Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy

Workshops di Psicoterapia Integrativa


Withdrawal, Silence & Loneliness:
Psychotherapy of the Schizoid Process

Richard G. Erskine, PhD.

A training workshop: 20 & 21 May 2022, 10am – 4pm on both days
London, UK

The Schizoid Process has been described as a split in a person’s sense of self that results in living a social façade. The British object-relations school of psychoanalysis described it as a violent splitting of the self, accompanied by excessive internal criticism that results in the other being experienced as a persecutor. These coping dynamics are observable in our clients’ silence, lone-liness, and relational withdrawal — each of which can be viewed as manifestations of a Schizoid Process.
These forms of coping with relational challenges are acutely reflected in the lives of many cli-ents who come to psychotherapy and counselling with symptoms of depression, relational diffi-culties and/or social anxiety. Often, such clients find themselves continually plagued by internal criticism and shame as a primary way of organising their emotional experiences. Dr Erskine pos-its that a splitting of the self can be present, yet unrecognised in many clients. He offers several ways of understanding and empathetically working with clients’ Schizoid Process.
Such clients require the psychotherapist’s consistent attunement to their affective state, a sense of meeting their sadness with compassion, their fear with security, and their anger with a sense of being taken seriously in the expression of that anger.
Through case studies and clinical examples, the workshop provides us with an understanding of the Schizoid Process and focusses on:
· The four different levels of psychological splitting and how we can work therapeutically with the concomitant psychological fragmentation
· Drawing on Object Relations and Integrative Psychotherapy, the workshop explains mul-tiple methods and styles of intervention specifically designed to work with:
· Attachment Patterns of the social self
· The frightened, vulnerable self
· The internal saboteur and
· The encapsulated self
· How the Schizoid Process relates to some of our clients who present as depressed, shy, reticent or fearful of intimate relationships
· The therapeutic significance of both internal criticism and shame – especially in cases where shame has become a protective dynamic for the client to avoid vulnerability, humiliation and loss of contact-in-relationship with others
Dr Erskine illustrates the self-stabilising process of internal splitting and highlights the correla-tions with various forms of self, the five components of shame, the dynamics of compliance and withdrawal, alternating attachment patterns and the function of internal criticism

Overall, the workshop draws on developmentally-based, relationally-focussed techniques from Integrative Psychotherapy to emphasise the importance of understanding the client’s phenom-enological experience, the significance of silence and the need for patience when the client struggles to voice their internal sensations and feelings; so we can effectively address the reso-lution of shame, internal criticism, compliance and relational withdrawal.

L’Istituto di Psicoterapia Integrativa è approvato dalla Associazione di Psicologia Americana per il patrocinio della formazione continua per psicologi, dal Comitato Nazionale di Counselor Certificati e dal Comitato Americano di Esaminatori nel Counselling pastorale per Counselors Pastorali. L’Istituto di Psicoterapia Integrativa mantiene responsabilità per questo programma ed i suoi contenuti.