Sadder but Wiser: Working with The Depressive Personality – February 25th 2017, 2-5pm (3 CE hours) – MONTECITO, CA

This seminar will explore the introjective defensive style of the depressive personality from a broadly psychodynamic perspective. We will discuss constructive ways of approaching the depressive personality in therapy.  The depressive is emotionally sensitive, self-critical, fearful of rejection, and often carries around an inordinate amount of inappropriate guilt and unmourned losses.  Healthy depressives often make up for their own perceived failures by trying to heal others and doing good deeds; more disturbed depressives may descend into self-hatred, mood disorder, and even psychotic features.


Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs

img_3622aMatthew Bennett Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute and Reiss Davis Center in Los Angeles

DATE: February 25th, 2017 Saturday
TIME: 2:00 pm -5:00 pm
# of CE CREDITS: 3

Montecito Library
1469 East Valley Road
Montecito, CA 93108

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* To qualify for early bird registration price you have to register and pay online no later than 10 days before the event (before February 15, 2017).

We always welcome last minute participants, however, to ensure materials availability we encourage you to register online prior the event.
On-Site Registration at the door starting at 1:45 pm


The depressive personality has been left out of DSM nomenclature, with the result that many therapists are unfamiliar with this personality style and its interpersonal dynamics. The depressive style compares a warm, relational interpersonal style with fear of loneliness and abandonment, and tends to idealize others while devaluing the self. Depressive personalities have trouble getting angry and commonly internalize their own natural aggression out of fears of being bad people. This seminar explored ways of understanding and navigating the depressive perspective from a broadly psychodynamic perspective.

The depressive personality organization has been described in the psychoanalytic literature and is common among psychotherapists and others who gravitate into healing professions, although the diagnosis was lost in the historical shifts of the DSM. The personality organization involves introjective defenses against fears of object-loss and a pervasive, irrational sense of guilt. This seminar will explore theoretical, diagnostic, and treatment issues surrounding the depressive personality organization, the history of the diagnosis, and how to differentiate depressive personality from dysphoric or depressive mood disorders. The discussion examined the essential features of the depressive personality organization at several levels: archetypal, object relations, self-psychology, and behavioral as well as cultural considerations. The seminar also will explore some of the more important “rules of the road” in treating depressives in therapy, including how to navigate the depressive tendency to please the therapists and other risks associated with the “retreat into health.”

  1. Participants will be able to identify characteristic defensive styles and interpersonal behavior cues of depressive personalities
  2. Participants will be able to identify popular and culture-based lay perspectives on the depressive personality organization
  3. Participants will be able to develop strategies which contribute to an effective therapeutic stance in psychotherapy with depressive personalities

2:00 - 2:45 pm -INTRODUCTION : Orientation to depressive dynamics; definitions and labels
                              1. Background and history of the diagnosis
                              2. Problems with DSM nosology
                              3. Differentiating depressive personality from depression
                              4. Popular conceptualizations of depressive dynamics
                              5. Prevalence among therapists
                             1. Defensive style
                             2. Object relations
                             3. Self-psychology
3:30 - 3:45 pm - BREAK (approximate time)
                            1. Countertransference issues
                            2. The hazards of the transference cure
                            3. Interventions and therapeutic stance
                            4.The depressive personality in interpersonal contexts
4:30 - 5:00 pm - THE DEPRESSIVE PERSONALITY IN THE CONTEXT OF CULTURE; The depressive dynamic versus narcissism in American culture.


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.


Cancellation by Aeolian Center: The Aeolian Center reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule any event, for which registrants will receive a full refund or credit.

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.