Loyalty: The Root of Perpetual Unhappiness

This presentation will draw on Control-mastery theory, an empirically supported, cognitive, psychodynamic, relational, theory of psychotherapy which offers a framework for understanding clients struggling with 1) being stuck, 2) going in and out of unsatisfying or abusive relationships and 3) seeking out situations causing them ongoing suffering and unhappiness. Specifically, these behaviors can be understood to convey useful information about a client’s past as well as reflecting acts of deeply held unconscious loyalty to her/his family and culture of origin. The theory offers guidelines for interventions to help free clients from this misplaced loyalty.

Loyalty can be expressed in a range of ways influenced not only by experiences with family but also with one’s culture. The presentation will include a discussion of and case examples illustrating how such loyalty develops and is held in place. Further, participants will be invited to practice identifying how loyalty is expressed and developing case-specific treatment strategies. One of the strengths of this approach is that each case formulation has to be specifically geared to the individual within her or his psychological, familial, socio-cultural framework.

The workshop objectives include participants
  • becoming familiar with the main concepts of Control-mastery theory
  • being able to define client’s specific goals for therapy and psychological obstacles to overcome
  • practicing identifying when and how loyalty may be a factor and utilizing this information to formulate interventions
  • being able to recognize and understand the role of culture in maintaining loyalty