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learningOur Lectures & Seminars encompass a wide range of topics for Continuing Education for Mental Health Professionals and community lectures of timely interest.  Here’s what’s happening in the 2018-19 academic year — simply click on the title for more details and course objectives:

Fall 2018




Reworking Adoption Issues in Adulthood – For Mental Health Professionals

Chester Smith, MEd, LPC

Tuesdays, November 6, 13, 20, 2018     7:30-9:00 p.m. (4.5 Credit Hours)   Fee: $80

Those who have been adopted often face special challenges tied to early object loss, the meaning of having been relinquished, and years of institutional/foster care. This course will examine how issues unique to adoptees can predispose one to chronic unresolved grief, low self-esteem, difficulty relating with others, and a host of other problems faced in the later years of life.  We will also explore ways that the older adoptee can revisit and rework early issues with having been given up for adoption and how they can establish a mourning process when loss has not been adequately mourned.


Psychodynamic Assessment and Diagnosis: Master Clinicians – For Mental Health Professionals

Andrew Chirchirillo, PhD

Wednesdays, November 7, 14, 28, December 5, 2018    7-9:00 p.m.  6.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $160

This four-week course is a continuation of the Psychodynamic Diagnosis class offered last year.  Participants will review videos of master clinicians (Otto Kernberg and Salmon Ahktar) conducting psychotherapy sessions with patients exhibiting classic symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorders and Borderline Personality Disorders.  Supplemental readings will enhance participants understanding of the technical concepts presented in the videos.


The Paul A. Dewald, MD Lecture:

Learning to Cope: Lessons from the Movies

Volney Gay, PhD

Thursday, November 15, 2018   7:00-9:00 p.m.  2 Credit Hours   Fee: $30 (non-refundable)

In this fascinating lecture you’ll see scenes from 20 different recent movies, used by Dr. Gay to illustrate 20 different types of defenses or coping mechanisms that you may recognize in yourself or others.  These coping mechanisms can be grouped by three distinct types:  1) primal, the most basic type of mechanism; 2) moderate coping mechanisms, which correspond to greater development of the individual; and 3) the most mature of coping mechanisms which you may be surprised to learn includes something our speaker refers to as mature religion.  Dr. Gay will conclude by showing how psychoanalytic treatment fosters mature defenses, including mature religion.


The Whole Brain Approach: No-Drama Discipline and Nurturing Children – For Mental Health Professionals, Early Childhood Educators and All Who Work with Children

Tina Dale, MSW

Thursdays, November 29, December 6, 13, 2018  7:00-8:30 p.m.   4.5 Credit Hours MOPD ONLY   Fee:  $100 (includes copy of the book)

This series will focus on the book No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, authored by Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD.  These experts explain the latest neuroscience breakthroughs, making them understandable and accessible to all readers.  They provide clear explanations of a child’s developing brain—how it develops over the short term and how it develops over the long term.

Encouraging children to cooperate begins with establishing a connection with them, validating their feelings, empathizing with them, and helping them to mindfully repair ruptures in their relationships on a daily basis.  Solid evidence shows, teaching children self regulation, begins with an already self-contained adult, attuned to the mind of a young child.

Collectively utilizing the latest scientific information and terming it “The Whole Brain Approach,” the authors explain the science behind ways to create calm, no-drama disciplinary environments.  Parents, teachers, care givers, and professionals working with parents and/or children, will find this material helpful in fostering nurturing relationships with children and those that care for children.




Contributions of Hans Loewald to Psychoanalytic Theory: Selected Readings – For Mental Health Professionals

Chester Smith, MEd, LPC

Tuesdays, January 15, 22, 29, 2019   7:30-9:00 p.m.   4.5 Credit Hours   Fee: $120

Hans Loewald’s contributions to the field of psychoanalysis are many. Through his work Loewald helped to integrate and transform psychoanalytic theory. In this course we will examine three of his papers: On Internalization, On the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis, and Reflections on the Psychoanalytic Process and its Therapeutic Potential.



Third Annual Child Development Conference

Reflect to Connect: A Relationship Approach to Promoting Healthy Child Development  – For Mental Health Professionals, Early Childhood Educators and All Who Work with Children

Regina Pally, MD

Monday, February 18, 2019  8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. 6.5 Credit Hours   Fee: $65 (non-refundable)

Ethical Society of St. Louis Auditorium 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117

This presentation offers a new way of thinking about raising children, called Reflective Parenting. The ideas of Reflective Parenting will be useful to anyone involved in the care of children or their families—including parents or other primary caretakers, clinicians and daycare staff.

Reflective Parenting emphasizes a shift in mindset, focusing less on what parents should do and more on how they should relate with their children. Reflective Parenting’s relationship focused approach is grounded in the most up to date findings in psychoanalysis, child development, and neuroscience. These findings point to the fact that a child with a strong parent-child relationship is more likely to do well in the long run of life: emotionally, socially, academically, and even physically.

Dr. Pally will discuss (1) What a strong relationship contains and how it gives a child all the nutrients and skills they need to learn, to be resilient, and to be as successful as possible. (2) What Reflective Parenting means and how the capacity of a parent to be reflective is the most important tool in the Reflective Parenting Took Kit for building and maintaining a strong parent-child relationship.

Additional Reflective Parenting Tools include accepting that ‘there is no one right way’ to parent, tolerating uncertainty and not knowing, balancing empathy with limit setting, being flexible and open minded, and adjusting one’s approach to best fit the needs of the child. These relationship building tools are not unique to parents and children. They can benefit and strengthen all relationships, including those between spouses, family members, friends, co-workers—and even relationships in a clinical setting.


