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Educational Conference


Following consultation with IDPH and CDC we have postponed this conference. We are planning to reschedule it later in the year.

Uncivil Wars: Creating Safe Spaces in Psychotherapy with Self-Destructive Individuals

Uncivil Wars

Creating Safe Spaces in Psychotherapy with Self Destructive Individuals

This continuing education program is sponsored by Yellowbrick Foundation and The Menninger Clinic and is offered at no charge. This year's conference will focus on psychotherapy with self-destructive individuals and will feature speakers from Yellowbrick and the Menninger Clinic. Yellowbrick Foundation will host the event.

Recent CDC reports indicate that suicide, self-injury and self-destructive behavior are on the rise in the US, especially among adolescents and emerging adults. Since 1938, when Karl Menninger published Man Against Himself, the first book dedicated to a psychoanalytic understanding of suicide, self-destructive individuals have desperately sought professional assistance. Yet many therapists are reluctant to work with suicidal and self-destructive patients. They experience therapy with these disturbed and disturbing people as not only Man against himself but Man/Woman against therapist! Intensive, in-depth work with suicidal and self-destructive patients introduces complex challenges regarding how to approach autonomy, boundaries, responsibility, power, threat and hatefulness, all of which occurs in today’s insecure medico-legal context. This conference offers an opportunity for therapists to reflect upon and share their experiences and struggles in their efforts to develop therapeutic relationships with suicidal and self-destructive individuals. A particular emphasis will be made to demonstrate how the therapist’s adverse experience working with these patients can be processed in the therapist and the alliance to create opportunities for life-sustaining connection, growth and healing.


Shweta Sharma, PsyD
Lindsey Hogan, PhD
Staff Psychologist
The Menninger Clinic
Creating and Maintaining Safe Spaces:
The Therapeutic Relationship with Self-Destructive Clients

Psychotherapy clients at high risk of acting on self-destructive impulses often present unique challenges and evoke strong emotional reactions in their therapists. The inherent difficulty typically experienced by these clients in establishing and maintaining trusting relationships necessitates specialized attention to the therapeutic alliance in order to maintain a collaborative process. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss some key practical and clinical aspects of working effectively with this clinical population, with emphasis on treatment frame and therapist stance, empathic understanding of self-destructive feelings and their meaning in the therapeutic dyad, and thoughtful attention to countertransference reactions. Consultation and team approaches will also be discussed as ways to help protect against burnout and enactments.

Educational Objectives

  1. Recognize the need for special attention to developing a therapeutic alliance and treatment frame with self-destructive clients
  2. Consider ways to understand self-destructive behavior, including its potential meaning in the therapeutic relationship
  3. Understand the value of attending to countertransference with self-destructive clients

Lindsey Hogan, PhD, is a staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic on The Compass Program for Young Adults and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English Literature from Baylor University. Dr. Hogan completed her predoctoral internship at State University of New York-Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Menninger on the Hope Program for Adults. Her clinical and research interests include collaborative/therapeutic personality assessment, psychotherapy process and outcome, psychodynamic and integrative approaches to psychotherapy, and attachment trauma.

David H. Baron, MD, Yellowbrick
David H. Baron, MD
Medical Director
Becoming a “Right Brain Whisperer”:
How Understanding and Interpreting Enactment Can Promote Safety in Psychotherapy

Patients with trauma “tell their therapist” about intolerable self-states through behavioral communications.  Chronic suicidality and self-injury are especially damaging and dangerous to the patient and can evoke terror in the therapist.  In such relationships, therapists often feel anger, helplessness, a wish to avoid, and even hatred. Without a theoretical framework and a derivative strategy, the process often leads to the end of the therapy relationship, or tragic outcomes.  Such enactments without the framework to recognize and use them therapeutically undermine emotional safety, accelerating the risk of self-inflicted harm or death, with the therapist at risk of being incapacitated in their role. The purpose of this presentation is to explain “right brain to right brain” communication, and the concept of enactment.  This framework opens the therapy process to explicit inclusion of the dissociated self-states that drive patients to their dangerous actions.  When utilized persistently, this offers a path through the mutually painful psychotherapy process.  The patient thus has an opportunity for self-understanding and integration, and the therapist can keep his or her footing as guide and support.

