In the storm without a boat: Understanding and managing affect storms in session


Note: This is a 4-part masterclass series that will take place online, LIVE via Zoom. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 7pm-9pm Eastern Time (U.S.), and full, virtual attendance at all sessions is required for CE credit. One make-up date (prescheduled, listed below) will be offered in the event of a presenter or Avant cancellation during the series. Specific Zoom log-in details will be emailed to registrants the week before the series begins. For general Zoom help, visit our Online Workshop Information Page.

What is it like when our patients struggle with losing their minds?

“Psychotic states” are multifaceted mental dysfunctions that come with the terror of getting lost in confusion, delusion, and internal disorganization. When our patients go through these periods of internal break-down, we often experience the same onslaught on our minds as they do while we need to stay in the driver’s seat to be helpful.

Since Freud, who was interested in psychosis but basically did not consider it “treatable”, Psychoanalysis has gone through a paradigm shift in that respect. Today, Contemporary Psychoanalysts looks at psychic disintegration as a difficult but changeable and manageable disability, as a developmental arrest caused by a person’s bio/psycho/social growth in an adverse interpersonal field. This workshop series is an attempt to better understand the seemingly nonsensical communications our patients voice, and understand them as expressions of traumatic annihilation-experiences.

Practicing an authentic, interpersonal therapy is key to help our patients contain and integrate the shattered, disavowed core of their SELF. This treatment approach serves as an empathic bridge to the traumatic loss of psychic agency.

We will discuss published case notes together with your own treatment conundrums to find a footing when we are whirling with our patients in an emotional storm without a boat.

Session 1: September 28, 2022, 7-9pm ET

From Freud’s “Drives” to a “Theory of Mind”: How Psychoanalysts Understood Delusional States

2-Hour Lecture

Session 2: October 12, 2022, 7-9pm ET

Meaning Matters: Splintering of the Mind – Why? When? How?

1-Hour Lecture

1-Hour Discussion of Published Case Notes

Session 3: October 26, 2022, 7-9pm ET

The Debris of Trauma: Shattered Selves

1-Hour Discussion of Transference-Countertransference Experiences

1-Hour Discussion of Published Case Notes

Session 4: November 9, 2022, 7-9pm ET

Navigating the Storm Without a Boat: The Self in the Intersubjective Field

2-Hour Clinical Discussion of Treatment Issues

Save the Date! Make-Up Session for Avant/Speaker Cancellation: November 16, 2022, 7-9pm ET


Learning Objectives

  • Describe how psychoanalytic thinkers developed a theoretical and clinical approach to treating “psychotic states”.
  • Formulate the psychoanalytic paradigm shift from a focus on internal fantasies to integrating the role of the “Other” in a patient’s regressive experiences.
  • Demonstrate how overwhelming emotional experiences influence cognitive processes and lead to dissociation of thought and emotion.
  • Identify moments in therapy when patients disconnect from a “shared reality” as they express fears of mental invasion, illusions of “magic powers to colonize other people’s minds”, perceptive distortions, Superman/woman fantasies, or overwhelming erotic excitation.
  • Apply a combination of psychodynamic interpretations and CBT-clinical interventions to help patients decode the meaning of their seemingly non-sensical experiences.
  • Discuss a patient’s annihilation-anxieties during psychotic states.
  • Demonstrate how to enable the formulation of a tolerable personal narrative that is rooted in the patient’s bio/psycho/social history, including racial traumas.
  • Utilize Self-awareness, Transference- and Countertransference feelings as guidelines to validate, mirror, contain, and accept the patient’s terror of the loss of agency.
  • Demonstrate how to stay emotionally involved with the patient in a respectful, empathic, non-shaming way to keep the therapeutic bond intact.
  • Conceptualize and practice Self-care by participating in Peer-support, Clinical Consultations, and meditative techniques to maintain personal wellness during crisis-times with your patients.

Difficulty Level

For advanced practitioners. This workshop series is targeted toward those with clinical experience post-Masters, -graduate, or -residency. The content will be most applicable to therapists with complex clinical cases to draw on. Current graduate students or residents may be accepted with special permission from Avant Training and/or the instructor.

Registration and Attendance

Registration for this workshop series is a commitment to four 2-hour workshop sessions. Full CE credit is only offered for full attendance at all 4 sessions. One missed session for exceptional circumstances will be allowed pending instructor/program approval and with adjusted credit. Space is very limited and this workshop series will NOT be recorded.

Continuing Education Credit – 7.5 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 series is approved for Core CE hours through the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work. Approval #061722.
  • LPC – Avant Training has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7225. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Avant Training is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • LMFT- Related hours

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