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Keep-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 soon in our 2019-20 academic year — simply click on the title for more details and course objectives:




FALL 2019



The Reflective Parent

Edmund Sprunger, MSW, LCSW

Thursdays, November 7, 14, 21, 2019   7:30-9:00 p.m.

$75 (Includes Book)  4.5 Hours For Early Childhood Educators, include your MOPD ID number when registering

This series will focus on the book The Reflective Parent: How to Do Less and Relate

More with Your Kids, by Regina Pally, MD. Through her decades of experience practicing psychiatry and through her own experience as the parent of three children, Pally realized that the idea of a “right way” of doing things left even the most dedicated caregiver feeling discouraged and inadequate when real life doesn’t measure up. Instead, Pally presents an approach to successful parenting that focuses on learning to slow down, reflect, and recognize that parents have many worthwhile options.

Pally synthesizes the latest neuroscience research to show how our brain’s natural tendencies to empathize, analyze, and connect with others are what is needed to be a good parent.

Parents, teachers, caregivers, and professionals working with parents and/or children, will find this accessible and engaging book helpful in fostering fortifying relationships with children.



Treating Chronic Illness with Psychotherapy: A Guide for Clinicians and Patients

Katie Willard Virant, JD, LCSW

Tuesdays, December 3, 10, 2019  7:00-8:30 p.m.

$40   3.0 Credit Hours

This seminar explores how psychotherapy can improve outcomes for people living with chronic illness.  We will turn our attention to the lived experience of chronic illness, identifying the domains of stress associated with chronic illness, the distinct phases of chronic illness, and the inevitability of meaning-making in living with disease.  We will address how psychotherapy can assist people in coping with chronic illness, paying particular attention to facilitating narrative about disease.  Clinicians who work with chronically ill patients are welcome, as are non-clinicians living with or otherwise affected by illness.   Available for distance learning; contact the Institute or see website for details.



The Existentialists and Why They Matter to Psychoanalysts

Sundeep Jayaprabhu, MD

Thursdays, January 23, 30, February 6, 2020  7:00-8:30 p.m.

$120   4.5 Credit Hours

What does it mean to become human? If the human condition involves struggling with authenticity, passion and meaninglessness, what does it mean to help patients address these and other existential issues in a psychoanalytic practice? After a brief introduction to definitions of existentialism, the themes of existentialism will be explored by primarily focusing on the writings of Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Nietzsche. The works of Dostoevsky and Kafka and will also be considered. The point of this course will be for clinicians to understand what these existential writers are saying and their relevance to our daily work. A basic understanding of psychoanalytic principles will be assumed in the interest of time. Available for distance learning; contact the Institute or see website for details.


Co-constructed Racial Realities: African American Experience and Psychodynamic Understanding in Modern America

Carol Robinson, MEd, NCC, MA

Saturdays, January 18, 25, February 1, 8, 25, 22, 29, March 7, 2020   9:00 a.m.- Noon

Fee: $120+$60 Resource Fee   24.0 Credit Hours

This course will provide information on the definition and historical underpinnings of Anti-blackness in American culture. We will use psychoanalytic writings as well as additional sources to explore and discuss the ways in which psychodynamic/psychoanalytic thought conceptualizes racial minority mental health in general and work with African American clients in particular. The course will provide participants with opportunities to explore their own ways of understanding and interacting with African American individuals and clients through introspective journaling and case presentations.



4th Annual Child Development Conference

“Gender + Sex + Kids Today = Confusion

Helping Children Navigate Gender and Sexual Development”

with Donald Spivak, MD

Part of the Centene Charitable Foundation Speakers Series

Monday, February 17, 2020 – Presidents’ Day  8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (on-site check-in begins at 7:30 a.m.)

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

Cost: $65  (Non refundable)  6.5 Credit Hours*

*This course has been approved for clock hours by the Missouri Professional Development Registry. To receive these clock hours, you must include your MOPD ID number when registering.

People who work with children are increasingly finding themselves having to think about the ways in which children develop and express their sense of gender. Parents and teachers often have questions about why a child may choose to dress in clothes that don’t conform to their birth sex, or want to be called by a different name.  The adults in the lives of these children often wonder how best to understand the child and support their development in ways that allow for creativity as well as successful management of conflicts and of differences.  The responses to these concerns are not always obvious, but our understanding of gender and the variations in its expression throughout the life cycle has greatly expanded. We have also come to understood much more about sexuality: how it develops, how it intersects with gender, and how it is expressed and used.

This program is designed to offer clear, coherent, and current information on the development of sexual and gender identity which will enable these adults to support development of the child and support their sense of self-worth. Because these are topics that are accompanied by uncomfortable feelings, participants will be able to use the information presented to help alleviate their own anxieties along with enhancing their abilities to understand children and youth.


Understanding Symbolism in Child’s Play

Rev. Linda A. Horrell, MDiv, MSW

Tuesdays, February 25, March 3, 10, 2020   7:00-8:30 p.m.

$90 4.5 Credit Hours 

In this class we will explore ways to understand and interpret the symbolic content of children’s play. This is aimed at early career therapists, early childhood educators, counselors, social workers, and others who work with children.   The goal is to examine child’s play and increase the rewards and benefits of working with children and their families.

The first class will help the participants examine his or her own child focused environment and discuss what is play as a non-verbal and verbal act?

The second class will examine vignettes of child observations that are in different stages of development.  We will open the questions of what is the child saying and not saying.

The third class will examine the questions of how to interact and interpret what the child might be doing with his or her play. We will consider developmental help and thoughts on the co-creative process.  The reading of brief papers by child analysts and infant observers will be discussed to support the topic of each class meeting.  Available for distance learning; contact the Institute or see website for details.


                 Please see individual course descriptions online to determine specifics on the accrediting bodies for each individual lecture.