Women's College Hospital

Women's College Hospital

May 07, 2007 12:33 ET

MEDIA ADVISORY: Women's College Hospital-Conference on Gender Issues in Psychotherapy with the Medically Ill

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 7, 2007) -

WHAT: The Mental Health in Medicine program at the New Women's College
Hospital, in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry of the
University of Toronto, is hosting a one-day conference on Friday,
May 11th, 2007 called

Not Just Any Body's Therapy:
Gender Issues in Psychotherapy with the Medically Ill

The conference brings together renowned experts to explore
how to better address the gendered mental health needs of
patients suffering from chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Attending the conference are approximately 100 people from across
Ontario including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists,
physicians, nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists -
all eager to learn about cutting-edge approaches for treating
patients suffering from both mental and physical conditions.

Highlights of speakers and presentations are listed below. An
agenda with a detailed list of speakers and presentations is

WHEN: Friday, May 11th, 2007
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

WHERE: Women's College Hospital
Cummings Auditorium
76 Grenville Street, 1st floor
Toronto, Ontario

WHY: The powerful link between mental health and chronic or
life-threatening illnesses challenges healthcare practitioners to
take psychiatric or psychological as well as physical and other
factors into consideration when recommending treatments. The
gendered experiences both patients and practitioners bring to the
psychotherapeutic interaction add further complexity. This
conference provides health professionals an opportunity to learn

- Gender sensitive interventions in psychotherapy for patients
suffering from medical illnesses
- The interplay between histories of trauma and medical illnesses
- The use of specific psychotherapeutic techniques for patients
suffering from both mental and physical illnesses.


Norma Meneguzzi Spall
Partners and Edell
(416) 686-9110 or norma@partnersandedell.com



Friday, May 11, 2007
Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Illness as a Call for Stories

Arthur Frank, University of Calgary sociologist and author of the Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness and Ethics.

Ill people tell stories that help them order their experiences of illness and make sense of what has happened to them. Gendered experiences can colour these stories. For example, women may be more likely than men to experience invasive medical interventions as violent intrusions, and may be burdened by societal expectations to maintain their appearance during medical treatment in ways not expected of men. The traditional "medical history" is not the patient's story. Learn how to better understand the patient's story from the patient's perspective, taking gendered experiences into account.

Minding the Body: What Really Matters in the Experience of Illness

Ellyn Kaschak, internationally acclaimed and award-winning psychologist at University of San Jose, a pioneer in the field of feminist psychology, editor of the journal Women and Therapy, and author of Minding the Body: Psychotherapy with Women with Life-threatening and Chronic Illness.

There are risks associated with not dealing with patients in a holistic manner: people can feel alienated while going through the medical system, and disconnected from other people and themselves. Women in particular may be affected by not feeling entitled to be taken care of. The first step in improving care is by understanding the ways in which body, psyche and soul are all involved in healing.

Mind/Body Connections: The Long-Term Health Effects of Trauma

Jane Leserman, sociologist and researcher at the University of North Carolina and author of groundbreaking research on the interaction of early life trauma and the later development of gastrointestinal disorders.

Sexual and physical abuse and other forms of trauma can have widespread and enduring negative effects on health. Having examined the effects of trauma in patients suffering with HIV or chronic pain, questions can be raised regarding whether changing psychological treatment paradigms could mitigate the negative consequences of trauma.

:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Introductions
9:15-9:45 Dr. Jane Leserman: Mind/Body Connections: The Long-Term
Health Effects of Trauma
9:55-10:25 Dr. Ellyn Kaschak: Minding the Body: What Really Matters
in the Experience of Illness
10:35-10:50 Coffee/Networking Break
10:50-11:20 Dr. Arthur Frank: Illness as a Call for Stories
11:30-12:15 Discussion Panel
12:15-13:30 LUNCH
13:30-14:45 Concurrent Workshop Sessions I
14:45-15:00 Coffee/Networking Break
15:00-16:15 Concurrent Workshop Session II
16:15-16:30 Wrap-up & Evaluation

Panel Discussion:

The Medically Ill Client: How Do Gender and Illness Shape the Tasks of Psychotherapy?

