Transgenerational Affect Phobia: How to understand and treat symptoms passed on from generation to generation

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Thursday April 20th, 2017    
0830 - 1515


Stavangar University Hospital, Department of Training and Research
Gerd Ragna Bloch Thorsens gate 8, N-4011, Stavangar

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Short Description: In this workshop, we’ll explore how to respond therapeutically when working with a client who is struggling with symptoms related to Transgenerational Affect Phobia, when avoidance of emotion results in a pattern of anxiety and destructive behaviors passed on from generation to generation. In families suffering with transgenerational trauma, most emotions are forbidden and children frequently become the ‘identified patient’ due to their acting-out behaviors. Clinicians are faced with the impossible task to ‘fix the problem,’ but are rarely given the opportunity to get to the ‘root of the problem’ by working with the whole family. This workshop will use video segments of psychotherapy sessions to illustrate how to identify, assess and treat a Transgenerational Affect Phobia. You’ll learn how to assess your client’s symptoms and create a hypothesis that guides treatment. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of family dynamics and learn how to resolve a Transgenerational Affect Phobia through the use of exposure and desensitization. Whether you are working with an individual or a whole family, you’ll receive tools to apply in your practice that will help your ‘identified patient’ experience less anxiety, let go of destructive defenses and access adaptive affect and associated healthy behaviors.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to identify a Transgenerational Affect Phobia
  • How to create a core conflict formulation for each member of the family
  • How to create a treatment plan to resolve a Transgenerational Affect Phobia
  • How to help your client cultivate self-compassion
  • How to apply ‘exposure and desensitisation’ so your client can experience a range of affects (grief, sadness, anger, rage, positive feelings of the self)

Learning Methods:

  • Video segments of psychotherapy sessions
  • Keynote Presentation
  • APT-Forms
  • Interactive exercises


  • Courtois, C & Ford J. (2012), Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequence Relationship Based Approach
  • Donvan J., Osborn, K., & Rice, S. (2016), Paraverbal Communication in Psychotherapy: Beyond the Words
  • McCullough, et al (2003), Treating Affect Phobia: A Manual for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
  • Panksepp, J. (2013), The Archealogy of the Mind
  • Perry, B. & Szalavitz (2006), The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook-What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing
  • Van Der Kolk, B. (2012), The Body Keeps the Score


Video segments from a parent consultation and adolescent, young adult and adult psychotherapy sessions

8:00-8:30 Morning Coffee

8:30-9:45 How to identify, assess and create a treatment plan to resolve a Transgenerational Affect Phobia

9:45-10:00 Break

10:00-11:00 How a Transgenerational Affect Phobia impacts the whole family and why it is important to treat immediately

11:00-12:00 Lunch

12:00-13:30 How to work with individuals, parents, the whole family

13:30-14:00 Break

14:00-15:00 Demonstration

15:00-15:15 Q&A

Kristin A. R. Osborn, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor and was trained by- and then trained others on behalf of Dr. Leigh McCullough, PhD, founder of Affect Phobia Therapy (APT). She founded the Certified APT™-Training Program in 2009 and presents internationally, offering ongoing training in Boston, London and Stockholm. She is a lecturer (part-time) in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is the Director of HMS Psychotherapy Research Program and has recently launched a research study on therapist affect phobia and its impact on patient outcome. Her passion is teaching clinicians how to integrate research in their clinical training and she developed the ATOS-Therapist Scale, Accessibility Scale, Congruent/Incongruent Scale and the Control Mastery Scale, which are featured in her book, Paraverbal Communication in Psychotherapy: Beyond the Words , Rowman & Littlefied (2016). Kristin is President of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA), on the advisory board of Stockholms Akademi for Psychkoterapiutbildning (SAPU) and a member of the continuing education faculty at William James College and RINO-Noord Holland. She has published articles and chapters on training clinicians including, Learning how to rate video-recorded therapy sessions: A Practical Guide for Trainees & Advanced Clinicians, Psychotherapy Journal (2011); On-line Supervision in Affect Phobia Therapy, Using Technology to Enhance Counselor Supervision, American Psychological Association (2016); and Creating Change Through Focusing on Affect: Affect Phobia Therapy, Working on Emotions in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice, Guilford Press (2014). To learn more about Kristin and her work, go to

Please email Monica Bertinussen for further details

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