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Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience

  • PPSC 80 Fifth Avenue, Room 1408 New York, New York 10011 (map)

Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D.

*This talk has been approved by New York State for 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit for LMSWs and LCSWs.

Treating traumatized patients famously takes its toll on the treating therapist. Richard Gartner proposes an Interpersonal psychoanalytic term, “countertrauma,” as an alternate for "vicarious traumatization" to characterize this process. He also suggests the term “counterresilience” for clinicians’ positive inner responses to hearing how their patients have rebounded from life-shattering experiences. Countertrauma is a common occupational hazard when working with traumatized patients, yet is rarely discussed in depth from a personal perspective.

Dr. Gartner will focus on the conflict between therapists’ ability to empathize with patients’ deep pain vs. the need to preserve an inner core of strength and peace. He will elucidate in visceral, experience-near detail his own sometimes-disabling countertransference when working with profoundly traumatized individuals. Drawing from his experiences working with sexually traumatized men over three decades, he describes his countertraumatic reactions to engaging intimately with patients’ traumatic experiences. As he tracks his emerging negative and positive responses to his work with a devastatingly traumatized man, he considers how his work has changed his personal and professional life, both in his countertraumatized and counterresilient reactions. Focusing on changes in his worldview and an emerging sense of his own counterresilience, he considers how these conflicts have transformed him as an analyst and a human being.

Richard Gartner is a pioneer in treating sexually abused men and has worked with this population since the 1980s. He has published six books on the subject, three of them in 2017-2018. He is Training and Supervising Analyst, Faculty, and Founding Director of the Sexual Abuse Service at the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute in New York which has awarded him the Director’s Award for his contributions to the psychoanalytic understanding of trauma. A Co-Founder and Past President of MaleSurvivor: the National Organization against Male Sexual Victimization, the organization has honored him by establishing in his name an award for Clinical Contributions. He has been quoted widely on the subject of sexually abused men and boys in media outlets including the New York, London, and Los Angeles Times, 20/20, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and CBS, among others, and has written op-ed pieces published in the New York Times, New York Newsday, and the New York Daily News. In 2018 he was awarded both the annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology, given by the Division of Trauma Psychology of the American Psychological Association and the William Friedrich Memorial Child Sexual Abuse Research, Assessment and/or Treatment, given by the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT).

*Please note: A $5 surcharge will apply for those paying at the door, but we suggest buying your ticket in advance as the event may reach capacity before the date of the presentation.

For a refund to a PPSC Annex event, we must receive cancellation notice 7 days prior to the event. Please contact if you want to cancel within this time frame.

PPSC SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of Continuing Education for Licensed Social Workers #0054

*This PPSC event is wheelchair accessible, and any participant with a special need should contact PPSC at 212-633-9172 or in advance.

*PPSC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, national or ethnic origin, or analytic orientation in the administration of its admissions and educational policies.