AJCUI counselling service presents family therapy seminar: mapping solution and problem-focused cycles in therapy

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In order to improve the capabilities of psychologists in Indonesia, the Faculty of Psychology of Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia (AJCUI) held a seminar with the theme of “Family Therapy: Mapping Solution and Problem-Focused Cycles in Therapy”. This seminar invited an expert in the field as the speaker, Dr. Toni Zimmerman, PhD. She is the Program Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Accredited Graduate Program Professor at Colorado State University (CSU), USA. She has been involved in the field of family therapy in CSU for 24 years. The event took place in Yustinus Building, 15th floor, Campus 1 Semanggi AJCUI on Friday (16 August).

In this seminar, she delivered several materials regarding family therapy and her experiences as a mentor or doctor. She elaborated that without common factors, any theories or methods in facing psychological problems in family will be a waste. There are at least several main things regarding common factors for caretakers or doctors: 1) alliance (close relationship between clients and therapists); 2) positive regard and affirmation (ability to feel, think and demonstrate respect to clients; 3) genuineness (ability to sincerely serve patients); 4) goal consensus and collaboration (commitment and common goal between therapists and patients); and 5) empathy (therapists must be able to feel what the clients feel).

Dr. Toni also explained about several strategic focus from Mental Research Institute (MRI) that can be applied in a more specific problem. For instance, a problem which must be brought into a cycle in order to facilitate the understanding of what truly happens in a problem. Besides, a therapist must also reframe their client’s behaviour in order to create understanding and non-pathological discussion and to take neutral stance to the problem. He also explained several things which must be the basis for evaluation and solution offered to clients. He also brought up several case examples for better understanding on how to apply the strategies.

There were some interesting facts in this seminar, as mentioned by Dr. Theresia Indira Shanti, S.Psi., M.Si., Psychologist. At first this Family Therapy Seminar was open only for psychologists, psychiatrists, students, counsellors or mental practitioners with a total of 50 people. However, approaching the D-day, the number of people interested in this seminar rose to more than 100 people. Dr. Theresia thought this occurred because of lack of experiences and comprehension regarding this family therapy.

“Our counselling service this time took the theme of family therapy and also invited Dr. Toni to be our guest lecture. We brought up this theme as there are still many psychologists or graduates from psychological departments who need materials about family therapy. It is based on problems commonly found in Indonesian families. In Indonesia, we still have not had enough education regarding specific family therapy which can facilitate the needs,” she said.

One of the participants, Fath Fatheya, a graduate from Department of Psychology of University of Indonesia, said “This is my second time participating in events held by AJCUI about therapy. The events are always good, starting from concepts to materials, which are delivered in an interesting way and easy to understand. Moreover, the price is reasonable and there are so many new things I can learn.”