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The Second Annual Dr. Antonio R. Virsida Commemorative Conference "The Artistry of Relationship: The Psychotherapy of Psychosis, Trauma and Other Extreme States"

  • 11/07/2020
  • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • ZOOM Virtual Conference


  • For all other License Types, Out of State and Retired
  • Members ONLY - Student ID Required
  • Student ID Required
  • For all other License Types, Out of State and Retired
  • For all other License Types, Out of State and Retired
  • UNLICENSED student with valid student ID
  • UNLICENSED student with valid student ID

Registration is closed


PRESENTER:   James E. Gorney, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Time 9:00 Am - 2:00 PM

VIRTUAL - ZOOM Conference



Extending the boundaries of psychoanalytic technique in work with individuals inhabiting extreme states requires creativity and flexibility in the therapeutic relationship.  The therapist must be willing to enter into unknown territory with responsive spontaneity and individualized originality.  This is the realm of relational artistry.

To explore this creative approach to the therapeutic relationship, Dr. Gorney will first focus his investigation on the life and clinical contributions of Otto Will.  Dr. Will was an extraordinarily original and courageous psychotherapist who drew inspiration from his analysts—Harry Stack Sullivan and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann—from his clinical work at Chestnut Lodge and Austen Riggs, and from his own personal struggles with attachment, separation and disruption.  Otto Will developed a highly imaginative approach to psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a singular form of relational performance art, particularly when working in the zone of trauma and madness.  Dr. Will’s legacy will be explicated via a consideration of his life and career, firsthand accounts of his capacity for therapeutic genius, and a review of his significant clinical writings.

Dr. Gorney will provide three extensive case examples from his own practice, influenced and inspired by the deeds and teaching of Otto Will.  This material will illustrate how a creative utilization of the therapeutic relationship can be transformative in the treatment of extreme states.  The artistry of relationship will be explored in regard to working with traumatic states, psychotic transference, and unformulated or unrepresented experience.  Ample time will be provided for group clinical discussion and reflection.


James E. Gorney, Ph.D. is in independent practice in Knoxville, Tennessee.  A graduate of the William Alanson White Institute for Psychoanalysis in New York, he is the author of numerous presentations and papers on Winnicott, Lacan, self-psychology and innovations in psychoanalytic technique.  Dr. Gorney served on the staff of the Austen Riggs Center and has taught at New York Hospital-Cornell, Duquesne University, and the University of Tennessee.  He is past president of the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society and has been a recipient of the Hans Strupp Award for excellence in psychoanalytic education.


  1. Describe Otto Will’s innovative approaches to the treatment of madness via an artistry of relationship. 
  2. Understand the focal importance of human relatedness in the inflicting and healing of trauma.
  3. Describe techniques which facilitate the creation of transitional space when psychotic phenomena emerge within the clinical situation.
  4. Understand the critical task in psychotherapy of the co-creation of symbolic meaning and the eventual capacity for thinking with patients inhabiting unrepresented states.


9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Introduction and Reflections on Antonio R. Virsida, Ph.D.
9:15 AM – 10:45 AM Otto Will and the Artistry of Relationship
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM The Artistry of Relationship in Current Clinical Practice I – Dr. Gorney’s Work Traumatic States and Psychotic Transference
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch Break
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM The Artistry of Relationship in Current Clinical Practice II – Dr. Gorney’s Work In Regard to Treating Unrepresented or Unformulated Experience

*Learning assessments will be emailed to participants for CE credits 


If you would like to renew your membership or join SEFAPP and benefit from the member discount, please CLICK HERE




 This program, when attended in its entirety, is offered for 4 CE credits

SEFAPP is an approved continuing education provider by the Agency for Health Care Administration of the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (BAP #587, expires March 31, 2021). Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.  SEFAPP and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological  Association's Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to SEFAPP Administrator at (954) 597-0820.

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