Confer Facebook LinkConfer Twitter Link
Your basket TEL: 0207 5357595
Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

Self-Harming Clients in Psychotherapy

With Anna Motz, Jack Nathan and Dr Maggie Turp

Saturday 6 April 2019 - London

09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Anna Motz

Speaking with the Skin
Self-harm often arises at moments of despair or emotional intensity, and its reasons are not necessarily available to the conscious mind. This talk explores the meaning and impact of self-harm, and the sense in which it is a language of the body. It explores its causes, meaning and treatment and uses illustrative clinical material to demonstrate the sense in which self-harm can be a way to preserve life rather than to end it. I focus particularly on the way that young girls and women use self-harm as a hopeful and communicative gesture and how it reveals their relationship with their mothers, as represented in their own bodies.
11.00   Dr Maggie Turp

Self-Harm and Self-Care: affect regulation and the psychic skin boundary
The "psychic skin" theoretical framework, dating back to work by Esther Bick and others at the Tavistock Clinic in the 1960s and 1970s, has been complemented by more recent neuroscience understandings of the centrality of self-regulation to our functioning and wellbeing. Taken together, these frameworks offer a meaningful lens through which to view different kinds of self-harming behaviour, ranging from active self-injury to self-neglect to "self-harm by proxy", where one puts oneself in the way of harm. When self-harm is considered in terms of damage to the psychic skin boundary, various skin defences - toughening, porosity, adhesiveness and insulation - come into view. An understanding of these operation and survival function of these defences in turn offers a guide to potentially helpful clinical interventions.
12.00   Coffee
12.30   Jack Nathan

The use of benign authority and transference-focused psychotherapy in work with the borderline self-harming patient
This presentation will focus on self-harming patients who have a borderline personality disorder. We will consider the way in which self-harm offers a psychologically logical (if not, rational) alternative to patients who would otherwise be confronted by unbearable horrors that would unleash both suicidal and/or homicidal forces and also act as defensive enactments of the sado-masochistic dynamic that lies at the heart of their profoundly disturbed object relationships. Because these dynamics inevitably get played out in therapy, Jack will also explore the way practitioners can get "lassoed" into powerful, unconscious and reactive countertransference responses that can "topple" the often hapless practitioner from their position as an effective therapist. The "live" sadomasochistic relationship requires the therapist to do the work of repositioning herself once more in their therapeutic role. Jack will explain how his model of "benign authority" can support the practitioner in regaining their therapeutic stance through "maternal" attunement to the patient's experience, whilst also setting limits that confront the patient's self-harming enactments.
13.30   Lunch
14:30 - 16:30   Workshops

(Select one and book during registration on a first-come first-served basis)

Workshop 1:
Jack Nathan
In this workshop, Jack will offer role-play and live supervision to participants working with self-harming patients. The workshop will help practitioners explore the way often intense countertransference reactions, usually taking a sadomasochistic alignment, can overwhelm the patient-therapist matrix. As well as using "benign authority" to demonstrate how the therapist can recapture their functioning as an effective practitioner, Jack will also introduce the use of supportive techniques based on Kernberg's Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP).

Workshop 2:
Maggie Turp
The many faces of self-harm: recognising and working with different manifestations of self-harming tendencies
The workshop will follow on from the morning presentation. We will consider clinical examples of different kinds of self-harm, the operation of skin boundary defences and the dilemmas and possibilities that arise in the consulting room. Participants are invited to bring their own experience with self-harming patients for discussion in the group.

Workshop 3:
Anna Motz
In the workshop Anna will invite delegates to work together, sharing anonymised clinical cases involving self-harming clients to formulate and understand the function, meaning and therapeutic interventions indicated by these situations. She will also outline two treatment approaches to working with people who self-harm: psychotherapeutic work and mentalization based treatment.

16.30   Tea and plenary
17.00   End

Click here to book
You will be taken to a secure web server where your payment will be processed.
Please read our booking conditions before making your booking
Consolation by Edvard Munch

Handouts and lunch included
Self-funded: £120
Self-funded x 2: £200
Organisationally-funded: £200
Under 25's: £70

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

8 All Saints Street
N1 9RL

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
12:00 Coffee
13:30 Lunch
17:00 End