Educational Objectives

  1. Learn about nonverbal communication between the emotional/right brain experience of the patient and that of the therapist
  2. Learn to recognize this process as and when it happens
  3. Understand the technique of enactment interpretation as a therapeutic tool, and how it expands the range of emotional safety within the therapeutic relationship

David H. Baron, MD David H. Baron, MD, received his B.A. in Psychology and M.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.  He went on to complete his psychiatry residency at Tufts/New England Medical Center in Boston.  Dr. Baron is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Rosalind Franklin University/The Chicago Medical School. His clinical and administrative experience and practice over the past 30 years has been within a bio-psychosocial understanding of psychiatric illness, and he has developed expertise in meaningfully integrating divergent psychotherapeutic and neurobiological approaches to help people suffering from a wide variety of psychiatric disorders.  Since joining Yellowbrick in 2012, Dr. Baron has been devoted to the assessment and treatment of emerging adults and adolescents. In 2017, he assumed the additional role of Medical Director within which he is responsible for oversight of all treatment within Yellowbrick.

Michael Losoff, PhD
Michael Losoff, PhD
Director of Adolescent Services
Case Presentation

Dr. Losoff will present the course of treatment for an emerging adult young adult woman who presented with multiple psychiatric diagnosis and complex trauma. Prior treatment had not only been ineffective but well intended efforts to maintain safety intensified symptoms of daily self-laceration and suicidal resolve. Dr. Losoff will describe the conduct of intensive individual psychotherapy utilizing principles derived from developmental neurobiology,  the concept of the open setting and the use of enactment as a technique for accessing and modifying dissociated troubled self-experiences. He will detail how safety was defined, sustained and supported within the psychotherapy and surrounding support system within Yellowbrick. The case will then be discussed in afternoon breakout groups.

Michael Losoff, PhD, earned his Masters in Human Development from Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He was trained at the National Institute of Mental health where he was a Fellow in Adolescence. Dr. Losoff brings a deep understanding of adolescent and young adult development and to utilizing this understanding within a multifaceted model based on developmental neurobiology. He has an appreciation of and expertise with in-depth, analytically informed psychotherapy and was the Founding Director and Coordinator of Clinical Services for The Center for Depth Psychotherapy at the C.G. Jung Center of Chicago.

Schedule - Date to Be Determined
8:00 am
Registration & continental breakfast
Yellowbrick, third floor atrium
8:45 am Introduction - Bryn Jessup, PhD, Director, Family Services & Systems, Yellowbrick
9:00 am Lindsey Hogan, PhD
10:15 am Break
10:45 am David Baron, MD
12:00 pm Lunch
1:15 pm Michael Losoff, PhD
2:00 pm Discussion Groups
3:00 pm Break
3:15 pm Q & A Panel: Drs. Baron, Hogan, Jessup & Losoff
4:00 pm Adjourn

Parking rates range: $6 - $8

Attached parking garage at Sherman and Grove

City parking garage is 1 block north, 1 block west at Benson and Davis

On-street parking is limited


CEU Credits will be available for a service fee of $50.
Psychologist - 6.0 hours

Yellowbrick Foundation is a registered Psychologist Continuing Education Sponsor by the State of Illinois, License, #268.000019.

Registered Social Workers - 6.0 hours

Yellowbrick Foundation is a registered Social Work Continuing Education Sponsor by the State of Illinois, License, #159.001043.

Marriage and Family Therapists - 6.0 hours

Yellowbrick Foundation is a registered Marriage and Family Therapy Continuing Education Sponsor by the State of Illinois. License# 168.000180.

Counselors– 6.0 hours

Yellowbrick Foundation is a registered Professional and Clinical Counselor Continuing Education Sponsor by the State of Illinois, License #197.00160.

All Participants

Certificates of attendance will be available to all participants.
To be included in future continuing education events at Yellowbrick
Please e-mail:



At Yellowbrick, emerging adults find their way home.

For more information, please contact Yellowbrick at 847-869-1500.

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