Presenters: Arthur Frank, Ellyn Kaschak, Jane Leserman

All three keynote speakers will participate in a facilitated panel discussion. During the panel, our featured speakers will respond to questions from participants, the moderator, and each other on a variety of issues related to the conference theme including: the role of gender in shaping the development and experience of illness, how therapists' gender and own experiences with illness inform the psychotherapeutic process, and how gender influences the experience of facing life-threatening illness and death.

Concurrent Workshop Sessions I (13:30-14:45)

Therapeutic Uses of Narrative for Men & Women Living with HIV & AIDS

Presenters: Allan Peterkin & Arthur Frank

In this workshop on storytelling and healing, Dr. Peterkin will describe Narrative Competence Psychotherapy, a model of therapeutic writing pioneered at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Peterkin will guide workshop participants in doing some of the experiential writing exercises that he uses in his Writing Group for persons living with HIV and AIDS. Dr. Frank will join in a discussion exploring the notion that ill people are wounded storytellers whose healing processes are aided by giving voice to their (and our) stories.

Issues in Couple Therapy When a Partner is Ill

Presenters: Almuth Weigeldt, Jane Dalton and guest presenter Ellyn Kaschak

This workshop will inform participants about the provision of Relational Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples affected by medical illness and chronic conditions. Effects on typical gender roles and sexuality will be highlighted using case examples.

Transference Issues in Psychotherapy with Elderly Patients

Presenters: Lynne Peters & Mary Addison

The workshop will draw on clinical experience in psychotherapy, both individual and group, with older patients. A focus on transference and countertransference issues will illuminate gender-specific and age-related themes, such as parent-child dynamics. Participants will be able to apply these perspectives to their own work with older men and women.

Traumatic experience during cancer treatment, the relevance of stress response syndromes

Presenter: Jon Hunter

Cancer treatment can be difficult for the patient who has experienced previous trauma, or can itself be experienced as a traumatic event. Horowitz's model of stress response syndromes is a useful, clinically applicable method of understanding patients' experience and arriving at a therapeutic plan. This seminar will address these issues via the use of case examples, literature description, and group discussion.

Concurrent Workshop Sessions II (15:00-16:15)

When the Therapist Has an Illness: Implications for Therapeutic Practice
Presenter: Ellyn Kaschak

In this workshop, we will consider the issues involved when it is the therapist who has a chronic or life-threatening illness. Specific examples and dilemmas will be presented and there will be an opportunity for group members to discuss questions that they may have about their own circumstances.

Mixed vs. Gender Specific Psychotherapy Groups in Work with the Medically Ill

Presenter: Shari Kirsh

Dr. Kirsh will include colleagues and workshop participants in an experiential learning exercise. She will model two process-oriented psychotherapy groups, one woman only and one mixed gender. She will explore the differences in focus, group dynamics and the therapist's role in facilitating mixed gender versus women's process groups.

Observations Concerning Gender and Illness in Mindfulness Programs

Presenter: Tatiana Melnyk

Beginning with an experiential mindfulness exercise to obtain a flavor for MBSR, Dr. Melnyk will draw from her seven years of conducting mindfulness groups with both oncology patients and artist groups to talk about observations concerning differences and similarities between male and female clients with respect to program participation and outcome. The question of to what extent gender analysis is at all warranted in addressing mindfulness programs will be explored.

Gender and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Presenter: Brenda Toner

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has received increased attention in light of a recent shift in conceptualization of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a disorder of brain-gut function. This workshop will discuss ways of further developing CBT interventions that are more clinically relevant and meaningful to health care providers and individuals with a diagnosis of IBS. A theme from a CBT intervention will be presented to illustrate how CBT interventions can be incorporated within a larger social context.

Further details and biographies of speakers can be found at http://www.womensresearch.ca/notjustanybody/sessions.php

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