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Masochism, Sadism and Echoism- Spokes of the same wheel? Delineating in clinical settings and providing therapy: Video Course

Masochism, Sadism and Echoism- Spokes of the same wheel? Delineating in clinical settings and providing therapy: Video Course

Masochism, sadism and echoism are intricately intertwined despite the general understanding of being completely different in terms of the characteristics presented. While it is commonly understood that sadism feeds on inflicting pain, masochism on deriving pleasure from pain, and echoism in being a passive receiver of both pain and pleasure; research shows that these personality manifestations often feed upon and mimic the characteristics of each other. 

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

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Course Credits

CPD: 3 / CE: 3

Speaker(s)

Dr Jan McGregor Hepburn

Course length in hours

3 hrs of video content

Full course information

Drawing on recent research, the classifications of DSMR-III-R and DSM-IV and relevant clinical experiences, this practical and engaging seminar will focus on therapeutic interventions for both sides – clients presenting with masochistic, sadistic or echoist personality manifestations who are seeking help as well as those living with or in significant relationships with people who exhibit these personality traits.

Masochism, which has been classified as Self-defeating personality disorder (SDPD) feeds on self-inflicted pain. Freud identified it as: in which the individual relentlessly pursues psychologically painful, humiliating, or self-defeating outcomes and seems to avoid opportunities for pleasure and success. In these instances, sexual satisfaction is usually not a component of the overt behavior patterns. (1993, American Psychiatric Press).

The key characteristic of Sadism is defined as taking pleasure in inflicting physical, emotional and/or psychological pain on others. People with sadistic personality traits intentionally cause personal harm as they derive satisfaction and even pleasure from it. A very recognisable form of sadism is “everyday sadism” which shows up in the behaviour of subclinical sadists who take pleasure in trolling people on the internet or bullying people face-to-face. While persons with sadistic traits may come across as dominating and controlling, their socio-behavioural manifestations in most cases are the result of childhood trauma, bullying, physical or emotional abuse by caregivers and / or internalized humiliation. Thus, while they come across as perpetrators, they can also be classified as ‘victims’ from a psychotherapeutic point of view.

Those with Echoist traits meanwhile are most likely to be found in relationships with narcissists, or even internally manifesting as someone struggling to exist as a person in their own right. Seeking approval from others, a debilitating fear of upsetting others, and defensive or avoidant behaviour often produces traits of servile agreement, people-pleasing, and struggling to express their thoughts and wishes.

Masochists may often present in clinical settings as people who unconsciously set themselves up for failure, to satisfy the implicit need to punish themselves. Self-sabotage can become their defining characteristic. Masochistic individuals often stay in destructive or emotionally abusive relationships and show masochistic submissiveness. This is a reaction in which their submissiveness often masks sadism as a need to control and induce guilt in their partners.

While echoism is presented by clients in a relationship with narcissists, the similarity of characteristics of submissiveness, an inability to leave damaging relationships and experiencing pleasure, comfort, or familiarity in suffering at the hands of a narcissist often overlap those of a masochistic submissive.  

Similarly, clients with sadistic personality traits often camouflage the pain of childhood abuse and/or indignities and their behavioural manifestations can perhaps be viewed and better understood through the lens of masochistic presentations.

The clinical challenge is to be able to understand the meaning of such circular and self-defeating dynamics. Whilst they are lived and enacted, both ‘perpetrators’ and ‘victims’ have little chance to make positive changes. It is essentially very difficult to get out of a sado-masochistic relationship, whether with an external or internal other, and this work presents particular difficulties for clinicians.

This seminar will focus on the meaning of masochistic / sadist and echoist behaviours and attitudes and provide practical therapeutic skills which impart clinical help in seemingly intractable situations. It will be of interest to all clinicians; not only those working specifically with victims of abuse but also with individuals who display masochistic / sadist and echoist traits.

At this webinar, we will:

  • Build a cross-modality psychotherapeutic understanding of masochism, sadism and echoism – specifically focussing on their overlapping manifestations
  • Comprehend how masochism, sadism and echoism can have manifestations that are mirror images of each other and how we can trace their similar developmental roots
  • Understand what makes relationships particularly challenging for both ‘perpetrators’ and ‘victims’ – leading to negative outcomes for both sides
  • Learn how we can delineate these manifestations in clinical settings and the psychotherapeutic techniques we can use to help both sides – so we can help our clients break developed behavioural patterns of inflicting / accepting abuse
  • Discern the ways in which masochistic, sadist and echoist manifestations can be reflected in the therapeutic process and learn how we can handle these creatively to restore balance in the therapeutic relationship
  • Consider the specific clinical pitfalls of working with these manifestations and learn how we can improve therapeutic outcomes

© nscience 2023 / 2024

What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

This seminar will focus on the meaning of masochistic / sadist and echoist behaviours and attitudes and provide practical therapeutic skills which impart clinical help in seemingly intractable situations. It will be of interest to all clinicians; not only those working specifically with victims of abuse but also with individuals who display masochistic / sadist and echoist traits.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss the overlapping manifestations of masochism, sadism and echoism and explain how we can delineate these manifestations in clinical settings
  • Discuss how masochism, sadism and echoism can have manifestations that are mirror images of each other and how we can trace their similar developmental roots
  • Discern the ways in which masochistic, sadist and echoist manifestations can be reflected in the therapeutic process and explain how we can handle these creatively to restore balance in the therapeutic relationship

About the speaker(s)

Dr Jan McGregor Hepburn has a background in Social Work Management and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and is a trainer for the North of England Association for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She was the Registrar of the British Psychoanalytic Council for 15 years and currently chairs the Professional Standards Committee. She is the author of several papers, most notably those published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy and European Psychotherapy Journal. She has presented papers at conferences and devised and facilitated both seminars and workshops on a variety of subjects to both management dynamics and clinical topics.

She is part of the ScopEd project which is the collaboration between BACP, UKCP and BPC to map the core competencies for clinical work. She is on the Reading Panel of the British Journal of Psychotherapy and has a doctorate from the University of Northumbria. Her latest book: Guilt and Shame, A Clinician’s Guide is out now with nscience publishing house.

nscience UK is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. nscience UK maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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