Facing Your Fears: How to maintain therapeutic closeness when you feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your client’s fears

Feb 24 2017
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Somerset House, East wing - Strand Map Unavailable

Overall Learning Objectives:

You’ll learn how to regulate your own anxieties and defenses when working with a patient who is experiencing intense emotions like rage, sexual attraction, terror, sorrow or longing for love. You’ll learn how to cultivate compassion for yourself in those moments and to use your emotions so that you can mindfully apply interventions and make therapeutic decisions while maintaining a bond with your patient. You’ll participate in interactive exercises and practice skills to add to your therapeutic repertoire. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to respond therapeutically when you are experiencing fears or doubts when working with intense emotions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to use Malan’s Triangles when experiencing your own affect phobia in session
  • Identify the difference between a dangerous situation and your own affect phobia
  • Cultivate compassion for yourself when your feel overwhelmed in session
  • Maintain clinical focus when working with intense emotions
  • Learn how to resolve your affect phobias to anger, sexuality, grief and closeness
  • Learn why cultivating closeness is an essential skill when working with emotion

Learning Methods:

  • Video-segments of psychotherapy sessions
  • Interactive exercises
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • ATOS-Therapist Scale
  • Affect Phobia Test


  • Donovan, J., Osborn, K., Rice, S., Para verbal Communication in Psychotherapy: Beyond the Words, in print
  • Grant, A., Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives our Success, 2014
  • McCullough, L., et al., Treating Affect Phobia: A Manual for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, 2003
  • L.M., ‘Researching therapist emotions and countertransference’. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 2000; 7:322-328
  • Searls, H., Countertransference and Related Subjects: Selected Papers, University Press, 1979
  • Maroda, K., Psychodynamic Techniques: Working with Emotion in the Therapeutic Relationship: Guilford Press, 2010


Kristin Osborn, video segment
Kristin Osborn and Jonathon Egan, clinical demonstration

One- Day Workshop

  • 1000-1100
    Can you identify your own affect phobia?
    Affect Phobia Test
    APT-PAC Form
    APT-Patient Triangles Form
    Kristin Osborn, video segment
    ATOS-Therapist Rating Scale
  • 1100-1115 
  • 1115-1200 
    How do you work with anger and rage if you have a phobic reaction to these emotions?
    APT-Activating Affects Form
    Kristin Osborn, video segment
  • 1200-1300
  • 1300-1430
    How do you work with sexual content or sexual feelings if you feel uncomfortable?
    Kristin Osborn, video segment
    Kristin Osborn & Jonathon Egan, clinical demonstration
    Group discussion
  • 1430-1500
  • 1500-1600 
    How do you work with closeness when you struggle with it yourself?
    Kristin Osborn, video segment
    Small group exercise
  • 1600-1630
    Guidelines for increasing your emotional capacity.

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