Shirley Bonney, MSW

Shirley Bonney, MSW has been a clinician for over 40 years. Her early career included a post-graduate fellowship at the Menninger Foundation, following which she moved to Seattle and began her private practice. Her theoretical background includes psychodynamic, object relations, family systems, and most recently sensorimotor psychotherapy approaches. She has been president of both the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work and the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study. She taught in the University of Washington School of Social Work graduate program and continuing education department. Subject areas have been diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. She has also provided consultation and supervision of individual, couples and family therapy. Outside of the office, Ms. Bonney loves bicycling, skiing, hiking and spending time with friends and family!

Available In-Service Topics

Who Knew Helping People Would Be So Complicated??

Many professions focus on helping another, but many professional training programs do not focus on the complexity of the relationship between helper and helpee. This training will focus on ways in which transference/countertransference can be stimulated; ways in which traumatic histories/complicated family dynamics can get reenacted within the helping dyad; and common fantasies that may be triggered as someone experiences the help of another. Ms. Bonney will share some examples from her practice, but ideally, participants will come with examples from their own more difficult experiences in efforts to help someone so that those situations can be examined with a psychodynamic lens. Often it is the most difficult situations that teach us the most.

Basic Psychodynamic Theory

This training will require a reading assignment prior to the group meeting such that there is a basic outline of psychodynamic theory. Ms. Bonney will bring examples from her practice and welcomes participants to bring examples of clients they wish to understand from this theoretical perspective.

The Dynamics of the Team in the Helping Profession

Many mental health professionals work in a team for the benefit of their clients. Many of the clients whose treatment is the focus of attention come from very traumatic backgrounds wherein primitive defenses were needed for survival. As professionals work hard to do well by their clients, they may find themselves feeling resentful of other team members or withdrawing from communicating with coworkers. Clients unconsciously often invite the use of defenses such as splitting and projection within the treatment team. Few agencies have the luxury of providing staff time to process ways in which such reenactments may be occurring within a team. But such things are bound to happen. This training will focus on helping a team look at how they are functioning together, tensions that have arisen around the work with a client, and how to understand it from this lense.

Ms. Bonney is also open to presenting on other topics as suggested by potential recipients of a training and is available for Consultation.