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Half-Day, Virtual Conference - Trauma: Developmental and Psychodynamic Views, Then and Now featuring Annita Sawyer, PhD

  • May 13, 2023
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Virtual using Zoom
  • 201


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Please state your Colorado University/Institute program at registration.



Description: The program is targeted at all levels of practitioners of mental health services and will discuss the effects of relational trauma, misdiagnosis and misunderstanding of the effects on development, and the necessity of genuine relationship in the healing process. We will look at progress and the ongoing struggle to understand experiences of early trauma on development and implications for treatment.

Dr. Annita Sawyer will trace her journey as a suicidal adolescent in 1960, mistakenly diagnosed with schizophrenia and treated with ECT and lengthy hospitalizations over nearly 6 years. It was when she was assigned a young psychiatric resident that she began to improve. He reached her through genuine interpersonal interaction. Her life was saved through this relationship. As we look back at her experiences we can now recognize that relational trauma went unidentified at the time.

Please see Dr. Sawyer's biography for more information.

Discussion Panel Descriptions: Dr. Adler will discuss trauma and adolescent development, families and the ongoing nature of working through trauma throughout life. Dr. Stewart will discuss dissociation, state-related experience, difficulty with integration of traumatic material and apply knowledge of mutual regulation to the relationship between patient and therapist/analyst.

CME Objectives:
  1. Discuss the necessity of genuine, active therapeutic relationships and interactive recognition within safe therapeutic environments to reach and facilitate recovery for patients who have experienced relational trauma.
  2. Discuss the effects of relational trauma on development and interference with developing integrated and adaptive senses of self.
  3. Discuss ongoing professional struggles about recognizing trauma.


Annita Sawyer, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist in practice for over forty years. She has a BA and a PhD from Yale. As a member of the clinical faculty, she supervised Yale predoctoral fellows for fifteen years. 

For much of her adult life, Annita hid an adolescence spent in psychiatric hospitals, misdiagnosed and mistreated. After twenty years in successful practice, she read her hospital records, triggering a dramatic return of devastating early symptoms. As an experienced clinician in 2001, she recognized what had been avoided in 1960: she suffered from trauma, not schizophrenia. Again, with skilled help, she recovered.

To share what she learned, Annita became a writer. Her essays have appeared in both professional and literary journals and in three anthologies. Her memoir, Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass, won the 2013 Santa Fe Writers Project Nonfiction Grand Prize and was published in 2015.

Using herself as a case study, Annita speaks to lifetime consequences of childhood trauma, harmful effects of fads in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, the enduring impact of stigma and shame, and the power of human connection to heal.

Shoshana Shapiro Adler, PhD enjoys helping her patients overcome obstacles to their creativity, success, and relationships. She is a child and adult analyst and licensed psychologist who is on the faculty of the Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis and adjunct child faculty at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. She has taught and supervised both nationally and internationally, particularly for psychoanalytic training programs in Chengdu and Yichang, China. In addition to her clinical practice, Shana co-leads a monthly peer supervision group with Anita G. Schmukler, DO for interested Association for Child Psychoanalysis (ACP) members. As coordinator of the Schools Committee of the Denver Psychoanalytic Society (DPS), she consults in the Denver Metro area (see DPS’ School Outreach Service). Integrating two of her long-standing interests, she chairs the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsA) Study Group on Meditation and Psychoanalysis.

Margy Stewart, PsyD is a psychologist/psychoanalyst in Denver. She has extensive experience working with patients with relational trauma within hospital settings, and long-term outpatient practice. She began her work with traumatized people in the late 1980s while in graduate school and worked as an RN on a specialized, inpatient trauma unit . After becoming a psychologist, she continued providing psychotherapy for traumatized people in inpatient and partial care units and outpatient practice. Eventually, she worked solely in outpatient practice. Margy owes a lot to her patients for what she has gained from knowing and working with them. Margy is on the faculty of the Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis and a former President of the Denver Psychoanalytic Society. She is retired from working with patients but continues to teach and consult.


Registration is required. The Zoom link be emailed to registrants 24 hours before the event. Registration will close at noon (MDT) on May 11th. 


  • CO Trainees: $40.00 (Please list your CO training institution at registration)
  • DPS Members: $60.00
  • Non DPS Members: $75.00 

Conference Schedule (2.75 CME credits): Please log in by 8:55 AM so we may begin promptly at 9:00 AM (MDT)

 Time (MDT)  Description
 9:00 - 9:05 AM  Welcome & Introduction
 9:05 - 10:00 AM  Presentation by Dr. Sawyer
 10:00 - 10:05 AM  Break
 10:05 - 10:40 AM  Discussion with Dr. Stewart
 10:40 - 11:15 AM  Discussion with Dr. Adler
 11:15 - 11:20 AM  Break
 11:20 AM - 12:00 PM  Audience Questions & Comments

CME Certificates:
  In order to
 receive a CME certificate, the attendee must: pre-register, pay in full, attend the session, and complete an online evaluation within 7 days after the program. Credit is equal to time participated for virtual events. 
CME certificates will be sent by email within a month following the event. Enabling your video while participating is strongly encouraged.

Cancellation and Certificate Replacement: There will be NO refunds after May 10, 2023. Any refunds made before May 10th will be less a $10 administrative feeIf awarded a CME certificate, please retain for your records.  There will be a $3 charge if the Society office must resend a certificate.

Confidentiality: During conferences, we will follow rules of confidentiality for clinical case material including disguising identifying information. Please do not discuss any case material outside of this conference. No recording of case material is allowed.

CME Disclosures:

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and The Denver Psychoanalytic Society. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.”

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company. (Updated July 2021)

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