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Veterans Affairs & AAPCSW Webinar: Managing Clinician Burnout

May 8, 2018 | Virtual conference

A part of the Veterans Health Administration Patient Care Services Grand Rounds series, in conjunction with the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW).

1 CE Credit

Webinar: 1:00-2:00PM ET
Date: Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
Registration: Please contact Scott Graybow - scottgraybow@yahoo.com
NOTE: AAPCSW members and other non-VA registrants will be invited with a registration link to this VHA Training.

Purpose Statement

Clinical work in the mental health field poses unique psychological challenges to clinicians. The seemingly endless needs of our patients, coupled with our own associations and emotional reactions to them, can threaten to undermine the quality of care patients receive when providers experience what is commonly referred to as ‘burnout’. At the VA, this reality is compounded by the fact that our patients frequently suffer with multiple layers of trauma that elicit distinct emotional responses within the clinicians from whom they seek treatment.

The following inter-professional case presentation and discussion seeks to provide VA mental health clinicians with an introduction to some fundamental psychodynamic concepts and the clinical techniques they inform which can address, manage, and, often, prevent clinician burnout. Through a case presentation and roundtable discussion, we will show how these concepts – transference, countertransference, working alliance -- provide useful and easily applicable ways to overcome clinical impasses and address ethical dilemmas and painful feelings (on the part of both patients and clinicians) that are hallmarks of clinician burnout. These concepts enable us to link the internal with the external phenomena affecting patients’ lives while enriching the ability of clinicians to reflect on their professional use of self.


At the end of the training, attendees will be able to:

  1. Articulate how and why the assessment of the psychosocial health of Veterans can be conceptualized using a dynamic framework.
  2. Explain the phenomenon of clinician burnout, its potential impact on the ability to provide effective and ethical clinical care, and its unique relationship to the treatment of Veterans and their families.
  3. Define three psychodynamic terms – transference, countertransference, working alliance – and explain their role in resolving the clinical dilemmas that arise in cases of clinician burnout.

Topics to be discussed / Keywords:
Burnout, Trauma, Clinical Impasse, Ethical Dilemma, Working Alliance, Transference, Countertransference


Kathryn Basham, PhD, LICSW Professor, Co-Director of PhD Program, Smith College School for Social Work. Institute of Medicine, congressionally-mandated committees on mental health of military and Veteran families. Distinguished Practitioner, NAP. Former Editor, Smith College Studies in SW. Author and co-author, texts and papers. Member, AAPCSW. Private practice, Northampton, MA.

Harold Kudler, MD, DFAPA Chief Consultant for Mental Health, VA Central Office. Chair, Service Members and Veterans Initiative, APsaA. Duke Univ. Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Durham, NC. Author, topics on treatment of Service Members, Veterans, and their families. Washington, DC.

Nancy Meyer, MSW, LICSW Board Member-at-Large, Washington Society of Psychoanalytic Psychology. Previously, Deployment Health Clinical Center and Department of Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Coming Home Project volunteer. Member, AAPCSW. Private Practice, Washington, DC.

Michele Rivette, LMSW, BCD Formerly, suicide prevention at VA. Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Inst. for Clinical SW, Chicago. Author, article on treatment with Iraq Veteran. Member, AAPCSW. Private practice, Ann Arbor, MI.


Scott Graybow, PhD, LCSW VA, New York, NY. Contemporary Freudian Society of New York; Int’l Erich Fromm Society; Editor, Progressive Psychoanalysis as a Social Justice Movement (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017). Public Relations Committee, AAPCSW.

Harold Kudler, MD, DFAPA (see above)

Penny Rosen, MSW, LCSW, BCD-P Past President, AAPCSW. NPAP. NY Inst. for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. Distinguished Practitioner, NAP. Reviewer, CSWJ. Private practice, New York, NY.

Laura Taylor, LSCSW VA Acting Chief Consultant and National Director, Social Work; Care Management and Social Work

Audience: The intended audience for this training includes Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Psychologists, Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Counselors, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Dietitians. The target audience also includes healthcare and administrative professionals who work with Veterans.

For further information contact:
Scott Graybow - scottgraybow@yahoo.com
Penny Rosen - rosenpmsw@aol.com