Transforming Complex Clinical Moments: Innovative Interviewing Techniques for Understanding the Pain Beneath the Diagnosis

October 2019
New Zealand - Auckland / Wellington / Christchurch

Internationally acclaimed author and innovator in clinical interviewing, Dr Shawn Shea returns to New Zealand October in 2019. This latest workshop series will provide front-line clinicians with practical, specific interviewing techniques and state-of-the-art skills necessary to tackle some of the most complex of clinical challenges.

This one-day workshop consists of 3 enlightening segments:

  1. The Innovative Use of Object Relations: Gateway to Understanding the People Beneath the Personality Diagnoses
  2. The Inner World of the Pain Beneath the Diagnosis: Interviewing Techniques for Uncovering Anxiety Disorders
  3. The Elusive World of Psychosis: How to Help Clients Share Their Pain, Hallucinations, Delusions, and Thoughts of Harm to Self or Others

In Segment 1, Dr. Shea explores practical interviewing methods for rapidly, yet sensitively, engaging clients with histories suggestive of borderline or narcissistic process often associated with past trauma. He brings a new light to old psychodynamic concepts such as object relations and the psychology of the self deftly integrating them with cognitive and behavioural approaches, while shedding a compassionate light on people coping with borderline and narcissistic process. The result is an easily understood and clarifying set of imminently useful techniques for starting the healing process. 

Segment 2 turns the focus onto one of the most problematic of all clinical challenges - inaccurate or missed diagnoses. Taking the workshop participants on a sophisticated journey into an exploration of the people beneath the anxiety diagnoses - using a series of vivid videos of actual clinical interviews - he provides a refreshing understanding of how people individually experience and make sense of their anxiety symptoms and/or trauma. From this phenomenological understanding, Dr. Shea demonstrates numerous, specific interviewing techniques that help uncover the complexities of often misunderstood diagnoses such as OCD, PTSD, and panic disorder including their atypical presentations.

After lunch, Segment 3, Dr. Shea looks at the uniquely painful world of psychotic process. Dr Shea will demonstrate a variety of specific interviewing techniques that help clinicians ferret out the earliest signs of impending psychosis or relapse, while providing a better understanding of the exquisite pain created by psychotic process. From this sophisticated understanding, he provides immediately practical interviewing techniques for spotting psychotic processes such as command hallucinations, feelings of alien control, paranoid delusions, and the earliest signs of impending psychosis as well as spotting the potential for thoughts of self-harm, suicide or harm to others. Once again Dr. Shea illustrates the interviewing techniques with compelling videos of their use with actual clients experiencing psychotic process.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  • Be able to utilise the theories of object relations (Kernberg) and the psychology of the self (Kohut) to apply specific interviewing techniques - such as the complementary shift - to rapidly and sensitively engage clients while gently uncovering the presence of borderline, narcissistic, and other personality processes.
  • Be able to use specific interviewing techniques for rapidly, yet sensitively, uncovering OCD, PTSD, and panic disorder (including atypical presentations) using the DSM-V while sensitively understanding the nuances of how these disorders may appear and the trauma that may precipitate them.
  • Be able to utilise a diversity of interviewing techniques for spotting delusional mood, delusional perception, variations in the life-cycle of a psychosis, and psychotic processes that may lead to self-mutilation, suicide or harm to others.

The Transforming Complex Clinical Moments New Zealand workshops are worth 20 points CPD.

This workshop has also been endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and has been approved for up to 4.75 CME credits for the General Practice Educational Programme (GPEP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Who Should Attend:

This training is appropriate for psychiatrists, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, case managers, substance abuse counsellors, general practitioners and all mental health trainees.

About the Presenter:

Shawn Shea, MD is an internationally acclaimed innovator in the fields of clinical interviewing, suicide assessment, and enhancing the therapeutic alliance having given over 850 presentations worldwide. He has been an invited presenter at the American Association of Suicidology for 21 years, and was the recipient of an Outstanding Course Award from the American Psychiatric Association.   

Dr. Shea is the author of seven books and numerous journal articles with his book, The Practical Art of Suicide Assessment, being viewed as one of the classic texts in the field of suicidology. His most recent book, Psychiatric Interviewing: The Art of Understanding, 3rd Edition was selected by the British Medical Association as the 2017 Book of the Year in Psychiatry.

With nearly 40 years of clinical experience, Dr. Shea is the Director of the Training Institute for Suicide Assessment and Clinical Interviewing (TISA), a training and consultation service providing workshops, consultations, and quality assurance design in mental health assessment. 

Dates & Locations:

Thursday, 17 October 2019
Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Hotel
2 Ascot Road, Mangere, Auckland

Monday, 21 October 2019
Brentwood Hotel
16 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington

Tuesday, 22 October 2019
The Celebration Centre
8061/81 Bickerton St, Christchurch

Price & Registration

New Zealand
$395.00 pp + GST
Third and subsequent delegates from the same organisation discount - $245.00 pp + GST
Please NOTE – for the multi-attendee discount to apply, all bookings must be made at the same time on the registration page. Payment is by credit card.

Full-time Students $295.00 pp + GST. Please email with your student identification details to receive the special booking link.

Registration process

Payment online is by VISA, Mastercard or American Express only and there are 3 easy steps to complete the online booking process.
Upon completion of your registration, you will receive an automated confirmation email. If you have any issues or questions about your booking, please contact Faye Johnson on +64 6 878 3456 or email:

What happens if you have to cancel?

We know that sometimes your plans can change for many different reasons. Should you be unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome to attend at no extra cost. If a substitute delegate is not available and you need to cancel your registration, please be aware of the following:

  • Up to 7 days prior to the event you will be provided a refund of your registration cost, less a $50.00 per attendee (NZ plus GST) service charge
  • If you cancel within 7 days of the event, you are not eligible to receive a refund. Please note: should your registration not be paid by the time of the event, you are still liable to make the payment. 
  • Unpaid accounts may be passed over to our debt collection agency and additional costs may be incurred. 
  • All cancellations must be received in writing (email). You will be sent the event's materials upon request.
  • Delegates are responsible for their own travel/accommodation bookings and no compensation will be made should the event be rescheduled or cancelled.

Please note: GROW Ltd reserves the right to make any amendments that we may deem to be in the best interest of the forum – it is however very unlikely and we will notify you as soon as possible should this occur.

For more information see our full Terms of Trade.

Further Details

Morning tea and lunch are included.

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options will be available. Should you have other dietary needs you are welcome to bring your own snacks and lunch.

Post-Event Takeaway Reference Material

In line with our sustainability objectives, conference presentations will not be distributed in hard copy but will instead be available via a weblink to be advised via email either prior to or following the workshop.

Commitment to Access and Equity

We are committed to access and equity and endeavour to meet the needs of all delegates. Please contact our team at 06 878 3456 if you require special assistance. In order to assist us in understanding delegate needs, please advise your access requirements as early as possible. Request at late notice may not be able to be met.

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For further details, please contact:
Faye Johnson at or
Phone: 06 878 3456