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Vicarious Traumatization: A Necessary Therapeutic Tool

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St Large Conference Room
Stockbridge 01262
February 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Friday Night Guest Lecture

Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D. is a member of the teaching faculty at NYU's Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  She was previously on the teaching and supervisory faculty at the Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she taught the Dynamic Psychotherapies course for over ten years.  She specializes in treating survivors of catastrophes, and has written and taught about the psychodynamic causes and consequences of adult onset trauma.  She is involved in the Far Fund Project, a New Orleans based program that explores Hurricane Katrina's effects on the therapeutic community.  Among her publications is Wounded by Reality: Understanding and Treating Adult Onset Trauma (NJ, The Analytic Press). Other publications include The Continuing and Unfinished Present: Psychoanalysis and Oral History in Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis, Edited by Mark Cave and Stephen Sloan, N.Y. Oxford University Press (forthcoming April 2014); Fearful Symmetry: Shared Trauma in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 2013, 23:31-44; Psychoanalytic Witnessing: Professional Obligation or Moral Imperative. Psychoanalytic Psychology 2012, #29: 318-324; Plea for a Measure of Imagination: Response to Harvey Peskin’s ‘Man is a Wolf to Man’: Disorders of Dehumanization in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2012, #22: 206-210.

Trauma is contagious; its powerful affect and frequently unformulated memories can be transmitted -- often mysteriously and largely non verbally -- within families, across generations, and from patient to clinician. In this lecture, I propose a way of understanding how vicarious traumatization occurs. Despite its often powerful and disorienting impact, in psychodynamic treatment working through the vicarious traumatization, in the treatment setting itself, is essential to helping the survivor of a massive psychic trauma recognize and come to terms with the experience. Case material will be used to demonstrate those situations in which vicarious traumatization can be addressed in treatment and those in which other means must be found.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES - At the conclusion of the event the participants will be able to:
1. Explain the concept of vicarious traumatization.
2. Summarize how it can be used in psychodynamic treatment.
3. Differentiate those situations in which vicarious traumatization is a necessary therapeutic tool and those in which it must be addressed in other ways.

This presentation is designed for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers, with no regular registration fee.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS AUTHORIZED:  2.0  (M.D., Ph.D., Social Work)

No registration required. For more information contact Alicia Zaludova at 413-931-5230.

Duration: 
2 hours
Intended Audience: 
Clinician

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