THE MICHIGAN PSYCHOANALYTIC COUNCIL
A SUICIDE IN THE THERAPIST'S FAMILY:
TRAUMA, CHALLENGE, AND TRANSFORMATION
JERROLD R. BRANDELL, PH.D., BCD
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2015 11 a.m. - 1 p. m.
Continental Breakfast at 10:30 a.m.
The Michigan League, 3rd Floor, Henderson Room
Ann Arbor, MI
2 CEUs Available for Social Workers
As psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, our work is guided by a fundamental premise--that it is possible to improve the lives of those who seek our assistance. However, not all patients respond well to therapy, and indeed, a few may not respond at all. Therapeutic failures may result from poor technique, resistance, countertransference, or external circumstances. Yet another, particularly disturbing, possibility is that the individual may simply be beyond help. The most tragic outcome of therapeutic failure, suicide, is illuminated in this paper. Beginning with a case involving the failed treatment of a preadolescent boy whose father had committed suicide, the presenter will then explore the suicide of a close relative, which occurred five years ago, and the profound influence it has had and continues to exert over his clinical practice and teaching.
Jerrold R. Brandell is Distinguished Professor and Coordinator of the Doctoral Concentration in Clinical Scholarship at Wayne State University School of Social Work (Detroit), where he has taught since 1992. He has held visiting professorships at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (Zurich, Switzerland, 2014), Lund University (Sweden, 2010), and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand, 1999), and has led workshops and lectured widely on clinical topics in the United States and abroad. A practicing child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, he has published more than 50 papers and book chapters, and is the author or editor of twelve books, including Psychodynamic Social Work (Columbia, 2004), Essentials of Clinical Social Work (Sage, 2014), and Celluloid Couches, Cinematic Clients: Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in the Movies (SUNY Press, 2004). He is the (Founding) Editor of Psychoanalytic Social Work, and also serves on two other editorial boards. In 2001, the National Academies of Practice recognized Jerry as a distinguished practitioner.
Learning objectives - attendees will be able to:
1. Discuss the possible causes of therapeutic failure, with particular
focus on clients who cannot be helped by treatment.
2. Reconsider a deeply ingrained professional belief that a correct
understanding and clinical approach to a client makes suicide a
3. Consider the possibility that the ultimate reason for the loss of
such clients is not due to a "practice gap," but rather reflects the
limitations of psychotherapy itself, and the science upon which it is
The Michigan Psychoanalytic Council (MPC) is an independent, contemporary training institute founded on feminist principles and open to diverse theoretical perspectives. We offer a positive professional community and welcome colleagues from within and without the psychoanalytic community to join us for our free monthly programs and classes. No registration is needed. 2 CEUs available for Social Workers licensed in Michigan for a $10 fee for non-members. Monthly programs include continental breakfast.
For more information, please contact Cynthia Hockett, PhD at email@example.com