Most psychotherapy models assume that the client has an inner world, a self and the ability to relate- regardless of how inadequate or blocked those may be.

However, clinical experience has shown that we should not assume these attributes. Particularly borderline, psychotically  and psychosomatically organized clients manifest many problems in the area of mentalization and symbolization.

In this workshop we will focus on the work of Peter Fonagy and other attachment theorists to study the mentalization process which takes place during infantile life and leads to the formation of their inner world. We will also discuss clinical interventions to use with adult clients with inadequate mentalization skills, which may help them develop further those skills and deepen their inner world.

Chiron’s constellation: Loss and grief in our life

Loss is an integral part of human life, however, several people cannot get over an intimate loss. In this workshop we will analyze the experience of loss

  • As a relational trauma
  • As a narcissistic wound
  • As an existential issue

Such an analysis reveals that not everyone is able to process their loss and be in touch with their feelings, therefore realistic goals and individually tailored interventions are a necessity.

We will also reflect on whether we can “cure” or “ get over” our past wounds; this is the existential dimension of loss, poignantly depicted in the myth of Chiron.

Family unconscious: Archetypes, family secrets and a child’s ‘destiny’

In this workshop we will investigate the legacy of the family to its offspring. Not only talents but also traumas, secrets and unresolved conflicts passed down from one generation to the next.

These unresolved issues play a significant role in the formation of current family relations and the « destiny» of each individual family member.

Specifically we will examine:

  •   The archetypes emerging from the father and mother imagos
  •   The archetype of the black sheep and the scapegoat
  •   Incestuous themes in the family
  •   Motifs regarding jealousy, envy and death wishes aimed at the child
  •   Ways to deal with unresolved issues in our own family

Several clinical vignettes will  be presented and you can bring your own cases for discussion.

Dealing with borderline pathology

The aim of this seminar is to introduce students to the particular challenges posed by clients with borderline personality structure and to provide information about expressive psychotherapy, a therapeutic approach developed for borderline clients by Otto Kernberg and the mentalization approach developed by Fonagy. Case material , both written and in role-playing, will presented to illustrate the points made at the seminar. Participants are welcome to present their own cases as well.

When therapy fails

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we occasionally fail our clients. We either get into a rut or the client, under the pretext of lack of money or time, leaves therapy prematurely.
In this workshop, we will examine the conditions indicating early in therapy that things may falter later on. Then we will see in actual clinical cases the impact of certain issues that are common in almost every treatment:

Self disclosure of the therapist
Client’s idealization of the therapist
The masochism of the therapist

Participants are welcome to bring their own cases for discussion.



Short term psychodynamic therapy

In this seminar we will explore Malan’s model of short term psychodynamic therapy. We will discuss the selection criteria and the clinical problems which are more suitable for this type of intervention. Valuable qualities of this perspective include the careful diagnosis; focus on a single aim; and the intensive working through of client’s issues in the transference relationship.