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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

Self-Harming Clients in Psychotherapy

With Anna Motz, Jack Nathan and Dr Maggie Turp

Saturday 6 April 2019 - London

This one-day workshop is designed to support psychotherapists in their work with clients or patients who are on the self-harming spectrum, from minor self-injury to suicide. Our panel will elaborate how we can identify self-harming behaviours, the aetiology of self-harm and how to work with those who are actively self-harming during their therapeutic treatment. Ideas and clinical theory will be offered in lecture format as well as via workshops in which to hone clinical skills.

Motivations for self-harm are complex. This seminar will consider its roots in infantile experience of the self and other, the work of Esther Bick and ideas related to "psychic skin" and "skin-ego". The seminar will give attendees an opportunity to consider a client's history in the context of early object relations, as well as their use of infantile defence mechanisms in adulthood; to be better able to make sense of the need to self-injure and the relief from underlying relational vulnerabilities that self-harming appears to offer. Self-harming can be linked with the "borderline" characteristics of becoming highly dysregulated in close relationships, as well as a flight from painful moods such as depression and anxiety. It can also coincide with substance abuse, eating problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis - in other words with all the profound affect regulation difficulties to which it may offer a distorted and highly problematic "solution".

Working with this client group can be challenging. Our speakers will talk about the transference and possible projections onto the therapist, and how our countertransference responses can be overwhelming in the relational field. The importance of the therapist remaining within therapeutic boundaries, types of intervention and ongoing therapeutic goals will all be considered.


Anna Motz
Anna Motz is a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist working for the Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service, Oxford and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She supervises teams in Avon, Devon, Cornwall and Wales for the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in MBT ASPD (Mentalization Based Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder: men at high risk for violence), led by Dr Jessica Yakeley and Professor Anthony Bateman... More >>

Jack Nathan
Jack Nathan is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and Consultant Adult Psychotherapist at the Maudsley Hospital Psychotherapy and Self-Harm Out-Patients Service. He is particularly interested in how to work with this patient group - which was once openly referred to as 'the patients psychiatrists dislike' - what countertransference difficulties they arouse and the meaning attached to their self-destructive behaviours. He is author of numerous papers as well as the book Self-harm: a strategy for survival and nodal point of change (2006) and co-authored with Dr. Duncan Mclean, Treatment of Personality: Limit Setting and the use of Benign Authority (2007)... More >>

Dr Maggie Turp
Dr Maggie Turp is a psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice. She is a visiting lecturer at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and an independent trainer, offering talks and workshops on the effects of trauma on self-narrative, the physical expression of psychological distress and the psychology of climate change. She is an active member of the Climate Psychology Alliance, Kensal-Kilburn Transition Town and the Confer Advisory Board... More >>


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Consolation by Edvard Munch

Handouts and lunch included
Self-funded: £120
Self-funded x 2: £200
Organisationally-funded: £200
Under 25's: £70

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

8 All Saints Street
N1 9RL

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
12:00 Coffee
13:30 Lunch
17:00 End