Mistakes of the Heart: the Healing Power of Therapeutic Repair

By Janina Fisher

Khiron House is delighted to present this important two-day Janina Fisher Workshop

Like parenting, psychotherapy can be only “good enough.” Therapeutic mistakes are inevitable, yet our work lives don’t allow us opportunities to acknowledge and grow from them.  Our mistakes occur in the privacy of an office with no one but the client with whom we could process them fully.  We may pause to critique ourselves but rarely have the chance to ask: what in me drove that error?  Why do I find myself making this same mistake again and again?  Why do I empathically fail this client more often than others?

This workshop examines the underlying issues that most often contribute to therapist error and explores how what drives us to do this work can also contribute to “mistakes of the heart.”  Whether the mistakes we make are clinically misattuned or the result of our own internal conflicts, there is much to learn both about preventing future mistakes and repairing past or present errors.

Integrating psychodynamic and somatic conceptualizations of enactment with an understanding of internal conflicts occurring simultaneously in client and therapist, this workshop will look at complex therapeutic relationships through a different lens. Sometimes therapeutic mistakes end the treatment or cause havoc from which neither client nor therapist can recover fully.  We will explore how therapeutic errors provide an opportunity for growth—on the part of the therapist, the client, and their relationship.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Differentiate therapist mistakes or successes from client satisfaction or dissatisfaction
  • Distinguish ethical errors, clinical errors, and “mistakes of the heart”
  • Identify therapist personal issues that most frequently drive clinical mistakes and/or enactments
  • Describe some of the internal conflicts frequently experienced by therapists
  • Differentiate incidental versus inappropriate breaches of confidentiality
  • Discuss ways of using mistakes in the service of growth and change
  • Utilize co-regulation to restore therapeutic attunement


Feedback for this event:

“It was perfect in every way.”

“I have learnt so much and absorbed the information. Janina’s presentation style made the days so enjoyable. So nice to be with a person who is willing to be herself. Brilliant!”

“All extremely good and well done.”

“Look forward to the next.”

“Many thanks for a really excellent and valuable workshop.”

“Great workshop as ever.”

“Fantastic, humble and professionally presented. I love Janina now.”

“A very satisfactory event. I really appreciate the fruit available during snack times. The presenter was amazing.”

“Always wonderful to see Janina.”

“It was wonderful. Thank you Janina.”

“I enjoyed the workshop – well presented, good information, interesting speaker.”

“An excellent venue; an excellent workshop.”

“Unfortunately the venue ran out of peppermint tea. Almost unforgivable error of the heart. Venue and catering vast improvement on Columbia.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the whole 2 days – absolutely excellent. Can’t wait to attend the next one.”