Avant Take: If you have ever worked with a client diagnosed with BPD (all of us, right?), you know the struggle is real – for both of you! The complicated attachment dynamics involved in BPD mean it’s easy to find yourself in a messy, ethically–gray space in the blink of an eye with no idea how you got there and certainly no clear way to get out (even for the best clinicians). Losing your clinical perspective and emotional composure doesn’t have to be a part of the intense process of working with clients with BPD. Don’t miss this workshop if you want to find a better balance between keeping a compassionate connection with the client while setting boundaries. Oh, and did we mention Dr. Jung has the clinical depth that we can only dream of?!
Yudit Jung, PhD, LCSW
Yudit Jung, PhD, LCSW, is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute (EUPI) and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University.
She is a Contemporary Relational Psychoanalyst and has extensive knowledge of attachment theory and developmental psychology. For over three decades, Dr. Jung has been working psychodynamically and relationally with patients who have self-regulatory deficits based on relational trauma and chronically dysfunctional attachments.
Dr. Jung teaches at Emory and in the community-at-large on a broad variety of topics. Most recently, in June of 2019 she co-organized an EUPI Symposium, which was co-sponsored by the Emory University Department of Psychiatry, on “Addiction, Attachment, and the Self.” She presented her workshop with the same title there. Dr. Jung also taught a course at the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute on trauma and how it shows in patients with a personality disorder. Whether she teaches on trauma or on relational psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, or even the effects of meditation, Dr. Jung’s approach to treatment is grounded in the current research about how dysfunctional attachment patterns reflect in Personality Disorders and inhibit the formation of a solid sense of self.
Ethical Conundrums with Borderline Patients
We often struggle with our Borderline patients’ love-hate states and the bonding-ruptures during intense treatment moments. Research data show that more than 90% of Borderline patients have insecure attachment styles and unresolved social trauma. Our patients tend to lose perspective when emotions get conflicted and then “spit out”, i.e. project, these unbearable emotional states onto us and/or take to impulsive actions. In our patients’ minds, we often become the representation of parental abuse and neglect. This leads to particular challenges to our own emotional composure.
The ability to maintain a balanced notion of oneself is an outcome of early social biofeedback, and in the first part of this workshop, we will explore the core attachment dynamics that lead to successful mentalization and emotional self-regulation.
As we all carry our emotional baggage into therapy and repeat how the social biofeedback from our families formed us, we tend to get into the same familiar power plays and emotional abuse we grew up with. That is just as true for our patients as it is for us, and when we get trapped in transference struggles, we tend to leave our therapeutic neutrality in favor of unethical power plays or unethical actions towards the patient. It can show as deliberately and revengefully withholding a compassionate response to a patient who puts us down, or we can take to physical closeness as a misguided attempt at bonding. We will take a look at how therapists can cross the fine line between helping and hurting a patient, from sticking to patient-focused, verbal explorations to acting out.
In the second part of our workshop we will focus on common treatment conundrums with Borderline patients. We will use material from three published or fictional cases that capture unethical boundary violations, but we also welcome you to bring your own treatment experiences to our discussion.
- Name the basic principles of Attachment Theory and understand the role of a parent for a child’s capacity for Mentalization and future Self-Regulation.
- Identify insecure Attachment styles and discuss Borderline patients’ key difficulties with separation, affect-hunger, idealization, destructive rage, and interpersonal boundaries.
- Understand revengeful, unethical boundary-violations during therapy, when our patients are going through intense affect storms, in particular when the practical rules of treatment, such as absences, fee, phone calls, etc. are being discussed.
- Gain awareness of appropriate and professional use of compassion and the role of firm and harm-preventing boundaries.
Continuing Education Credit – 3 Hours
- APA – Avant Training is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Avant Training maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
- GSCSW – This workshop is approved for Ethics CE hours through the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work.
- LPC, LMFT- Related hours
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