About the Alliance

Thomas Saunders, MSW, LICSW

Thomas Saunders, MSW, LICSW, brings 45 years of experience to his consultation, teaching and psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice. He has a particular interest in how the mother-infant bond affects the emotional life of the baby—and later, the child and adult—and has taught dozens of post-graduate classes and infant observation classes for mental health clinicians. Tom works with children and adults in his private practice in Mill Creek.

Available In-Service Topics

First Encounters: What Happens When You Meet Your Client

Beginnings matter. Clients come to us with expectations, hopes and dreads they may or may or not be aware of. These get communicated in many, often confusing, ways. Early sessions with clients are rich with undertones that we can learn to hear and use in forming a therapeutic alliance. Tom asks participants to bring in examples from their own clinical work, and he will do the same.

Coping with Primitive Emotions and Defenses

We all feel overwhelmed at times by the raw intensities clients express. It can be a challenge to hold and contain our own strong emotions. Tom will describe how to recover and offer one’s thinking mind after sitting with chaos. He will also help you decide whether it is possible to deepen the work with a particular individual, and how, and what do to if you can’t. He welcomes stories of your own sessions, as he believes in making theoretical ideas alive and relevant through actual lived examples.

Mother-Infant Attunement and Misattunement

Learn how caregivers help and hinder the development of the infant’s emotional world, and what babies need to grow into healthy children and adults. Parallels with the therapeutic relationship—with adults and children—will be discussed as well.