The Difficult Superego – the Work of Harold Searles

One of the most challenging aspects of our work is a pervasive perfectionism that can so dominate our own minds as therapists and greatly inhibit the emotional growth of our patients. The pressure to get it right and have the answers can undermine therapeutic work with both participants. One of the psychoanalytic writers who has most directly addressed these problems is Harold Searles, an American psychoanalyst greatly influenced both by the British object relations tradition, especially Bion, and the American interpersonal tradition. In the fall meetings we will read articles focused on the experience of the therapist with the problem of a overly demanding superego, and in the winter section we will look at articles related to the therapeutic process.

Students will learn to:

  • Describe how an overly harsh superego undermines psychotherapy work.
  • Apply the concept of the difficult superego to their own work with patient.

This course is cosponsored with the Alliance. Please contact the instructor directly to enroll.

Terry Hanson’s phone: 206-517-4198

Course Details

In-Person at Terry Hanson’s Office: 7056 18th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Tuesdays at 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Fall class dates: 11/12, 11/19, 11/26, 12/3

Winter class dates: 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11

CEUs: 1.5 per class, 12.0 total

Class Size: Minimum 4 | Maximum 8

Fee: $300


Terry Hanson
Terry HansonPhD
Terry Hanson, PhD, has been involved in both COR and the Northwest Alliance for many years and has served as the Alliance President. He has his practice in Seattle.