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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Therapy Failures Unraveled
With Dr Doris Brothers and Dr Mario Marrone

Saturday 1 November 2014

09.30   Registration and Coffee
10.00   Dr Mario Marrone

Unintended results in psychoanalytic psychotherapy: when the wrong style of intervention causes harm
Some psychotherapists and psychoanalysts may conduct therapy in a way that causes harm to the patient. We need to identify and classify iatrogenic (unintended but damaging) interventions in order to avert them. Many negative interventions result from a complex set of factors, including strict adherence to certain theoretical and technical dictums. However, in my experience, these primarily result from the analyst's enactment of their own internal working models of dysfunctional interactions from their families of origin which have not been adequately resolved in their own analysis. We will consider types of unhelpful intervention such as false neutrality, derogation, probing, invalidating experience, persecutory spirals, intrusive interpretations, and how they can be avoided.
11.15   Coffee Break
11.45   Dr Doris Brothers

How helpful is the success-failure polarity in therapeutic practice?
Starting with Sigmund Freud, the terms "success" and "failure," have been associated with psychoanalytic practice. Who could deny the appeal of this ubiquitous polarity? Aside from bringing a measure of perceived clarity to a profession wracked by uncertainty, it seems to allow clinicians to learn from their own as well as others' mistakes and triumphs. However, a relational systems perspective reveals the problems and complexities involved in evaluating the worthiness of any given clinical experience - an argument that will be illustrated by aspects of a therapeutic relationship which began shortly before the death of the patient's previous analyst who had seen her 5 days a week for 25 years.
13.00   Lunch (please note that lunch is not included at this venue)
14.15   Dr Doris Brothers

Empathic failures as an expression of burnout and intergenerationally-charged intersubjectivity
This presentation examines the all too common experience of burnout among psychotherapists as a reason for empathic failure that could lead to the abrupt ending of a therapy. Taking exception to the concept of "compassion fatigue," Doris Brothers will suggest that we are also more likely to experience burnout when we have failed to measure up to our own standards, or have failed in the eyes of a patient. She presents a clinical example involving a rupture when she injured a patient with a dismissive shrug. The therapist's personal history and emotional state in that moment was inherent in this act of rejection, and her efforts to repair the relationship will be explained.
15.30   Tea
15.45   Dr Mario Marrone

Can we avoid harming? Thoughts on technique
We will consider if unintended therapeutic errors, such as intrusive interpretations, can more easily be avoided if we consciously develop a new therapeutic paradigm. This presentation will propose that contributions from attachment research and clinical experience create a new picture of what factors may play the most significant role in promoting positive change. Bowlby emphasised the importance of eliciting and exploring internal working models of self and other together with their associated emotions. Peter Fonagy and Mary Target underline the process of promoting what they call mentalization. More recently, the Boston Change Process Study Group has focused on implicit relational knowing (this is the non-conscious world of relational expectancies, based on earlier interactive experiences that are not consciously represented in words or images). Could a better theoretical framework lead to less inadvertent harm?
17.00   End

Full-time students: £65
Self-funded: £130
Organisationally-funded: £200
CPD Hours

Certificates of Attendance for 7 hours will be provided at the event

Grange Fitzrovia Conference Suite
Bolsover Street

Registration: 09.30
Start: 10.00
End: 17.00