Section of Psychotherapy 2014 Conference Report


Section of Psychotherapy conference welcomes over 100 delegates in Hong Kong

‘Stirring up prehistoric time:  epigenetics, traumatic rupture and repair.’ This was the theme of the 2014 Section of Psychotherapy Conference in Hong Kong attended by 110 registrants.

Our keynote speakers included Professor Moshe Szyf, from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

He gave two keynote addresses, first on how epigenetic mechanisms mediate the impact of early life experiences, then a second address on the clinical implications of epigenetic processes in cancer and mental health.

His thesis was well illustrated by Professor Louise Newman, from Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Melbourne in her two presentations : the first, ‘Transgenerational trauma: recapitulation of Traumatic themes in early infant-parent interaction’, and the second, ‘Working with Borderline mothers: approaches to mentalisation and repair’.

The themes were elaborated in the psychoanalytic context by Professor Salman Akhtar from Jefferson Medical College and Psychoanalytic Centre of Philadelphia in his two keynote presentations. ‘Generosity: typology and therapeutic applications’, and ‘Gratitude: typology and therapeutic applications’. The importance of generosity and gratitude in repair was emphasized.

Other papers included an excellent case report by Hong Kong psychiatrist, Dr Irene Kam, a paper on the resolution of the Developmental Depression in recovery of the self by Ms Caroline Andrews and Dr Elizabeth O’Brien, a paper by Dr George Halasz on ‘Varieties of ending experience within and beyond the consulting room: from enchantments to nachtraglichkeit’.

Further presentations included: ‘Terror, survival and therapeutic engagement’ by Mrs Rosslyn Chandler, ‘The frightened little boy in the suit of armour: faulty attachment as trauma’, by Dr Luciano Diana.

Dr Glenys Dore presented a paper about brief interventions for PTSD, and Dr Joan Haliburn and Dr Michael Williamson presented a longer session teaching the Short term intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy based on the Conversational Model (STIPP-CM).

Dr Stephen Parker  presented a paper on a trainee therapist’s evolution using brief, structured therapies in working with psychotic disorders, and Dr David Westcombe  presented a paper entitled ‘Prehistory, trauma and the Lacanian Real’.

The conference concluded with a panel of all three keynotes to summarise and discuss the material.

The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine served as an excellent venue, and the conference organiser, Ellen Berah and her team deserve credit for attending to all the details in a professional and efficient manner.

Ilana Nayman, Conference Convenor