Psychoanalytic Treatment of Suicidal Patients – The Contributions of John T. (Terry) Maltsberger
The 2017 S. Joseph Nemetz Memorial Lecture
Dr. John T. (Terry) Maltsberger was an international leader in the psychoanalytic study of suicide, dedicated to understanding the subjective experience of suicidal patients. Through his writing, teaching and clinical consultations, Terry helped clinicians to appreciate the complexity of working with suicidal patients. He emphasized the importance of the therapist’s efforts to understand the patient’s experience of severe suffering and thoughts of death, bearing the patient’s pain as well as the simultaneous fear of the possibility of suicide. Terry taught that the therapist’s genuine affective engagement is critical, and that the therapeutic relationship between patient and therapist can be life saving. He encouraged clinicians and psychoanalysts to bear the risk of working with suicidal patients because he believed that for many of them, we are their best hope for survival.
In this program, we will examine Terry’s unique contributions to the psychoanalytic study of suicidal states. This includes understanding the breakdown of the self in a suicidal crisis, the experience of the body as alien, the potential for suicidal ideation to be life sustaining, the phenomenon of countertransference hate, and specific issues in personality disorders. We will also honor Terry as a teacher and mentor, whose generous personal contributions supported the professional development of many members of the BPSI community. We are fortunate to have Terry’s colleagues from the Boston Suicide Study Group to share their personal and professional knowledge of Terry’s contributions, and of his place in the current psychoanalytic understanding of the treatment of suicidal patients.
About the S. Joseph Nemetz Memorial Lecture
The Nemetz Memorial Lecture honors the history of American psychoanalysis. Established in 2009, the annual lecture focuses on the importance of communal memory: the idea that we honor our origins as we progress and further develop psychoanalysis in the United States. Lectures in S. Joseph Nemetz’s spirit – reflective, community-minded and open-minded – emphasize imaginative service to the profession (1) Eliot, T. S. (1943) East Coker: Four Quartets
Mark J. Goldblatt, MD (Panelist) — Psychoanalyst Member and Faculty, BPSI; Associate Professor of Psychiatry (part time), Harvard Medical School.
Elsa Ronningstam, PhD (Panelist) — Psychoanalyst Member and Faculty, BPSI; Associate Professor (part time), Harvard Medical School; Clinical Psychologist, McLean Hospital.
Benjamin Herbstman, MD, MHS (Panelist) — Candidate, BPSI; Lecturer (part time), Harvard Medical School; Assistant Psychiatrist, McLean Hospital.
Mark Schechter, MD (Moderator) — Psychoanalyst Member, BPSI; Chair, Departmentof Psychiatry, North Shore Medical Center; Instructor in Psychiatry (part time), Harvard Medical School.
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:
- Describe two of Dr. Maltsberger’s major contributions in advancing the study of suicide from a psychoanalytic perspective.
- Discuss the breakdown of the self in suicidal states and implications for psychotherapeutic treatment.
- Address countertransference issues in the treatment of suicidal patients, and describe two elements of “countertransference hate”.
Maltsberger, JT, Goldblatt MJ, Ronningstam E, Weinberg I, Schechter M. Traumatic subjective experiences invite suicide. J Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry. 2011 Winter;39(4):671-3.
Maltsberger, JT, Ronningstam E, Weinberg I, Schechter M, Goldblatt MJ. Suicide fantasy as a life-sustaining recourse. Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry. 2010 Winter;38(4):611-23.
Maltsberger, JT, Schechter M, Herbstman, B, Ronningstam E, Goldblatt MJ. Suicide Studies Today: Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? Crisis 2015; Vol. 36(6): 387-389.
9:00am-9:10am: Welcome, Announcements; 9:10am- 9:25am: Moderator’s Introduction; 9:25am – 9:50am: Presentation I; 9:50am – 10:15am Presentation II; 10:15am – 10:30am Break; 10:30am – 10:55am Presentation III; 10:55am – 12:00pm Panel response and Audience discussion.
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 3 hours of CE.
Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Social Workers: Please contact The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Instiute’s Administrative Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-266-0953.
Please note: Per NASW requirements, social works must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
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