Understanding and Working with Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind

A One-Day Workshop with Marcus West

110.00 Add to Cart

When: 27 May, 2017

Where: Wood Quay Venue, Wood Quay, Dublin 8

This practical workshop will explore how advances in our understanding of trauma, and early relational trauma in particular, throws vital light on some of the areas with which psychoanalysis has traditionally struggled – particularly in narcissistic and borderline presentations. Despite years of antipathy, psychoanalysis and trauma theory both need and complement each other.

Marcus West

The workshop, which will be especially relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists, and psychotherapy/psychology students, will assist practitioners to understand the underlying dynamics behind clients’ apparently destructive ways of relating, beliefs, and affective-somatic reactions. We will explore the primitive roots of experiences such as nihilism, despair, regression, suicidal impulses, anxiety, and murderousness. A main focus of the day will be on how the patterns associated with early relational trauma – frequently of an unbearable, conflictual or ‘impossible’ nature – emerge in the consulting room and how they can be worked with more safely and effectively. An exploration of Jung’s concept of the Complex will be central to this understanding.

A second thread for the day will be exploring the way these early relational patterns are co-constructed between therapist and client, and how and why the therapist can be deeply affected by and drawn into the dynamics. We will examine the kinds of pressures on the therapist that can lead to impasse or breakdown of the therapy, and how these can be worked through, particularly issues around idealisation, retraumatisation, the erotic transference & self-disclosure. The therapist’s personality and attitudes play a significant role in the course and outcome of the therapy, thus requiring the therapist to become more aware of their own primitive reactions and experiences within the frame of early relational trauma.

There will be an opportunity for participants to explore and discuss their own clinical material.

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The Mysterious Connexion: Projective Identification and Enactment in Process Work

A Two-Day Workshop with Dr. Heward Wilkinson

When: 1-2 July, 2017

Where: The Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain Street, Cork

180.00 Add to Cart

Dr. Heward Wilkinson has lectured extensively on Projective Identification and Enactment, developing a rich and thoroughly considered approach to these topics, from which he has prepared a special two-day experiential workshop for Symposion. The Mysterious Connexion promises to be a memorable experience from which practitioners will draw in their work for years to come.

Projective Identification – the other side of its mirror is Counter-Transference! – is a mode of communication, found far beyond process work in therapy. It is alive and well in vast human communication processes, families, groups, and collective situations. Therapy process work is a uniquely powerful mode by which to tap into it. It is not merely the raw reactiveness of either therapist or client, but more, – profound interactive communication.

Dr Heward Wilkinson

And, as, in Eliot’s phrase, the ‘tentacular roots, reaching down to the deepest terrors and desires’ – and shames – of its underneath reachings, are expressed in process and in replications, we grasp that, – not merely various forms of ‘acting-out’ or ‘acting-in’, – but all therapy process modes, mentalised and/or embodied, are a seamless shot silk tapestry of Enactment. Enactment process actually defines and underpins the therapy processes of the narrative-relational therapies. Enactment is not simply regressive or defensive, but the all-pervasive medium of the work, rising to poetic epiphany. In and upon that rich medium, Projective Identifications play out subtly at all the levels – above, below, and in-between.

Both Projective Identification and Enactment are commonly oversimplified, even shrivelled down to reductive guises. But, they are both realities, – and powerful metaphors amongst many metaphors. We’ll seek to explore them together, in this workshop, in all their richness and many-sidedness, – mainly experientially, but against a modest background of theory, – and find out how taking them in in their deeper aspects alters our clinical work.

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180.00 Add to Cart


Asymmetry of the Brain and Human Meaning

A one-day seminar with Dr. Iain McGilchrist

When: 08 December, 2017 9.30am – 4.30pm
Where: Chartered Accountants House, 47-49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

90.00 Add to Cart


Almost everything you think you know about differences between the brain hemispheres is wrong. The topic was taken over and distorted by pop psychology, and hence understandably, but nonetheless irrationally, neglected by the mainstream.   So why is the brain, an organ that exists only to make connections, divided and asymmetrical?  What does it tell us about the structure of the world we inhabit?  Why does life seem to be in the process of draining itself of meaning?  Iain McGilchrist will argue that lateralisation is now the topic in neuroscience of greatest significance for understanding the human condition.

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The Right Brain, Left Brain Divide: Its Relevance to Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychotherapy

A one-day seminar with Dr. Iain McGilchrist

When: 09 December, 2017 9.30am – 4.30pm
Where: The River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork

90.00 Add to Cart

Psychotherapy – and indeed psychiatry and psychology – find themselves squeezed by demands that are fundamentally destructive of their proper practice and ethic.  This comes from a misunderstanding of the nature of the therapeutic encounter, which is not a product but a process.

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