Mondays, 4/19/21- 5/10/21

Salon via Videoconference

7:30 – 9:00 PM Central


6.0 CEs

Members $160

Non-Members $200

ECP/Students $80

Since the introduction of Freud’s ideas on masochism, object-relations theory and the elucidation of pre-oedipal dynamics have enriched our understanding of this controversial concept. While self-defeating personality disorder (masochistic character) did not make it into the DSM, many feel that to best serve our clients (especially clients with complex personality issues), a deeper understanding of masochism is required. During this four-session Salon, we’ll examine the concept of masochism through the lens of object-relations theory and as an adaptation to relational trauma. Participants will be encouraged to discuss clinical material, and we’ll explore the role of countertransference in working with masochistic behaviors.

Bio: Richard Nicastro is a psychologist in private practice in Austin, where he works with individuals and couples and offers supervision/consultation. After receiving his PhD from the New School for Social Research, he completed a two-year post-doctoral training at the Traumatic Stress Institute in Connecticut, where he trained in relational-psychodynamic informed trauma work. He conducted research on the psychodynamics of forming a therapy alliance with survivors of childhood abuse. While living in the Northeast, he was an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford’s Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology. Dr. Nicastro has been in private practice for more than twenty years.

Learning Objectives:

After attending the program in its entirety, attendees will be able to:

1) Define the central features of self-defeating personality disorder

2) Identify the similarities and differences between masochistic pathology and major depressive disorder

3) Identify pre-oedipal, object relations dynamics in the formation of self- defeating self-representations

4) Describe the role of narcissism in masochistic character pathology

5) Describe the role of trauma and shame in masochism

6) List three internalized self-object relational configurations that result from early attachment trauma

7) Define the role of masochism in negative therapeutic reactions

8) Describe the use of countertransference in identifying and working with masochistic dynamics


1. Kernberg, O.F. (1988). Clinical Dimensions of Masochism. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assoc., 36:1005-1029.

2. Malseson, F.G. (1984). The Multiple Meanings of Masochism in Psychoanalytic Discourse. J. Amer. Psychoanal Assoc., 32(2):325-56.

3. Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Wells, M. (1991). Current Conceptualizations on Masochism: Genesis and Object Relations. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 45(1):53-68.

4. Howell, E.F. (2013). Masochism: A Bridge to the Other Side of Abuse. Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7:231-242.

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Austin Psychoanalytic is approved by the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners (Provider # 5501) to provide continuing education for social workers and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider #1138). We also meet the requirements to provide continuing education for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 7.5 continuing education credits. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need forprivacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful,participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program’s content.

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