Case conceptualization goes beyond diagnosis to determining how a client's presentation makes sense. Psychodynamic conceptualization combines focus on emotions and unconscious motivation with a relational emphasis, This seminar will give participants a chance to practice conceptualizing from a psychodynamic point of view, using their own de-identified psychotherapy cases, with help from the instructor and other participants. 


Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs

bennett2Matthew Bennett Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

DATE: March 6th, 2016, Sunday;
TIME: 2:00 pm am-5:00 pm
# of CE CREDITS: 3

Montecito Library
1469 East Valley Road
Montecito, CA 93108

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Case conceptualization is a way of thinking about a case that provides explanatory power; it is the process of making sense of a psychotherapy patient’s presenting problems. Conceptualization goes beyond reporting the facts of a case to drawing “lines” between the data points we’ve collected about a client. It makes sense of the case, and puts the presenting problems into perspective. Case conceptualization makes use of theoretical models to discern meaningful patterns in a client’s behavioral history, including the things they actually say and do in psychotherapy. This seminar will assist participants in developing psychodynamic case conceptualizations with their psychotherapy clients. Our perspective will be that the client’s behavior always makes sense in some way, and that clinical work amounts to finding out how it does make sense. We will focus in particular on the characteristic emphases of psychodynamic approaches: focus on affect, identification of defensive styles, analysis of themes and patterns, developmental factors, use of fantasy, and the psychotherapeutic relationship itself. Participants will be asked to present de-identified clinical cases to practice case conceptualization.

Confidentiality Notice

In this seminar, participants will be asked to discuss aspects of their current psychotherapy cases. It is the participant’s ethical responsibility to de-identify these cases in order to prevent release of identifying information. Please think broadly about this: even general occupational information, for example, can lead to identifying a person. It is also the participant’s ethical responsibility to maintain confidentiality around any case material presented in this seminar.

  1. Participants were able to differentiate psychodynamic case conceptualization from other approaches in at least three ways (such as tracking affect, identifying defensive styles, analysis of themes and patterns in client behavior, use of developmental history, the role of fantasy, and the role of relational/intersubjective factors).
  2. Participants were able to create a psychodynamic conceptualization regarding a selected case of psychotherapy presented in the seminar, using three or more of the factors described above.
  3. Participants were able to develop a treatment strategy based on a psychodynamic case conceptualization of a psychotherapy client


2:00 - 2:45 pm   INTRODUCTION: Discussion on the role of psychodynamic conceptualization

                1.Why conceptualize?

  1. Case conceptualization vs diagnosis
  2. General principles of psychodynamic case conceptualization

2:45- 3:30 pm    CASE MATERIAL

3:30 - 3:45 pm   BREAK (approximate time)

3:45 - 4:45 pm   CASE MATERIAL

4:45 - 5:00 pm   DISCUSSION


This course meets the qualifications for 3 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and LCSWs (as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences) and psychologists (as required by the California Psychological Association).

The Aeolian Center is approved by the California Psychological Association (provider # AEO001) to provide continuing education seminars for professional education for psychologists, MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and LCSWs. Aeolian Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Read more ...

To complete the course, and receive 3 CE credits attendees must:

  1. Be present for the entire time of the course
  2. Sign in at the beginning and out at the end
  3. Complete a written evaluation of the course
  4. To receive CE credit full attendance is required - No partial credit.

Certificate of attendance will be provided at the end of each course to those who have registered and paid for credit and fulfilled the requirements listed above. A replacement transcript can be provided if one is lost for no additional fee.

The Aeolian Center has not received any commercial or monetary support for this event or speaker, content of instruction (e.g., research grants, funding research findings etc.) or any benefit for endorsement of products (e.g., books, training, etc.) that could be construed as a conflict of interest.



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Cancellation by participant: If participant cancel the enrollment up to 48 hours prior to the event, he or she will receive a refund of the full fee minus a 25% service and administrative charge. No refunds for cancellations received after 48 hours prior to the event.

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A replacement certificate can be provided after the event if one is lost for no additional fee (if sent by email). To receive a copy of your continuing education certificate, please submit online request here (button below) or contact us with any additional questions.