Understanding The Function Of Agression
Aggression is not, in and of itself, hostile. Aggression is fundamental to human development – it can serve as destructive and/or constructive functions in the service of psychological health and the vitality of personal relationships.
When aggression is ignored, it will likely escalate into its more destructive forms. One of Bill’s most common experiences in the supervision of psychotherapists and counselors has to do with the consequences of therapists’ conscious and unconscious avoidance of aggression and human ugliness—their own and their clients.
Winnicott argued that the function of aggression is to “compel the environment to be important” and is, therefore, a sign of hope. Aggression within the therapeutic relationship may be defensive and destructive, or it may be a constructive and vitalizing demand upon the therapist. How do we distinguish between the two?
At The Working Edge…
- Aggression on the part of the therapist finds expression in two primary means of expression:
– 1) disturbing the defensive and characterological operations of the client;
– 2) surviving the emotional and relational attacks of the client with understanding and without retaliation.
- For this particular workshop, Bill will offer didactic teaching, provide some breakout groups, and engage in an ongoing group discussion.
- There will be a case presentation that will help to illustrate these ways of understanding, receiving, and expressing aggression.
- More workshop preparation details will be emailed to you upon enrollment.
About The Workshop Presenter
He is a co-editor of the Transactional Analysis Journal and has published extensively in a broad range of journals and psychotherapy books. He is the author of Explorations in Transactional Analysis: The Meech Lake Papers, editor of James McLaughlin’s The Healer’s Bent: Solitude and Dialogue in the Clinical Encounter, and co-editor with Helena Hargaden of From Transactions to Relations: The Emergence of a Relational Tradition in Transactional Analysis.