Cassel Summer Conference

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Cassel Hospital

07 June 2024

Time: 09:30 - 16:00

Price: £60 fully qualified staff / £20 students


The Cassel Hospital Summer Conference

Relationships with Reality
Working with Self-Harm, Dissociation and Trauma in Individuals and Institutions

Friday 7th June 2024 | 9:30am – 4:00pm
The Cassel Hospital, 1 Ham Common, Richmond TW10 7JF

The Cassel Hospital is a highly specialist, centrally funded NHS service for patients experiencing severe, enduring mental health problems with a background of complex trauma. All too often, those suffering in this way inflict further, sometimes terrible damage on their own bodies. It can be very difficult to comprehend the mental states underlying such acts, although the disturbance created or communicated by these wounds may be felt strongly by all around. This experience is one which staff and patients at the Cassel have long sought to make sense of in a psychoanalytically informed therapeutic community. A recurrent challenge is the way in which staff and patients can find themselves disconnected from reality, whether it is the patient’s painful internal reality, their physically damaged bodies, the realities of their lives outside the treatment, or the emotional toll it takes to try and understand this complicated interplay between ‘realities’.

We will spend the day exploring the connections between self-harm, trauma and dissociation from different perspectives, thinking about the ways in which patients, staff and organisations may disconnect from reality, and how we can stay in touch and work with these experiences.

Experienced Cassel clinicians will share some of their work to begin a discussion with the audience:

Out of Sight out of Mind?
Working with separation and risk when patients are away from hospital
Sarah Miell, Psychosocial Nurse & Simmi Protab, Clinical Nurse Manager

Defensive Care
Social defence systems in health institutions
Ricardo Readi, Principal Adult Psychotherapist/ Psychoanalyst

Thinking about professionals’ responses to self-harm
Dr Tom Dalton, Specialist Registrar in Medical Psychotherapy

Fee including lunch: £60 (fully qualified staff) / £20 (students)

Lunch will be provided by 9Kitchens – a local profit-for-purpose social enterprise promoting catering employment opportunities to those facing barriers to employment and integration. See more at

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