Salon via videoconference


Mondays, Mar. 1 – April 5, 2021 

11:45am-1:15pm CST

7.5 CEs

Members $300

Non-Members $375

Early Career Professionals / Students / Retired $150

ABSTRACT: Clients’ self-mutilation and suicidal behavior present some of the toughest challenges facing a clinician. This salon will begin by examining some dynamics underlying self-harmful behaviors. We will then explore the dynamics that give rise to suicidal behavior, beginning with John Terry Maltsberger’s (2004) classical psychodynamic formulation involving both superego attacks on the self and an ego regression. According to Jane Tillman, a clinician and researcher at Austen Riggs, disillusionment is another contributing factor. Articles by other clinicians consider developmental risk factors and treatment considerations in suicidality, including developmental psychopathology, issues in emerging adulthood, and special risk factors for LGBTQ youth. Finally, we will explore the effects of a client’s suicide on clinicians and family members, including factors in the intergenerational transmission of suicide risk. This 5-session salon offers an intermediate to advanced-level learning experience for clinicians. The salon has limited enrollment in order to offer participants ample opportunity to discuss the concepts and share clinical material. It is intended to provide a safe, supportive environment in which to discuss difficult experiences. The readings will be emailed to participants.

BIO: JoAnn Ponder, PhD is a psychologist-psychoanalyst who has a private practice in Austin providing psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and supervision. She completed her psychoanalytic training at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston, where she currently serves on the faculty. She completed another postgraduate training program in object relational family/couples therapy. She has presented at local, national, and international psychoanalytic conferences. Her publications include a coedited book, book chapters, and journal articles about a variety of clinical and applied psychoanalytic topics.

Mar. 1 Some Dynamics in Self-Mutilation

Farber, S., Jackson, C., Tabin, J., & Bachar, E. (2007). Death and annihilation anxieties in anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and self-mutilation. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24: 289-305.

Straker, G. (2006). Signing with a scar: Understanding self-harm. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16: 93-112.

Tillman, J. (1999). Erotized transference and self-mutilation. Psychoanalytic Review, 86: 709-719.

Mar. 8 Self-Destruction

Maltsberger, J. T. (2004). The descent into suicide. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 85: 653-667.

Schechter, M., Herbstman, B., Ronningstam, E., & Goldblatt, M. (2018). Emerging adults, identity development, and suicidality: Implications for psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 71: 20-39.

Tillman, J. (2018). Disillusionment and suicidality: When a developmental necessity becomes a clinical challenge. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 66: 225-242.

Mar. 22 Developmental Risk Factors in Suicide

Bojarski, E. & Quayyum, Z. (2018). Psychodynamics of suicide in lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 17: 178-186.

Lewis, K. (2018). The treacherous path: Developmental psychopathology and the evolution of risk for suicide. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 71: 5-19.

Sharma, S. & Fowler, J. C. (2018). Restoring hope for the future: Mentalization-based therapy in the treatment of a suicidal adolescent. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 71: 55-75.

Vaughan, S. (2018). Suicidality in LGBTQ+ youth. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 71: 40-54.

Mar. 29 How Suicide Loss Affects Clinicians

Biermann, B. (2003). When depression becomes terminal: The impact of patient suicide during residency. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 31: 443-457.

Misch, D. (2003). When a psychiatry resident’s patient commits suicide: Transference trials and tribulations. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 31: 459-475.

Reeves, G. (2003). Terminal mental illness: Resident experience of patient suicide. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 31: 429-441.

Tillman, J. (2006). When a patient commits suicide: An empirical study of psychoanalytic clinicians. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 87: 159-177.

Apr. 5 Suicide Bereavement and Its Effects

Cerel, J. & Stanford, R. (2018). It’s not who you know, it’s how you think you know them: Suicide exposure and suicide bereavement. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 71: 76-96.

Hamilton, J. (2002). Freud and the suicide of Pauline Silberstein. Psychoanalytic Review, 89: 889-909.

Tillman, J. (2016). The intergenerational transmission of suicide: Moral injury and the mysterious object in the work of Walker Percy. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 64: 541-568.

Learning Objectives

1a) Explain why dissociation is the most destructive factor of the traumatic experiences that underly self- mutilation

1b) Describe 3 psychological functions of self-cutting

1c) Describe 3 goals in treating patients who exhibit self-harm

2a) Explain how identity struggles relate to suicidality

2b) Describe the role of disillusionment in suicidality

2c) Identify 2 processes of ego regression that may occur in suicidal descent

3a) Give 2 examples of how attachment style, object relations, and defenses might relate to suicidality

3b) Explain how gender identity and sexual orientation, even though they are independent dimensions from psychopathology, may contribute to increased suicide risk

3c) Explain how a mentalizing treatment frame addresses the primary problem of adolescent suicidal crisis

4a) Describe 4 possible reactions to a patient’s suicide

4b) Describe organizational responses to a patient’s suicide that may help or hinder the clinician’s professional growth

5a) Describe how suicide bereavement is different from other forms of bereavement

5b) Define what is meant by a mysterious object and urgent errand

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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