Continuing Education for Psychologists
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Most therapists recognize the power of the past as it is revealed in the way partners respond to each other. The therapist can be baffled by emotionally intense reactions that seem way out of proportion to the moment. Repeated conflict themes also suggest that the ways partners interpret each other’s behavior can only be understood by exploring their individual lived experience. This seminar presents an overview of an object relations approach to working with couples, and describes dynamics that are unique to this clinical approach. You will understand how unfinished business from the past and each partner’s relational past can unfold in patterns and postures that work against intimacy. You will also be able to understand how extreme emotional reactions and black & white thinking create instability and specific relationship problems. The seminar will explain a range of techniques that can help couples acquire new ways of responding to each other and strengthening intimacy. You will also understand how the therapist’s intuition and reaction to partners is an important source of information that allows insight into the core themes and facilitates the partners ability to heal past wounds while forging deeper intimacy.
High rates of adolescent depression and suicide present as a major international public health problem. Suicidal adolescents are often a daunting population for clinicians to work with given their high-risk. Of the few effective treatments for this population, many are often multi-modal involving individual and group therapy, medication, etc. An empirically supported family therapy for adolescents struggling with depression and suicide that requires only weekly sessions and which can be conducted on an outpatient, home-based, or inpatient basis is Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT). ABFT emerges from interpersonal theories suggesting adolescent depression and suicide can be precipitated, exacerbated, or buffered against by the quality of interpersonal family relationships. It is a trust-based, emotion-focused psychotherapy model aiming to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild an emotionally protective, secure-based, parent-child relationship. The therapy is trauma-focused while also being brief and structured. Treatment is characterized by five treatment tasks: a) reframing the therapy to focus on interpersonal development, b) building alliance with the adolescent, c) building alliance with the parents, d) facilitation conversations to resolve attachment ruptures and e) promoting autonomy in the adolescent.
In this workshop, Dr Levy will use lecture and case studies to provide an overview of the theoretical principles, research support, and clinical strategies for ABFT. Dr. Levy will review how attachment theory,emotional regulation, and trauma resolution inform the delivery of this treatment approach. She will review the goals and structure of the five treatment tasks that provide a roadmap for delivering this interpersonally focused psychotherapy effectively and rapidly in community mental health.
Therapy with adults or couples with children frequently presents opportunities to help parents understand and improve parent-child dynamics. Parenting reveals implicit and unconscious expectations about raising children that are often culturally determined, and based on each parent’s own childhood experiences. This seminar draws on theories from systems, object relations and the parenting literature to show how unconscious factors get played out in the parent-child relationship. Therapists can help parents identify ways that their own childhood experiences, and aspects of the marital
relationship, are played out in the parenting process. Through presentation of theory, and case examples, participants will be able to understand how to raise and explore parenting dynamics in the therapy session, and help parents find new ways of relating to their children and each other. This is particularly import in work with highly conflicted couples, even those who have divorced but have difficulty co-parenting.
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