CE and Conversation

These events offer an opportunity for mental health professionals to learn theories and strategies which inform the practices of professional colleagues as well as the networking opportunity to make their own practices more visible.  Professionals who attend reconnect with friends, develop new alliances with colleagues, and expand their mental health community.

 Where: Lucky Lab Brew Pub   915 SE Hawthorne Blvd.  Portland, OR 97214

Free parking on site & street parking nearby

30 minutes of networking plus CE presentation; Food and drink available for purchase.

Charge is $10 (for room & CE costs); coming a little early can be useful; you can place a food order, the staff will bring your lunch into the meeting room.

November 3, 2017, 12:15 - 2:30 1 1/2 hr CE

Sustaining the Gaze on the Other:

Toward a Model of Differentiating Dialogues for Couples in Conflict

The first edition of identity crystallizes through mirroring from mom – the first ‘holding environment’.  Just as computers require updates for increasingly complex computing functions, our self-representations (what we call ‘I’ or ‘me’) must periodically reorganize if "I" can continue to participate in ever more complex relationship environments.

Volumes of research corroborate mirroring’s role in physiological, emotional and neurological functions. It’s also the downloading mechanism for each update of identity – for which mirroring comes through a series of holding environments (mom, extended family, grade school, etc.). In the process of downloading an update, there’s necessarily a “differentiation” phase in the reorganization from one stage to the next. A turbulent process, “differentiation” facilitates de-identification from the current holding environment and re-identification into the next stage which provides benefits including an increased capacity for "relationship to" and access to previously inaccessible capacities for perspective taking.

That frames the Catch-22 adults encounter in a primary relationship: Both partners -- driven by the “developmental imperative” to gestate the next, more empowering stage of identity -- seek mirroring from a partner who may not have hatched to the stage with the capacity to provide that mirroring.  Grounded in research and illumined by literature, song lyrics, and biographies, therein emerges a foundation for understanding couples conflicts gone haywire. Finally, a bare bones model, called ‘Differentiating Dialogues’, is distilled out towards reaping the well-established benefits of healthy differentiation. Snippets of Gottman, Wile, Johnson, et al may be addressed in light of the model.

Those attending will be able to:

  • Describe the functions of mirroring as adults make changes in self-representation -- what we call “I” or “me”;
  • Discuss ways problems in a primary relationship can stem from people’s search for appropriate mirrors to support changes to their identity.
  • Discuss the potential of a model of differentiating dialogues to help couples avoid “Negative affect reciprocity”, a high predictor of divorce.

Bernard McDowell, LCSW is a psychotherapist in Northwest Portland.  In practice since 1992, about half his practice is devoted to couples counseling while the other half serves individuals addressing a variety of issues, particularly depression and anxiety. He recently wrote a book (still in editing mode) about this  topic.

Bernard McDowell, LCSW .  811 NW 20th Avenue, Suite 104 . Portland, Oregon 97209 .  503-234-9904

These programs are co-sponsored by AMHA-OR Metro and Mentor Research Institute. Mentor Research Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Mentor Research Institute maintains responsibility for the program and its content.