Healthy Adolescent Sexuality: Why Gender Matters – For Mental Health Professionals, Educators, and All who work with Adolescents

Katie Willard Virant, JD, MSW, LMSW & Austin Evans Wilmot, MSW, LCSW

Thursdays, February 21, 28, March 7, 2019  7:00-8:30  4.5 Credit Hours   Fee: $80

Adults often struggle in knowing how best to support teens’ sexual development.  We posit that an understanding of gender norms is essential in helping adolescents navigate sexuality.  This course will examine those cultural influences on gender that inhibit adolescents (and adults) from a full exploration and expression of sexuality.  As we consider ways to resist this curtailment of freedom and foster progressive psychological development and identity formation, we will turn to contemporary models of healthy adolescent sexuality.

We wish to gather mental health clinicians, professionals who work with adolescents, and others to learn from one another.  While social science and psychoanalytic articles will be suggested as reading to ground our discussions, we also will include more generally accessible materials, including video clips and newspaper articles.  We stress that everyone interested in these issues – regardless of educational or professional background – is welcome to participate in this course.  We believe that course participants’ lived experiences are valuable, as we learn with and from one another.



Three Not-to-be-Missed Papers by Danielle Quinodoz – For Mental Health Professionals

Bernard Feinberg, MD

Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20, 2019   7:00-8:30 p.m.  4.5 Credit Hours   $140

Danielle Quinodoz was a member of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society. Her grasp of the Unconscious and her clear writing make it possible for the reader to grasp fundamental psychoanalytic topics. The 3 that have been selected will be of interest to both psychoanalysts and psychotherapists who wish to assist their patients to regain lost aspects of themselves.


Psychotropic Medications in Children and Adolescents: The Hazards and Pitfalls Associated with their Use – For Mental Health Professionals

Jeff Cole, PharmD, RPh

Thursday, March 14, 2019   7:00-9:00 p.m.  2.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $60

The use of psychotropic medications for the treatment of psychiatric conditions in childhood and adolescence has increased exponentially during the last three decades and oftentimes outside of the context of talk therapy.  Clinicians and parents are expressing increased concern about the effectiveness of these medications, the validity of the diagnoses used to justify the use of these medications, and the harmful adverse events associated with their use and overuse, including the effect of these medications on the developing brain. This seminar will address these concerns and describe when medications are necessary, when they are needed during the context of talk therapy, and when and how they can be an impediment to helping children and adolescents restore a progressive course of psychological development.



The Problem with ‘Feeling Good’: On Psyche and Evidence – For Mental Health Professionals

J. Todd Dean, MD

Wednesdays, April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2019   7:00-8:30 p.m.  6.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $180

In this class, we will discuss the ways in which psychoanalytic evidence can be understood, and how it can be seen as standing in opposition to the approaches to mental health diagnostics and treatment that are more commonly thought of as “evidence based”.  Further, we will pursue this project by looking at psychoanalytic literature that is strongly influenced by the work of Jacques Lacan.  Thus, the two main themes of this class:

  1. To be able to think about evidence as it pertains to a psychodynamic approach to mental health.
  2. To be able to apply Lacanian theoretical concepts to the practical issues involved in psychodynamic treatment.


Community Lecture – For the Community

Facts, Fictions, and Collective Anxieties in the Contemporary Immigration Debate

Ricardo Ainslie, PhD

Thursday, April 11, 2019   7:00-9:00 p.m.  2.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $30 (non-refundable)

Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117

The American social landscape has changed dramatically in the last three decades, driven primarily by Mexican and other Latin American immigration. These changes have sparked deep debate, as presidential candidates scapegoat immigrants as the source of America’s ills, armed Minutemen militias patrol border areas with vigilante zeal, and the children of asylum-seeking parents are torn from them and placed in military encampments. In this presentation the current anti-Latino discourse is read through a psychoanalytic lens that helps us understand the psychodynamics of fear of the unknown Other, the linkages between individual and collective identity processes, and the role of society as a psychological “container” that “holds” complex psychological needs and conflicts, thus enhancing a sense of safety for members of the society.



Sex Chatting to Expand Sexual Self-Efficacy: Integrating Sexual Health Conversations in Psychotherapy – For Mental Health Professionals

Susan Stiritz, PhD

Thursdays, May 2, 9, 2019 7:00-8:30 p.m.  3 Credit Hours   Fee: $80

This course will help participants to develop the skills to become more effective in advocating for their own sexuality.  Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic” posits that eroticism is a source of strength and a resource which must be understood and cultivated from within; sexual self-efficacy can be understood as a powerful form of self-development and self-expression of the erotic as a source of pleasure and self-understanding.  To further the goal of sexual self-efficacy specific information about female organs of arousal, and particular tools will be utilized in the course to facilitate the development of these skills.


7 Steps for Adding Group Psychotherapy to Your Practice – For Mental Health Professionals

Kylie Dennis, PhD, LCSW

Saturday, May 11, 2019   9 a.m.-12 Noon   3.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $60

Psychotherapists in private practice may understand the unique benefits, popularity, and cost-effectiveness of group psychotherapy, yet feel intimidated by the challenges of group design, member recruitment and retention. Taken step by step, these challenges may be overcome. This workshop, taught by a Certified Group Psychotherapist who has designed and led groups successfully for over 30 years, will give you the tools for adding sustainable therapy groups to your practice. There will be a special focus on overcoming difficulties along the way.