Jay S. EfranJay S. Efran, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Temple University. He is the recipient of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s 2009 award for “Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology.” He was also awarded the Constructivist Psychology Network Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds two teaching awards—one from the students at Temple University and one from the students at the University of Rochester. He has been president of the Academic Division of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and of the Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society (the local affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Society). Dr. Efran is a past director of Temple’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program and also of their Psychological Services Center. He serves as an advisory editor for the Psychotherapy Networker and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Constructivist Psychology. A therapist for more than 50 years, he has published more than 100 articles and chapters on topics such as emotion, social phobia, temperament, addiction, constructivism, contextualism, and psychotherapy. His two co-authored books are Language, structure, and change: Frameworks of meaning in psychotherapy (W. W. Norton, 1990) and The tao of sobriety: Helping you recover from alcohol and drug addiction (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

Keynote Abstract:

Fixing vs. Creating: A Therapist’s Notebook

Despite the hoopla about empirically supported methods and the ever expanding number of new treatment approaches, therapists are not achieving better outcomes today than they did 25 years ago. In his keynote address, Dr. Efran discusses why psychotherapy can be such a hit-or-miss proposition. Drawing upon the work of biologist and cyberneticist Humberto Maturana, Dr. Efran identifies roadblocks to successful therapy and describes principles and strategies for enhancing therapeutic effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:

Be able to:

1. Explain why it is useful for therapists to understand the concept of “orthogonal interaction.”

2. Explain why conversational domains are said to be “closed.”

3. Discuss how experiences of “emotional contradiction” motivate psychotherapy.

4. Discuss the hazards of using explanatory fictions, such as ego-strength and frustration tolerance.

5. Describe the therapeutic utility of considering life a “purposeless drift.”