It Goes Both Ways: How we make and Avoid Making Contact with Our Clients

Presenter: Jackie Cohen, LCSW
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2019
(Attendance at a previous session is not required to attend the current or future sessions.)
Time: 10 am to 12 pm | 2 CEs
(Please arrive at 9:30 am for registration, refreshments and socialization.)
Location: Merion, PA (19066)
(Exact address will be provided after you register.)

Gestalt therapy has at its core the belief that it is through full and rich contact that healing occurs. As therapists we sometimes find that making good contact with a client flows easily, bringing a sense of mutuality and fulfillment to both you and your client. With other clients, however, the contact-making may be difficult and we're left wondering what we're missing or what we might be bringing to the meeting that is interfering with our ability to attune well.

Gestalt therapy teaches that there are 5 ways of resisting making full and healthy contact with another. In this 5- part Coffee and Conversation series we will explore these resistances:

First meeting: Introjection (January 20, 2018)
Second meeting: Projection (May 12, 2018)
Third meeting: Retroflection (September 29, 2018)
Fourth meeting: Confluence (January 12, 2019)
Fifth meeting: Deflection (TBD)

Each 2-hour meeting will be dedicated to an in-depth exploration of each of one of these resistances.
You do not have to sign up for all the meetings and members are welcome to attend at any point.

In each of these Coffee and Conversations participants we will explore how each of these resistances can be met therapeutically. We will also explore how we as therapists might be bringing our own anxieties and negative past experiences to our attempts to attune with our clients. There will be opportunity to discuss case material as well as role play difficult therapeutic situations.


  1. Learn the Gestalt theoretical concept of resistances to contact.
  2. Provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the resistance to contact being studied.
  3. Provide an opportunity for participants to discuss clients with whom they have difficulty making contact.
  4. Provide participants with an opportunity to role-play these difficult clients in order to gain a deeper understanding of how the client is resisting contact, how the therapist's own dynamics might be getting in the way, and ways of establishing good therapeutic contact.

About the Presenter:
Jackie Cohen, LCSW has been in private practice in Merion for 30 years seeing individuals, couples, and families. Jackie is a past faculty member of the Gestalt Institute of Philadelphia where she taught theory and performed demonstrations of Gestalt concepts and theory for over 20 years. She is also the co-founder of Relationship Theater. Her areas of specialty include working with adult children of narcissistic parents and helping clients with public speaking anxiety.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits. (Please print this email and keep in your file along with your CE in case you are audited.)

Cost: No charge for PSCSW Members to attend; $20 for Non Members to attend. There is a $10 fee for anyone wishing a CE certificate.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office (

  • January 12, 2019
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm