The B.B. Zeitlyn Psychotherapy Training Fund

Autonomic Countertransference – How we can learn from our own bodily reactions


Speaker: Dr Rob Hale


Saturday 9 July 2022

11am – 2pm

Tea/coffee from 10.30am



Dr Rob Hale will present and discuss a recent paper exploring countertransference in all its forms as a vital tool to the understanding of our clients and patients, particularly of those with a psychopathic psychic structure. The disturbing emotions aroused in the therapist are evoked via the autonomic nervous system. Violence provokes a sympathetic reaction, perverse sexuality a parasympathetic response; in each case this is at a largely unconscious level and thus all the more powerful. The impact on the therapeutic process is then examined both at an individual and an institutional level. My definition of a psychopath is “someone who brings out the worst in me”. The talk will make links between suicide, violence and perversion.


Rob Hale, like Bernard Zeitlyn, originally trained as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He held a research post at St Mary's hospital in London where he worked closely with people who had attempted suicide. Rob Hale worked at the Portman Clinic for many years with patients who acted out in a violent or sexually deviant way. He is the co-author with Donald Campbell of Working in The Dark: Understanding the pre-suicide state of mind, published by Routledge in 2017.


This event inavailable online (price £35) or in-person (£50 including lunch).


To apply for tickets visit www.bbzeitlyntrust.org.uk and click on Calendar