giovedì 2 ottobre 2008

Video Therapy

Instant replay, split-screen images and closeups have long been known are beginning to become familiar to psychiatric patients as well. An increasing number of psychotherapists are supplementing their treatment by using video tape to give patients a good look at themselves. Some enthusiasts are so excited about the results that they are already talking of a major breakthrough in psychiatry.

One of the most creative pioneers in the new method is Manhattan Psychoanalyst Milton M. Berger, who uses a combination of analytic and video techniques to treat individuals, couples and families. While conducting traditional therapy sessions, Berger operates two cameras equipped with zoom lenses designed to catch face, hand and body movements that often reveal more than the spoken word about personality and emotional problems.
Patients can watch themselves on one or all of Berger's four TV monitors, or view reruns later.

Very often, Berger finds, replays can demonstrate to patients that their relationships with others go wrong because they send contradictory "double messages" when they speak or listen. One illustration: a husband responded to a suggestion from his wife with the words, "That's a good idea"—but at the same time he brushed an invisible bit of dust from his trouser leg with a gesture of almost contemptuous dismissal. Similarly, a wife's quiet posture as she sat listening to her husband suggested attentiveness, but her face looked bored.

Replays can also stimulate "retrospective shock"—the sudden recovery of old memories that may give insight into present troubles. After watching her rigid posture on the monitor for 15 minutes, one patient recalled a childhood fear: that she would be abandoned if she did not behave. That was the reason for her exaggerated self-control as an adult. Aware that the fear was no longer realistic, she became able to relax and behave more spontaneously.

In another variation of the video technique, Berger projects as many as twelve pictures of a patient side by side, each more blurred than the preceding one. For many patients, he says, these multiple, shadowy images serve as a bridge "into deeper inner selves" that have remained, like the images themselves, elusive and distorted. Berger asked one shy, self-demeaning salesman with virtually no memories of his childhood to comment on split-screen images of himself. "It's like me looking into the past," the salesman said, "and I get smaller and smaller until I disappear into nothingness." Then he remembered that as a child he had felt worthless, different from others, and ignored at home. Berger believes that this insight into early feelings of insignificance eventually helped the salesman to shed some of his shyness.

Fonte: Time

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