31st Annual Forum Conference - "REFOCUSED"
Morning presentations explore the theme of what gets left out of our clinical attention and awareness from a variety of perspectives. In the afternoon, we are pleased to present a plenary with Elana Kupor, MA, LMHC and Anthony Pennant, Jr., MA, LMFT titled "Seeing's Believing, but Feeling's the Truth".
SCHEDULE: 8:50 - 3:30 pm
8:50 am: Welcome
9:00 - 10:30: Session One
10:45 - 12:15 pm: Session Two
12:15 - 12:45 pm: Lunch Break
12:45 - 1:15 pm: NWAPS Annual Meeting and President's Message
1:20: Introductions for Plenary
1:30 - 3:30: Plenary
First Sessions: 9 am - 10:30 am
Presenters: Sally Bjorklund, MA, LMHC and Carolyn Carlson, MA, LMHC - "Focus on Gender: Blurry Lines and Exploding Categories”
Carolyn Carlson describes her work with families of gender variant kids, including a case she followed from childhood into late adolescence, as the child’s gendered experience evolved. Sally Bjorklund explores non-binary as an identity category and, among other questions, wonders if it’s possible to escape the gender binary.
Presenter: Brian Pendergast, MA, LMHC - “Blurring the Lines: An Exploration of Non-Analytic States of Mind in Analytic Relationships"
Brian Pendergast's paper looks into analytic work in an evidence-based (and simultaneously postmodern) world; it will explore facets of the analyst's own trauma states that can create some of the rigidity commonly associated with cognitive therapy approaches, and addresses the usefulness of such self states in clinical interaction.
Presenter: Samantha Good, MSW, LICSW - “They Say Goldfish Have No Memory: Learning to Swim with an Autistic and Traumatized Patient”
Samantha Good's case presentation explores the struggle to build a relationship with a patient whose infantile trauma and autistic defenses left her in an unrelated and concrete state of mind. Drawing on her experience in infant observation as well as psychoanalytic theories of autism, Samantha will describe her attempts to understand and connect to this challenging patient.
Author: Enika Cocoli Bowen, PhD - “Faith as Blindness that Sees: Brief Exploration on Bion’s Transformation of Listening”
A reflection on the nature of faith as life experience in psychoanalysis and art, made possible by the author’s experience of observing Rembrandt’s last two masterpieces: The Return of the Prodigal Son and Simeon in the Temple (unfinished).
Second Sessions: 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Presenter: Joseph Hovey, LCSW - “Exploring Together: Getting Clearer through Group Experience”
This interactive presentation invites participants to join in a group process to explore their here-and-now experience. Following a brief introduction to group theory, members will take part in an experiential process group with a goal of seeing what we learn when we get our experience and our communication into clearer focus.
Presenters: Melissa Meade, PhD. and Michael Allison, MA, LMHC - “Come to Me: Online Embodiment in a Global Pandemic”
This panel investigates online communication from multidisciplinary psychoanalytic perspectives and in the context of a global pandemic. We draw from our clinical and professional experience, as well as psychoanalytic media and film theory and Frame Theory, to explore subjectivity and embodiment in our online digital frames.
Presenter: Carol Poole, MA, LMHC - “Whose Burden? Notes on Historical Trauma and Personal Memory”
European-American therapists need to recognize their (unconscious) participation in white supremacy, a collective pathology which impacts clinical work. This presentation explores psychoanalytic thinking on racism, trauma, and narcissism, illustrated by literature and the presenter’s personal family history, before inviting thoughtful conversation about clinical applications.
Presenters: Judy Eekhoff and Connie Sais, MA, LMHC - “Focus Without Action: Links Between Infant Observation and Psychotherapy”
A clinician and discussant explore infant observation and its essential component of focus without action as a way to receive and understand the baby's external and internal worlds. They will demonstrate how this silent reception and interpretation is just as important in the therapist-patient relationship.
Lunch and Business Meeting: 12:45 pm - 1:15 pm
Announcements and Introductions by Susan Nelson, Alliance President: 1:20 pm - 1:30 pm
Plenary: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
"Seeing's Believing, but Feeling's the Truth"As this often misquoted saying by 17th century physician Thomas Fuller suggests, we can be misguided by what we see and don't see. The Forum 2020 plenary will include two papers and a discussion that will focus on how our unmet needs and defenses obscure our perceptions. We will explore how we can work with the implicit biases that we all carry, in order to reach a fuller understanding of our human condition.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts: Reflections that Bring Unconscious Thoughts to the Surface"
Anthony Pennant Jr, MA, LMFT
As therapists, we painstakingly take the time to unearth unmet needs in our clients, and help them to make meaning of what they need to move forward. We help our clients to bring more clarity to areas of their lives that are clouded with uncertainty and which often negatively impact their interpersonal relationships. However, we as therapists often forget to engage in this needed reflection ourselves. What happens when we neglect to pay attention to what we are feeling or embodying in our experiences? What happens when this same darkness clouds our ability to see and hear things with our clients, such as disabilities both visible and invisible? This presentation will explore ways in which our own defenses color implicit bias in the care of our clients and ourselves.