“A Thorn in the Flesh: Trauma” Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Didactic Videoconference

Distance Learning program to learn more about theories and techniques of treating trauma and about the empirical research that supports successful treatments.


An eight-session seminar held by online video conference.  The seminar meets on Friday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. US Eastern Time. The first hour is a lecture/discussion seminar designed around assigned readings.  The second hour is a discussion of a case presentation and the application of the theory, technique, and research findings that apply to the patient.

The seminar meets over the internet as a live class using Zoom, a free video conference application that can be used on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective form of treatment, as shown in numerous studies involving thousands of patients. However, many clinicians have had little exposure to it in their post-graduate training.

In the Fall 2020 didactic seminar, A Thorn in the Flesh: Trauma, you will learn about how psychodynamic trauma theories have evolved on the basis of two models, a psycho-economic model and an object relations model. To grasp the long-term consequences of trauma we need both models. In addition to the psychodynamic approach, successful treatment may include other interventions based upon neuroscience, upon an understanding of cultural contributions to the patient’s experience, and upon an understanding of the empirical research that supports the efficacy of a variety of treatment approaches.

In this program you will learn more about theories and techniques of treating trauma and about the empirical research that supports successful treatments.

You may enroll in Module III even if you have not taken Modules I or II.

Looking for the full Psychodynamic Psychotherapy certificate program? Click here.

Program Chair

Stephen Morris, PhD

Program Date(s):

September 11, 2020 - December 18, 2020
11 Sep
Trauma as a Thing, No Thing, No One, Nowhere
Sheila Hill, MSW
25 Sep
Will This Night Never End: Dissociation and Trauma
Mike Stadter, PhD
02 Oct
Words That Touch: The Therapist as Witness
Patrizia Pallaro, LCMFT, BC-DMT
23 Oct
No Good Choice: The Aftermath of War
Mike Stadter, PhD
30 Oct
Alternatives to Words: The Action Therapists
Patrizia Pallaro, LCMFT, BC-DMT
20 Nov
Two Bodies/One Mind: Finding the Disappeared Patient
Patrizia Pallaro, LCMFT, BC-DMT
04 Dec
It Never Entered My Mind: Developmental Trauma
Sheila Hill, MSW
18 Dec
From Nightmares to Dreams
Jim Poulton, PhD

Educational Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to: 

  1. Explain the “thorn in the flesh” concept and list two clinical manifestations of it.
  2. List two examples of a symbolic equation and describe how you could apply this concept to your clinical work.
  3. Explain Bion’s concept of working with “no memory, no desire” and list two examples from your work of tolerating clinical despair.
  4. Describe how memory can become embodied rather than represented.
  5. Give two examples of how trauma organizes the experience of self.
  6. Describe the phenomenon of discontinuous selves and the phenomenon of dissociation.
  7. List the eight “forms of knowing” in the process of witnessing that trauma work requires.
  8. List the first three foundational guidelines for treating psychic trauma
  9. Describe a clinical example from their own case load that indicates their willingness as therapists to engage, listen, be alive with the story of their patient’s trauma, and provide a safe space, a secure base from which to face the trauma.
  10. Identify 3 challenges for clinicians in working with combat veterans.
  11. Give one example of a “leaning in” countertransference and one example of a “leaning away” countertransference.
  12. Describe Bion’s personal war trauma and explain how it influenced his theories.
  13. Identify the physiology of defense survival responses in trauma.
  14. Describe three techniques of affect regulation.
  15. Demonstrate two body techniques which help ground patients in the present while revisiting the roots of their traumas.
  16. Name five examples of somatic manifestations of traumatic stress.
  17. Identify the role of the body-mind relationship in at least two enactments in their work with a specific patient.
  18. Describe how biological phenomena impact transference, regardless of whether we attend to them.
  19. Explain “out of sight, out of mind” and list two clinical examples.
  20. Define ” traumatic helplessness” and list two clinical examples.
  21. Define “unseen wounds” and list two examples.
  22. List two reasons for a person’s inability to dream and two ways a clinician might respond to facilitate development and understanding.
  23. Explain two concepts from Bion that are central to understanding the role dreams play in waking and nighttime mental processing.
  24. Describe two ways in which dreaming helps to maintain and enhance psychological functioning.

Continuing Education Credit Hours

The eight-session seminar provides 16 hours CE credit.


Please use the Register button above to sign up for the single semester videoconference.  To apply for the full Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program, click here for the application form.

Tuition and Fees

Registration fee is $440.

Discounted registration for Full and Associate IPI Members $375.

Membership Benefits

Become a member of IPI at the “Associate Member PLUS”, or “Full Member PLUS” level and you will receive an IPI Zoom Pro account as one of your member benefits. Associate and Full Members also receive discounted registration fees for most of IPI’s events, a subscription to PEP Web, the online psychoanalytic library, and other benefits depending on membership level.

HIPAA compliant Zoom video accounts are provided for all IPI Associate Member Plus and Full Member Plus memberships. IPI has a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with Zoom, which provides a HIPAA compliant platform for our accounts. HIPPA compliance is strongly recommended for all internet-mediated clinical work and clinical teaching. The “PLUS” add-on to the IPI membership gives the user the ability to host online meetings with multiple people at the same time. [Current members can upgrade to the “Plus” account and only pay the difference in price from your current membership level.]

Click for IPI Membership and Zoom Account information

Should you have any questions about the program or the application process, please feel free to contact:

Stephen Morris - ppp@theipi.org

Continuing Education Information

The International Psychotherapy Institute, IPI, is approved by The American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. IPI maintains responsibility for the program and its content. The International Psychotherapy Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6017. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The International Psychotherapy Institute is responsible for all aspects of the programs. The International Psychotherapy Institute is an approved sponsor of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners for continuing education credits for licensed social workers in Maryland. The International Psychotherapy Institute is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers.

Participants are responsible for verifying that IPI CE credit is accepted by the licensing boards in their own states. Please note: At this time we are aware that CE credit for IPI events will not be accepted by the New Jersey Board of Social Work.