Presented by: Elena Cucco, Ph.D. and Barbara L. Goldsmith, Psy.D.

Please note: This is a FREE event. Continuing education credits will NOT be offered for this brunch presentation, which is intended primarily for graduate students.

As psychotherapists, we feel intense pressure to “do something” when the clients we seek to help experience intense psychic pain and distress that might be expressed in panic, suicidal ideation, or self-harming behaviors.   The pressure to act can come from a variety of sources both internal and external.  External factors can arise from institutional demands, legal liability, or insurance policies. Internal factors stemming from countertransference, as well as our desire to be helpful can take shape in re-enactments stemming from the therapist’s own personal issues.  The emphasis on using only “evidence-based” interventions devalues the importance of the therapeutic relationship and the therapist’s role as witness and instead adds a pressure or an urgency to “do something” beyond listening and containment. The above factors will be discussed as they pertain to graduate training and clinical work at a time that concrete interventions and techniques are valued over an understanding of relational dynamics.

Elena Cucco, PhDcurrently works at Lehigh University’s Counseling and Psychological Services where she provides individual and group psychotherapy as well as psychological assessment and outreach services to a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2018 and completed her internship training at the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Healthcare System. Afterward, she engaged in a postdoctoral fellowship in Princeton University’s counseling center where she married her clinical interest in treating trauma with her ardor for working with college populations.  

Barbara L. Goldsmith, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia and Rosemont, PA. She is adjunct associate professor at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University and is on the faculty of the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis in Philadelphia. She is a training consultant for the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and was founding president of the Philadelphia Center for Psychoanalytic Education. She is the director of the PSPP Mentorship Program, which is now in its fifteenth year.

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