How Neuroscience Enhances Clinical Practice: A Developmental Perspective

The Joseph Palombo Center for Neuroscience & Psychoanalytic Social Work at The Institute for Clinical Social Work announces

The Fall 2018 Conference

How Neuroscience Enhances Clinical Practice:

A Developmental Perspective

This conference addresses issues related to the application of current knowledge about brain development and brain functions in the clinical setting. The aim is to enhance clinicians’ effectiveness by enlarging their understanding of patients’ psychodynamics and increasing the repertoire of interventions available to them.

Keynote Speakers

Erika Schmidt: “My Brain Told Me to Do It”: A Clinician Considers Neuroscience in the Consulting Room

With all the information available about the findings of neuroscience, clinicians think about its implications for change and people in therapy try to make sense of its meaning in their personal lives.  Using clinical vignettes, ideas from neuroscience, and references in the popular press, this presentation will consider the ways neuroscience shows up in clinical work, musing on the question of how or whether it matters there.

Erika Schmidt, MSW, is President of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, a Training and Supervising Analyst on its faculty, and on the faculty of ICSW.  She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and on the Steering Committee of the Psychotherapy Action Network. She has a private practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

William D. GiesekeEfficacy: Pursuing the Holy Grail of Psychological Treatments

Using a clinical case of a young latency age boy this presentation will illustrate how a basic knowledge of neuroscience can be used in the psychodynamic treatment of a child. A central thesis is that those areas of the brain that are affected by the patient’s presenting problems must be re-engaged and re-connected or “re-wired” if the patient is to change. A second thesis is that a sense of self-efficacy is central to a feeling of a “good enough” sense of self-esteem.

William Gieseke, PhD, is on the Faculty of the CAPT Program at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and is private practice in Northfield, IL.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions                                                                                 

#1 Infancy: Trauma’s toll on infants and young children: Integrating neurobiological research and psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a frame for treatment.

Neurobiological development occurs most rapidly in early childhood. It is shaped by experiences and within the context of caregiver relationships. Traumatic stress can alter brain development. It can have long-term effects on affect regulation, internal working models of self, and attachment. This workshop will use a case study to explore working models of psychoanalytic treatment for young children who have been impacted by early trauma.

Gabriel Ruiz, MA, LCPC, is on the faculty of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, the Institute for Clinical Social Work, and visiting lecturer at the Saint Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. He maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in Chicago.

Amy Groessl, PhD, LCSW, is a visiting lecturer at the Institute for Clinical Social Work and is also a volunteer therapist with Give an Hour,TM  providing pro-bono psychotherapy for military service members and their families. She has a private practice in Chicago.

#2 School Age Children: The brain and mind of school age children: how neurocognitive and psychodynamic worlds collide

Bringing together neuroscientific and psychoanalytic literatures, this presentation outlines a preliminary working clinical model of case formulation. It considers the neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses that clients bring with them to treatment.  A case study is offered to highlight the interactions of subcortical and cognitive brain systems, attachment-based and other psychoanalytic theories, and clinical practices. In examining these issues through the work with latency age children, it explores the role of the brain’s ongoing development within the therapeutic context.

Priscilla C. Butler, Psy.D., is a staff psychotherapist and Co-Director of Psychological Assessment at Shared Vision Psychological Services.  Dr. Butler conducts psychodynamic psychotherapy and assessment with adults in a private practice in Chicago. 

#3 Adolescence: Teens Under Siege: Today’s Challenges and Their Clinical Impact

What is the impact of today’s environment on teenagers’ lives? School violence, social media, and hyper-competitive environments, to name a few of the external stressors, may have significant repercussions for youth. The presenters will discuss how the adolescent’s developing brain may be affected and the clinical implications for assessment and treatment.

Freda B Friedman, PhD, LCSW, RN, AP, ICSW Faculty, ICSW Board of Directors Cathedral Counseling Center: Consultant, DBT Program Private Practice, Chicago and Northfield.

Sue Terrell, PhD, LCSW, RN, Advisory Committee of Joseph Palombo Center for Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis former instructor at ICSW and The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago; Private Practice, Oak Park.

#4 Adulthood: Rethinking Personality:  How understanding neurocognition sheds light on adult relationships

Training in psychodynamic psychology has focused on the developmental trajectory of the personality.  While experience impacts the psychological development and defenses of adults, some adults carry not only the history of their emotional experience from childhood but also the legacy of their neuropsychological development. This presentations will focus on the effects of brain challenges such as disinhibition, processing speed, and working memory (including the role of assessment), and relate those to emotional experiences such as anger, intolerance, concrete thinking, and dissociation.

Andy Suth, PhD, is Associate Director of the Joseph Palombo Center at ICSW, Associate Professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology Private Practice in neuropsychological assessment and psychotherapy, Chicago 

#5 Aging: The CARE Pathway Model of Dementia:  Neurocognitive and Psychosocial Care for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Families

Almost 6 million Americans are living with some form of neurocognitive impairment or dementia and can differ dramatically in the types of symptoms they express.  Caregiving families have unique histories that influence coping.  A thorough neurocognitive and psychosocial understanding facilitates the clinicians’ ability to guide families in their mastery of these complex challenges, deepen relational bonds and establish a positive way forward.

Darby Morhardt, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor, Mesulam Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Director – Social Work,  Neurobehavior and Memory Clinic, Northwestern Medical Group

All five breakout sessions will be offered twice, once at 1:15 pm and later at 2:45 pm. This will permit those attending the conference to participate in two difference sessions. When registering, please indicate your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd preferences for each set of sessions.

For more information, you may call Shawna Jennings at 312-935-4234 or email Joseph Palombo at

Saturday, October 13, 2018

8:00 am – 8:30 am – Registration & Breakfast

8:30 am – 4:00 pm – Program

Institute for Clinical Social Work

401 South State Street Chicago, IL 60605

Registration Fee: $90.00 (After October 1st, $100)

Includes: 6 CEUs, Continental Breakfast and Lunch


The Mission of the Center is to maximize the effectiveness of mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults through the integration of neuroscience and psychoanalytic social work by offering educational opportunities to professionals and the lay public.

Founded in 1981 by leading clinicians, the Institute for Clinical Social Work’s accredited degree programs combine academic rigor and clinical training rooted in psychodynamic principles. Ready to advance your clinical expertise? Learn more about the Institute’s Master’s in Clinical Counseling and Psychotherapy, PhD in Clinical Social Work and continuing education programs at


For questions or more information contact Shawna Jennings or 312-935-4234.