Ruth Dean, Ph.D., M.S.W., Professor
…As a professor of social work who teaches students how to work with clients, I am always interested in finding ways for students to learn about the process of treatment. Terry’s presentation made the work with a client who is at serious risk of suicide very real and comprehensible. By detailing the events leading up to her nearly fatal attempt, the early therapy that tried but did not succeed in preventing the attempt, and the effective work that followed the attempt [Terry] brought the work, strange to say, to life. One could understand the difficult give and take that comprises a treatment when the stakes are high and risk of suicide is present. It is very unusual to have such a close and detailed glimpse of long term treatment with a suicidal client.
The talk graphically demonstrated what we mean by such concepts as a “holding environment,” “setting limits,” “availability” in times of crisis, and the mutual process that allows affect to be expressed and then gradually contained, understood and regulated. These concepts, the hallmark of any long-term psychotherapy, usually described in abstract terms, were readily demonstrated in this presentation…
I arranged for Terry…to be the key note speaker at a conference on suicide prevention held at Simmons School of Social Work the following year. The response to [Terry’s] presentation was extremely positive and even exceeded my expectation. Comments from those attending echoed my appreciation of the opportunity for such a close up view of the treatment process. Terry is an excellent speaker whose intelligence, emotional openness, warmth, humor and responsiveness make her ideas readily accessible.
Ruth G. Dean, M.S.W., Ph.D.
Professor, Simmons College, School of Social Work