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Contemporary Freudian Society

ANNUAL ETHICS CONFERENCE "The Ethics of Bearing Witness to Power Abuse and Sexual Exploitation"

One Session Program (3 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Johanna M. Arenaza, PsyD and Jennifer B. Unterberg, PhD
Date: Sunday, March 25, 2018
Location: American University, School of International Studies, Founders Room, Terrace Level (West Side of Intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenue with free parking in underground garage) Washington, DC
Time: 12:00-3:15pm

This conference will explore ethical, clinical and training issues for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists that arise when patients present material about the abuse of power and sexual misconduct in their own lives. Experiences of sexual harassment and abuse are moving front and center for many patients in their sessions at this time as a by-product of the #Metoo movement. Since clinicians can also be survivors of such experiences, they are at risk of over-identifying with patients. The various dynamics within shared trauma that can potentially compromise the therapist’s capacity to practice in an ethical and therapeutic manner will be drawn out.

Sexual boundaries violations and non-sexual abuse of power remain a significant problem within the profession of psychoanalysis. The presenters will highlight and discuss the vulnerabilities through which sexual boundary violations can occur in the offices of well-meaning clinicians. The presenters will also discuss challenging power dynamics within training institutes towards candidates.

This workshop aims to help professionals practice in an ethical manner when treating victims of abuse of power, to understand the circumstances that make clinicians vulnerable to committing sexual violations, and to explore detrimental aspects of power differential in psychoanalytic training.  Attendees will be encouraged to share examples of their work, and how their experiences with #Metoo may create clinical and ethical dilemmas.

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