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Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind

nscience UK

Saturday, 11 February 2017 from 10:00 to 17:00

Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Individual Ticket for London, UK 11 Feb 2017 £125.00 £0.00
'Bring a Friend Ticket' - 2 tickets with a 5% discount 11 Feb 2017 £237.50 £0.00

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Event Details

Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind

A one-day workshop with Marcus West

London, 11 February 2017 (Saturday)

At this practical workshop, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, we aim to understand the underlying dynamics of our clients’ apparently destructive and entrenched ways of relating and affective-somatic responses; with a view to enhancing our therapeutic efficacy when working with borderline states of mind. The workshop draws on recent advances in infant development theory, attachment theory, trauma theory, relational and analytic theories to explore how early relational trauma underlies, structures and becomes embodied in the personality.

We explore:

  • the patterns associated with early relational trauma and how these emerge in the consulting room
  • how we can, as therapists, look beyond ill-adaptive behavioural patterns and unravel the complex and conflicted nature of what is being expressed
  • how we can recognize and work with the foundational, traumatic experiences of our clients
  • how we can comprehend nihilism, shame, suicidality, anxiety, regression and murderousness within the context of early relational trauma

The workshop explores how therapists can be deeply affected by, and drawn into, the dynamics related to relational trauma, and how our own personalities and attitudes play a significant role in the unfolding therapy. Specifically, we explore the kinds of conflicts that can lead to impasse and how these can be worked through by exploring and developing our own primitive reactions, while working within the frame of early relational trauma.

The workshop helps us understand:

  • The clinical reasons that have led to trauma becoming sidelined and/or lost in analytic thinking
  • The link between early relational trauma and narcissistic and borderline states of mind
  • The effect of trauma on the psyche-soma: primitive defensive responses, dissociation, the disruption of ego-functioning, and complex PTSD - from Janet, Winnicott and Fonagy to van der Kolk, Shapiro (EMDR), and Porges (Polyvagal theory)
  • The dynamics of the traumatic complex - the key to understanding and working with early relational trauma and borderline states of mind
  • Borderline conflicts and the disruption of identity and ego-functioning - reconsidering the ‘ego-destructive superego’ in the light of trauma
  • Re-construction, co-construction and re-enactment  - from Janet to intersubjectivity theory, Bromberg, and the Boston Change Process Study Group
  • Dissociation, regression and negative therapeutic reaction
  • Working with what is unbearable - re-traumatisation, idealisation and the window of tolerance
  • The fight, flight, freeze, collapse responses in relation to anxiety, shame, regression, suicidality and murderousness
  • Accompanying the client 'into the darkest places' - Tronick's dyadically expanded states of consciousness and the therapist’s journey


About the speaker

Marcus West is a Training Analyst at the Society of Analytical Psychology and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. His latest book, Into the Darkest Places - Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind, was published by Karnac in 2016. He is also the author of: Feeling, Being and the Sense of Self: A new perspective on identity, affect and narcissistic disorders (2007), and Understanding Dreams in Clinical Practice (2011). He was joint winner of the Michael Fordham Prize in 2004, has written several papers, contributed chapters to books, and taught and lectured widely in UK and abroad. Currently, Marcus works at his private practice in Sussex.

Workshop Schedule

9:45AM: Registration

10:00AM: Session 1: How early relational trauma underlies borderline and narcissistic states of mind - integrating trauma, relational and analytic theory

11:30AM: Coffee Break

11:45AM: Session 2: Understanding and working with the traumatic complex

1:00PM: Lunch Break (a light lunch is provided as part of the seminar)

1:45PM: Session 3: Clinical issues when working with unbearable experiences and borderline states of mind

3:00PM: Coffee Break

3:15PM: Session 4: Suicide, shame, annihilation, anxiety, nihilism and murderousness – in relation to trauma and our primitive responses to trauma

4:30PM: Plenary Discussion

5:00PM: Close

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When & Where

Great Hall
King’s College London
Strand Campus
London, WC2R 2LS

Saturday, 11 February 2017 from 10:00 to 17:00

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nscience UK

nscience is an independent organisation that seeks to explore the interdisciplinary richness of mental health disciplines. Through a series of seminars, workshops and conferences that are conducted throughout the year, we aim to present the latest advances in theory and research to practitioners; with a view to furthering their continuing professional development.

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Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind
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