is writ- Heather Davediuk Gingrich ing at a given time. Denver Seminary Taking Heart: The Beginning of Therapy Joy Ohlson Joy’s presenting problem involved incessant A psychotherapist enters clients’ lives for a rela- struggles with decision making. She found herself tively short period of time compared to their paralyzed by the many available options, unable whole lifespan. It is not unusual for the therapeu- to take action. This was negatively impacting her tic relationship to end, and the clinician to never work, marriage, and relationships. It was clear again hear from former clients. However, on rare that Joy was highly performance-oriented, want- occasions, I (Heather) have had the privilege of ing to do what was right in the eyes of both God witnessing the continued miracle of God’s heal- and others, yet always feeling as though she fell ing work in a client’s life many years later. This case study is a joint effort between a for- short. While she had functioned competently in mer client (who chose to use the pseudonym the past, the energy required to maintain her care- Joy) and me and is written almost a decade after fully created personal façade had dissipated to the our final session. The termination of therapy point that she could no longer keep it up. was necessitated by her geographic move, a Cognitive/behavioral therapy initially looked premature interruption in the healing process like a good treatment option, as Joy was well which was frustrating to us both, particularly as tuned-in to her thought processes, motivated to exciting in-roads were being made in therapy. work on them, and familiar with the approach Unfortunately, whether through life circum- from previous counseling experiences. Several stances or the managed care health system, not months before I saw her, Joy had written the fol- being able to see a client through to the end of lowing in her prayer journal: their process is often the norm rather than an The façade that I created doesn't isolated occurrence. This case study serves as a have a heart, it only has rules and reminder that God continues the healing pro- requirements and expectations to be cess beyond the parameters of a specific thera- reached. And once reached, these peutic relationship. It also offers a glimpse into 'shoulds' are readjusted to a higher a therapeutic process from the unique perspec- level. Every decision is calculated, tives of both therapist and client. With the cur- every result evaluated. It’s a life rent emphasis in the field tending towards devoid of passion and empathy. manualized approaches to therapy, Joy’s reflec- When faced with my patterns of self- tions highlight the central role of empathy and condemnation and pride, my solution presence over specific techniques. Finally, it seems to be a fierce determination to shows that what initially appears to be the most overcome the old patterns, to master obvious therapeutic approach may not necessar- the new 'r
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