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Digital Seminar

Mistakes of the Heart: Repairing Therapeutic Rupture

Janina Fisher, PhD
6 Hours 15 Minutes
Jul 02, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Like parenting, psychotherapy can be only “good enough.” Therapeutic mistakes are inevitable, but generally, they occur in the privacy of an office with no one but the client with whom we can process them. We may critique ourselves or try to ignore the shame we feel, but we rarely have the chance to turn our mishaps into opportunities. 

This workshop explores how what drives us to take on the work of psychotherapy can also contribute to “mistakes of the heart.”   We make mistakes because we care so much, because we want to help—not because we do not.   Whether the mistakes we make are clinically mis-attuned or the result of our own internal conflicts, there is much to learn both about the power of “repair,” what happens when therapist and client resolve to recover from a rupture to the relationship caused by empathic failure, mistakes, or even ethical errors.    

Early attachment is built upon the cycles of infant distress and parental ‘repair.’   The emphasis is less on understanding and more on intuiting what children need so that feelings of distress are soothed, comforted, or transformed from painful to pleasurable, from tears to laughter.   In this workshop, we will learn how to use the therapeutic relationship to heal the wounds of childhood by repairing the inevitable ‘misses’ that accompany our best efforts as therapists.



PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 6.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Janina Fisher, PhD's Profile

Janina Fisher, PhD Related seminars and products

Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and former instructor at The Trauma Center, a research and treatment centre founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known as an expert on the treatment of trauma, Dr Fisher has also been treating individuals, couples and families since 1980.

She is past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

She is co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma (2015) and author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation (2017) and the forthcoming book, Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma (in press).

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Janina Fisher has an employment relationship with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. She is a consultant for Khiron House Clinics and the Massachusetts Department of MH Restraint and Seclusion Initiative. Dr. Fisher receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. Dr. Fisher has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Janina Fisher is on the advisory board for the Trauma Research Foundation. She is a patron of the Bowlby Center.


  1. Identify common categories of therapeutic error 

  2. Differentiate mistakes or successes from client satisfaction or dissatisfaction 

  3. Distinguish ethical errors, clinical errors, and “mistakes of the heart” 

  4. Identify therapist attachment issues that most frequently drive clinical mistakes 

  5. Describe common countertransferential internal conflicts experienced by therapists 

  6. Discuss ways of using mistakes in the service of growth and change 

  7. Utilize co-regulation to restore therapeutic attunement 

Target Audience

  • Psychotherapists
  • Counsellors
  • IAPT practitioners
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counsellors
  • Nurses
  • Psychiatrists
  • GPs
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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