The Heart of the Matter by ProQuest


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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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