45th ATPPP Scientific Session

45th ATPPP Scientific Session

The Perils of Healing: Vicarious Traumatization and the Analytic Therapist

Presenter: Karen W. Saakvitne, PhD

Discussant: Clare Pain, MD, MSc., FRCPC, DSc (Hons)

Saturday, October 22, 2016: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Cost: $90

Open to all by registration. Preregistration is required.

Psychotherapy with survivors of childhood trauma challenges analytic clinicians in some specific and unique ways. One of these challenges stems from vicarious traumatization (VT), the negative transformation in a helper’s inner experience as a result of empathic engagement with and responsibility for or commitment to help traumatized clients (Saakvitne et al, 1996). As therapists, we are affected by vicarious traumatization in the same realms as clients are affected by direct traumatization, although not to the same degree of intensity (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995). VT damages hope and optimism which are essential gifts we bring to the work. Working to ameliorate vicarious traumatization involves three approaches: self-awareness and protection, addressing the signs of VT, and transforming the pain of VT. The transformation of vicarious traumatization is most important and is rooted in meaning-making and community building.

Given the complexities of therapeutic relationships with survivors of interpersonal trauma, the therapist’s capacity to track his or her own experience, including vicarious traumatization, is critical – and always imperfect. Ultimately therapists must pay attention, individually and collectively, to what allows us to maintain our hope and resilience. We must then cultivate that which allows us consistently to offer sturdy, compassionate, and sustainable therapeutic relationships to our traumatized clients.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the meeting participants will be able to:

  1. Participants will be able to recognize four behavioral and/or experiential signs of vicarious traumatization.
  2. Participants will be able to list three general approaches to managing vicarious traumatization.
  3. Participants will be able to identify personal strategies for transforming vicarious traumatization in their own practice
ATPPP Scientific Committee

Marco Posadas, MSW, RSW Chair
Doron Almagor, MD, FRCP
Claire Lunney, MD, CCFP


Karen W. Saakvitne, PhD

Dr. Kay Saakvitne (Sock-quit-knee) is a clinical psychologist and former clinical director of the Traumatic Stress Institute in South Windsor CT where, with Laurie Anne Pearlman, she wrote the two original books on Vicarious Traumatization (Trauma and the Therapist, and Transforming the Pain). She is the lead author of Risking Connection, a training curriculum for working with survivors of childhood trauma, and author of a handbook for survivor parents. She has taught hundreds of workshops and trainings to mental health professionals and offered clinical consultation for over 25 years. She has received awards for distinguished contribution to the practice of trauma psychology from the Connecticut Psychological Association and the Division of Trauma Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She is currently in the private practice of psychotherapy and clinical consultation in Northampton, MA and in the faculty for the doctoral program at Smith College School of Social Work.

Clare Pain MD, MSc., FRCPC., D.Sc (Hons)

Clare Pain MD, MSc., FRCPC., D.Sc (Hons), is an Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Director of the Psychological Trauma Program, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. In July 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Addis Ababa University for her work to assist the development of psychiatry in Ethiopia.

She consults at the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture, Toronto, and is the Director of the Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP) and project co-lead of the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC) www.taaac.ca under which there are currently 22 educational partnerships between the University of Toronto and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. TAAAC partners to strengthen capacity and sustainability in post graduate training at AAU.

Her clinical focus is on the assessment and treatment of patients, including refugees, who continue to suffer from the effects of psychological trauma. She has lectured and taught on various aspects of psychological trauma including trans-cultural issues and increasingly on global mental health. She has published a number of articles and two books: Trauma and the Body: a Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy with Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton Norton 2006 and The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic an edited book with Eric Vermetten and Ruth Lanius, Cambridge University Press 2010.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits are available. This event is an accredited group learning activity (section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certificate Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, approved by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA). The specific opinions and content of this event are not necessarily those of the CPA, and are the responsibility of the organizer(s) alone. As per the Royal College standard, each presentation provides a minimum of 25% interactive learning.

Full-time students in universities and colleges, and mental-health trainees are eligible for a 25% reduction in course fees. Proof of 2016/2017 status needs to be provided. Please contact the tps&i directly to register at a discount.

Refunds must be requested in writing two weeks prior to the beginning of a course. A handling fee of $30 will be retained. After these two weeks, fees cannot be returned.

For more information about and for registration in the tps&i Extension Programs, Scientific Meetings, Training Programs, Study and Supervision groups and Special Presentations, please visit our website: torontopsychoanalysis.com or email info@torontopsychoanalysis.com