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Transforming Resistance: Working with the Challenges of Defense and Anxiety to Promote Rapid Therapeutic Change

June 6 @ 8:30 AM - June 7 @ 4:30 PM

$250 – $425

Ironically, many clients interfere with the very progress they seek either through their own resistance to the psychotherapy process or because their anxiety is too high and there is too much dysregulation to use the process effectively. Not infrequently, they terminate prematurely before reaching their goals. This results in tragic consequences for the client, as well as frustration and a sense of failure for the therapist. While clients enter treatment with conscious motivation, resistance is unconscious and, therefore, difficult to address without a coherent system. Therapists typically interpret resistance in a personal way becoming confused, frustrated, and hopeless, with a tendency to hold the client responsible and label him/her as “unmotivated or resistant”. Participants will learn to move beyond resistance and simple symptom management into deep, transformational processes that releases resources of health and resilience. Learn to accelerate treatment using innovative techniques that implore clients to abandon chronic coping patterns that were once necessary but have long outlived their usefulness and are now causing untoward suffering.

Therapists offer the promise of help often based on the presumption that the client will arrive with sufficient initial motivation, openness and willingness to face painful realities. Frequently this is not the case. Clinicians are rarely adequately prepared to address resistance directly and therapeutically, making it difficult to help more challenging clients. Defenses can be seen as “a problem,” rather than an inevitable part of the process; defense restructuring can mistakenly be understood as an adversarial task, that we then avoid, rather than a compassionate and collaborative venture.

Therapists of all orientations and levels of experience will gain a clear understanding of the nature and function of defenses, and ways to transform them therapeutically so clients can align with the healthy, buried and previously inaccessible internal resources, as well as effective ways to regulate anxiety when it is too high. The principles taught can be readily integrated with your existing orientation and skill set. By adopting an active, focused, precise, experiential, attachment-based and emotionally engaged stance, therapists can create the safety and attunement necessary for patients to risk abandoning their resistance and shift to healthier functioning. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the healing process for clients, but also to help clinicians practice in a way that substantially reduces counter transference, is deeply rewarding, effective, and authentic, fully compatible with your personal and professional history.

Learning Objectives:
• Construct reliable, internal clinical maps that will guide assessment of the patient (theory)
• Utilize clinical maps to guide therapist interventions to meet patient’s needs in the moment (moment to moment tracking)
• Demonstrate understanding of different presentations: defense/ resistance vs anxiety/ dysregulation. (theory & assessment)
• Demonstrate the ability to respond therapeutically with different clinical skill sets based on the patient’s presentation: defense/ resistance vs anxiety/ dysregulation. (technique)
• Integrate defense work as an inevitable part of the process in a manner that is compassionate and collaborative. (defense restructuring)
• Develop a clear understanding of the nature, cost and function of defenses (defense clarification).
• Establish effective ways to help patients abandon defenses and practice the healthy alternative (defense relinquishing).
• Develop a clear understanding of anxiety mechanisms and pathways (theory)
• Establish effective ways to help patients regulate anxiety (anxiety regulation)
• Improve ability to deepen authentic experience to establish a strong working alliance, gain access to healthy underlying resources and uncover internal emotional conflicts and memories (alliance building & affect facilitation)
• Learn effective ways to transition from simply managing resistance and symptoms into a deep & transformational process that promotes optimal healing (technique)
• Develop an active, focused, precise, experiential, attachment-based and emotionally engaged stance (professional development & technique)

Meet the Presenter:
Steve Shapiro, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who maintains a full-time private practice in suburban Philadelphia and has over twenty years clinical and teaching experience. He has been practicing various forms of Experiential Dynamic Therapy (EDT), such as Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), since the mid-1990’s. He is a Senior Faculty and founding member of the AEDP Institute.

Dr. Shapiro conducts lectures, workshops and ongoing training internationally. His presentations are often commended for translating complex clinical theory into clear, precise, and practical techniques which are easily understandable and readily applied immediately in clinical settings by therapists of all orientations.

For 16 years, Dr. Shapiro was the Director of Psychology and Education at Montgomery County Emergency Service (MCES), an emergency psychiatric hospital, where he worked with a range of severe disorders and those committed involuntarily to treatment. This intensive experience has helped inform Dr. Shapiro’s specializations and approach to transforming resistance with those who are considered challenging due to a history of trauma, a high degree of resistance, or excessive anxiety and dysregulation.

• $250 for students/associates
• $375 Early Bird (ends May 6, 2020)
• $425 (after May 6, 2020)
• $300 for one day pricing

CE HOURS AVAILABLE! 1 Day at 6 CEs, 2 Day at 12 CEs


June 6 @ 8:30 AM
June 7 @ 4:30 PM
$250 – $425


ISTDP San Diego Community



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