The theme of the conference is poetic, a quote from St. Augustine. "Our whole business therefore in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart."
The name of the conference, scheduled July 8-16, is pure pragmatism. "The Fourth Annual Summer Institute in the Human Services, presented by Continuing Education and the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Utah."Speakers will offer both practical techniques and uplifting words of hope. They are therapists teaching other therapists how to heal.
Among others, there will be sessions on treating adult children of alcoholics; diagnosing and treating depression; and healing body, mind and spirit.
Donald Price will talk about the treatment of adults who were molested as children. Price is a family counselor and a consulting hypnotherapist for the Intermountain Sexual Abuse Treatment Center.
"I guess one of the reasons I teach in this area is because it's not just the general population that finds this subject uncomfortable. Therapists may not be comfortable with letting patients talk about these sometimes horrible stories," he said.
"When Freud first put his finger on it (the problems of his female patients who had experienced incest) his colleagues ran him out of business. So he changed his theory to treat women's fantasies." Today, it's still hard for us to admit parents can and do molest their children."
Price said between 20 and 40 percent of all women have been sexually assaulted in some way as children. He wonders how often these women go through therapy for depression and never find the underlying cause. "I think there are some in most counselors' caseloads."
He talks about female victims, Price says, because that's who he sees. "Women get depressed and punish themselves. Abused men tend to act it out and hurt others and end up in prison. They aren't as available to health researchers when they are locked up."
Price will tell male counselors to be ready to hear a woman's incredible rage."Most victims feel like a volcano is exploding inside them when they talk about what happened." For a time, at least, they hate all men.
He'll offer another caution. Sexual molestation takes time to work through. "Insurance companies are trying to force short-term therapy," he says. "Band-aid work."
Price estimates 18 months to 7 years worth of therapy will be needed.
For a conference brochure and registration details call 581-8913 or 581-8113.