Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy

Integrative Psychotherapy
Training Programs and Workshops


Affect Confusion, Cumulative Trauma, and Attachment Disruptions

Richard Erskine, Ph.D. hosted by: nscience UK

A Two-Day Training Course : 10 & 11 November 2017, Friday & Saturday 9:30 – 17:00 on both days
London, UK

For many psychotherapists, borderline clients present a professional challenge because of their frequent relational conflicts, varying developmental levels of transference, and their polarization of emotions, such as: idealization and hate, elation and despair, anger and dependency.

This two-day course will proved diagnostic perspectives on Attachment Disruptions, an understanding of the aetiology of Early Affect-Confusion and the formation of the Borderline Personality, the therapeutic use of treatment contracts, the significant of an attuned therapeutic relationship, and working knowledge of when and how to use behavioural interventions and/or supportive age regression.

At this unique and practical training workshop, Dr Richard Erskine draws on an integrative therapeutic and relational approach and specifically draws our attention to clients whose narrative is characterized by affect confusion and attachment disruptions – where the narrative alternates between blaming others and self-criticism, where the client seeks justification for felt rage and harbours explicit confusions about how others treat him/her.

In a relationship-oriented psychotherapy, the therapist’s self is focused on assisting the client’s process of developing and integrating full contact and the fulfillment of relational needs. Of particular importance is the process of attunement, not just to thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physical sensations, but also to vitality affects , such that an experience of unbroken feeling-connectedness is created.

Through lecture, case-vignettes, videos, therapy demonstrations and clinical discussions, the workshop helps us examine and identify reparative action for potentially unmet relational needs, which can include:

· Validation and affirmation within a relationship

· Acceptance by a stable, dependable and protective other person

· Confirmation of personal experience

  • Self-definition
  • Impacting the other person

Specifically, we consider the interpersonal needs which may often have been absent in our client’s significant relationships: for the other to be patient, calm, consistent, dependable and validating; and how the therapist can provide opportunities for the client’s self-definition and agency. We consider the unique, professional challenges that we face in such situations, when the client presents with apparent relational conflicts, varying developmental levels of transference and polarization of emotions.

Keeping in mind the therapeutic challenges we face as psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, Richard focusses on the centrality of an involved therapeutic relationship while emphasizing the in-depth methods of a psychotherapy that integrates the client's affect, cognition, physiology and behaviour. Emphasis will be placed on:

  • diagnostic perspectives on Attachment Disruptions

· an understanding of the aetiology of early Affect-Confusion and the formation of the Borderline Personality

  • the therapeutic use of treatment contracts
  • the significance of an attuned therapeutic relationship, and

· a working knowledge of when and how to use behavioural interventions and / or supportive regressions

Overall, the workshop equips us with practical methods that are effective in psychotherapy, including:

· methods of transference resolution and countertransference identification,

  • the bifurcation of therapeutically relevant challenges,
  • calibrating for juxtaposition reactions,
  • responding to oscillating relational-needs, and

· the importance of a sustained phenomenological inquiry and affect attunement

In preparation for this workshop participants are requested to be familiar with chapters 13, 14, & 15 in Richard Erskine’s recent book, Relational Patterns, Therapeutic Presence” published by Karnac Books (

Learning Objectives:

At this workshop, participants will:

· assimilate and comprehend a series of therapeutic interventions that reflect relational, co-constructive and intersubjective sensitivity in the psychotherapy of clients with Borderline Personality traits.

· differentiate between various forms of therapeutic inquiry and apply the skills of acknowledgement, validation and normalization

· formulate a therapeutic perspective that will include the significance of attunement to the client’s affects and rhythm while resonating with the client’s level of emotional development

· critique a psychotherapy demonstration and describe what they think is therapeutically effective

About the Speaker:

Richard G. Erskine, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and Training Director of the Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy (New York City and Vancouver). Originally trained in client-centered child therapy, Dr Erskine also studied Gestalt therapy with both Fritz and Laura Perls. He is a certified clinical Transactional Analyst and a Licensed Psychoanalyst who has specialized in psychoanalytic self-psychology and object-relations theory. His work is an integration of these concepts and fifty years of clinical experience, which has included working with disturbed children, inmates in a maximum security prison, borderline and narcissistic clients, post-traumatic stress and dissociative identity disorders. Recently his research and clinical practice have focused on the treatment of the schizoid process and on the psychotherapy of obsession.

He is the author of several books and scores of articles on psychotherapy theory and methods. His best-selling book (with Jan Moursund and Rebecca Trautmann) is " Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in-Relationship " (1999, Brunner/Mazel).

Workshop Schedule

10 November 2017, Friday, Day 1

9:30am to 5:00pm, Lunch at 1:00pm (a light lunch is provided as part of the workshop)

Module 1: affect confusion: oscillating between despair and rage

Module 2: therapeutic involvement: the process of acknowledgement, normalization and presence

11 November 2017, Saturday, Day 2

9:30am to 5:00pm, Lunch at 1:00pm (a light lunch is provided as part of the workshop)

Module 3: therapeutic responses to relational needs

Module 4: relational healing for affect confusion and attachment disruptions

© nscience UK, 2017 / 18

Contact: Helen Smith, nScienceUK
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7096 1722
Web page:
The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists, by the National Board of Certified Counselors for counselors and by the American Board of Examiners in Pastoral Counseling for pastoral counselors. The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.