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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





Zero to Six: Understanding the Inner World of Young Children from Infancy through Kindergarten – For Mental Health Professionals, Early Childhood Educators and All Who Work with Children

Edmund Sprunger, MSW, Course Master

Thursdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 2018   7-8:30 p.m.  9.5 Credit Hours   Fee: $195

This course explores the powerful emotions behind behaviors. The practical and useful classes feature topics such as the developmental accomplishments during the early years of life, and the crucial roles that early feelings and relationships play during these years. Additional topics include understanding traumatic issues in the life of a child–such as divorce, loss of a parent, and loss of a sibling. We will also explore the consequences of untreated anxiety as well as the inner experiences of children who are adopted or in foster care. A particular focus of the course will be applying an understanding of childhood development to the participants’ work experiences.


What Happened to Sex in Psychotherapy/ Recent Perspectives on Sex & Gender – For Mental Health Professionals

Gary Hirshberg, MSW

Saturdays, October 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018   9:00-10:30 a.m.  6.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $160

This four-session course is designed for experienced mental health professionals. It is hoped participants will have a minimum of 5-7 years of full time clinical practice.

In this course we will take up understanding the inner world of trans people, women and men; included in this examination will be the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual people. We will explore some of our assumptions and biases we bring to these patients and challenge ourselves to develop more current ways of understanding both gender and sex. Much of our thinking can be seeped in very traditional and sex negative ideas as well as informed solely by a binary view of gender. This course will move the practitioner to a more enlightened view that reflects recent understanding of both sex and gender.


A Deeper Look at Leon Hoffman’s Regulation-Focused Psychotherapy – For Mental Health Professionals, Early Childhood Educators and All Who Work with Children

Chester Smith, MEd, LPC

October 16, 23, 2018    7:30-9:00 p.m.  3.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $20

This course will serve to introduce Dr. Hoffman’s material on Regulation-Focused Psychotherapy. It will also provide a post-presentation recap of the main points of Dr. Hoffman’s presentation, “The Oppositional Child,” on October 18 and provide an opportunity for questions and discussion.


Community Lecture:

The Oppositional Child – For Mental Health Professionals, Early Childhood Educators and All Who Work with Children

Leon Hoffman MD

Thursday, October 18, 2018   7:00-9:00 p.m.   2.0 Credit Hours   Fee: $30 (non-refundable)

Drury Inn & Suites, 8700 Eager Road, Brentwood, MO 63144

All behavior is meaningful—even if that meaning is not readily apparent. When a child opposes authority, adults may automatically react to the child’s behavior with their own counter-behavior. Not surprisingly, the result is often an adversarial power struggle. Unaddressed, these behaviors in children may become life-long habits of response, resulting in feelings of guilt, shame, hurt, and/or worry.

This lecture will offer a new approach for dealing with and diffusing these situations, called Regulation-Focused Psychotherapy for Children (RFP-C). Using this technique, adults learn to recognize disruptive behavior as a child’s effort to protect themselves from painful emotions. RFP-C is an approach that can be useful to parents, teachers, counselors, therapists, and other adults who work with children.


The 2018 I. H. Cohn Lecture – For the Community

The Songs and Poetry of Leonard Cohen: The Transformation of Longing

Bernie Feinberg, MD

Friday, October 26, 2018   7:00 p.m.   Fee: $20 (non-refundable)

When he was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, the former

Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson said about Leonard Cohen that he “changed all of our lives with the complexity of his sadness, the breadth of his love…He gets inside your brain, your heart, your lungs. You remember him, you feel him, you breathe him. He is our connection to the meaning of ecstasy, our access to another world we suspected existed which he puts into song.”

The lecture hopes to demonstrate the basis of her generous praise with excerpts from his poetry and musical performances.

If it be your will,

If there is a choice,

Let the rivers fill,

Let the hills rejoice.

Let your mercy spill

On all these burning hearts in hell,

If it be your will

To make us well.



Locked into Othering, Closed-off from Contact: Can We Cultivate Curiosity? – For Mental Health Professionals

Anton Hart, PhD

Thursday, November 1, 2018

We live in a world where othering—viewing and treating people as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself—is, apparently, on the ascendance. Separateness and polarization are fueled by fear and anxiety about contact. Conventionally proposed remedies, such as becoming more literate or competent about others (or urging others to do so), are directive, objectifying, and insufficiently dialogic. A psychoanalytic stance, with its inclination to prescribe free, open, exploratory thought and speech in response to dread (and its dissociative defenses), represents an antidote to the deadening simplifications of mastery-based forms of dialog. Proceeding from the premise that racial, ethnic, sexual, socioeconomic and other forms of prejudice and discrimination represent dissociative defenses involving profound, anxiety-based failures of curiosity, this workshop focuses on how issues of difference and “othering” emerge and can be fruitfully engaged in the psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic situation. We can start by attempting to have conversations about these matters with each other.


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.