Constance Dalenberg, PhD "Countertransference and Transference Crises in Working with Traumatized Clients"

  • 02 Apr 2016
  • 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library (National Heritage Museum) Lexington, MA


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Members may attend this meeting for FREE and pre-purchase 3.0 Continuing Education unit for $25.
  • Non-members who are employed full-time with an agency or are retired may attend at this reduced rate.
  • Non-members who are full-time students leading toward a degree may attend at this reduced rate.
  • Non Member Registration Fee.


Wachtel (1982) once wrote that psychotherapy is no profession for any person who likes certainty, predictability or a fairly constant sense that one knows what one is doing.  Traumatized patients are over-represented among those patients who will love you intensely, those who will hate you intensely, those who will want to stay forever and those who will terminate precipitously.  Using the data from the San Diego Countertransference Study, together with supplemental studies conducted by myself and my graduate students, I will discuss in this talk the central themes in the psychotherapy crises seen most often in traumatized patients, and the subcategory of crises seen most often in dissociative patients.  With each of three common crises, we will try together to derive some lessons from patient descriptions of therapists who handled the crisis well (at least according to this patient in retrospect) and those who handled the crisis less well.  We will also discuss why these particular crises arise, and how they might be pre-emptively addressed in psychotherapy with volatile clients.  Informing these strategies is the research and clinical literature on attachment theory, mentalization, mindfulness, and acceptance/self-compassion.

Dalenberg Event Flyer.pdf


Dr. Dalenberg is Distinguished Professor at the Alliant International University, and directs the Trauma Research Institute.  In well over two hundred national and international lectures and peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Dalenberg has focused on both the consequences of trauma for the survivor and the challenges faced by the professional in dealing with these consequences.  Her book, Countertransference and the Treatment of Trauma, was published by the APA in 2000.  She has since been elected as President of Division 56 of the APA (Trauma Psychology), and associate editor of the APA’s journal, Trauma Psychology.  She also has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Traumatic Stress, Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, Child Maltreatment, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse and Psychological Trauma.  Her work has been honored with the William Friedrich Award for Child Sexual Abuse Research, Assessment and Treatment in 2006, the Morton Prince Award for Scientific Achievement in 2010, and the Pierre Janet Writing Award in 2012.  In addition to her research, she directs a small clinical/forensic practice in La Jolla, and works with writers on mastering vivid descriptions of the psychology of their protagonists.





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