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CPD Credits
Event Type
Live Online Event
Zoom & Recording for 365 days
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Book Tickets
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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Psychoanalytic Treatment of Psychosis

From breakdown to breakthrough

With Danielle Knafo & Michael Selzer (Discussant)

Psychoanalytic treatment of psychosis is rarely taught in trainings, and unfortunately a lack of preparedness results in avoidance of such work. Our speakers Dr. Knafo and Dr. Selzer will bring both theoretical understandings, clinical technique and case material in order that psychotherapists may feel more confident to engage with this challenging work.

Our speakers conceptualise psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, as a person’s attempt to cope under highly stressful, traumatic or isolating circumstances. They emphasise the importance of therapists reading and responding to unconscious messages embedded within the symptoms. In this work there is an emphasis on the importance of collaborating with and utilising non-psychotic self-parts to aid recovery and the importance of containing strong transference and counter transference experiences.

In the first session of the seminar Dr Knafo will introduce a psychoanalytic approach to working with psychosis. The theoretical talk will be followed by a case presentation. Dr Knafo will present the case to which Dr. Selzer will respond. The two speakers will engage in a dialogue regarding the benefits and disadvantages of allowing regression in an outpatient treatment, and more.

There will be time for discussion with attendees in both parts of the seminar. The aim of the seminar is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the roots of psychotic illness and the possibilities in working psychoanalytically with this patient group. 


14.00 (UK) Introductions
14.05 Working with patients affected by psychosis

Knafo will delineate the major tenets of psychodynamic therapeutic work with psychosis: providing safety; forging a working alliance by meeting the patient where they are and allotting them maximum personal agency; understanding psychotic symptoms as attempts at adaptation and restoration of the self; coping with loneliness in patient and analyst as well as working with the transference and countertransference. We focus on strengths as well as weaknesses; view the patient as a whole person rather than a collection of symptoms; and prioritize subjective experience and affect. In sum, we focus on the patient as a true collaborator in their own treatment. A discussion with Selzer and attendees will follow.

15.00 Discussion with Michael Selzer with Q&A
15.30 Break
15.45 Case Presentation 

Dr. Knafo will present a case to Dr. Selzer of a man who experienced three psychotic episodes and one major depression for discussion and supervision. This case will illustrate several points: outpatient treatment with psychosis is possible; regression in the treatment of psychosis can lead to breakthroughs; intense transference and countertransference analysis can hold the key to technical concerns. Discussion with attendees and both speakers will follow.

16.30 Group Discussion with both speakers
17.00 End