exploring character as defense & as communication


A Half Day Professional Workshop 

With Bill Cornell

Friday, October 9th, 2020

10:00am to 3:00pm ET


Character As Defense & As Communication

  • We can consider our character defenses as a kind of “fort of last resort” when we are up against emotional and somatic disturbances that threaten our capacities to function—or even to survive.

  • When we are able, as therapists, partners, friends, to receive character defenses with curiosity and compassion, we can also understand that these defenses are telling an unspoken story, that these are means of communication that have no words.

  • These patterns are deeply somatic; they live at the edges of our conscious awareness.  These are the times in therapy when we come up against the limits of the resources of our “family bodies”.

Developing A Therapeutic ‘Working Edge’

  • Part of the therapeutic endeavor is to begin to find verbal as well as nonverbal language for the client’s character patterns.  We must be aware that these character patterns are unconscious.


  • It is not only the client who brings character level struggles to the work, so do we as therapists, which is revealed in our patterns of countertransference.


  • This seminar will include a presentation on theory, case examples, discussion, an opportunity for a case consultation, and reflection time in breakout groups.



Friday, Oct 9th,

10:00am to 3:00pm ET

Online Format


Cost is $120.00

Workshop Currently Full.

Sign up for the waitlist below.

NOTE:  This workshop is for those who have an active practice and are currently working with individuals.

We will work with Zoom Software for our online learning group.  You will need a laptop computer with a working camera to maximize your participation.

Further workshop preparation details will be emailed to you upon enrollment, including a required reading assignment.


About The Workshop Presenter

William F. Cornell, MA, is a teaching and supervising transactional analyst. He maintains an independent private practice of psychotherapy, consultation, and training in Pittsburgh, USA.

He is a co-editor of the Transactional Analysis Journal and has published extensively in a broad range of journals and psychotherapy books. He is the author of Explorations in Transactional Analysis: The Meech Lake Papers, editor of James McLaughlin’s The Healer’s Bent: Solitude and Dialogue in the Clinical Encounter, and co-editor with Helena Hargaden of From Transactions to Relations: The Emergence of a Relational Tradition in Transactional Analysis.

“Character defenses are efforts to manage vulnerability and to make life possible somehow, under the conditions being lived at the time…What was at stake at the time these defenses were being formed?… These defenses helped to take the person away from their trouble…In their therapy, we want to work to make the trouble more conscious, more bearable.  And we want the client to not be in the trouble alone.”

  • From the 7/31 workshop on ‘Working At the Edge of Emergence & Despair’

Enroll Now For The Workshop

The workshop size will be limited to 28 participants – first come, first served. A waiting list will be created once the workshop is filled.  This workshop is intended for those who have an active practice, and are currently working with individuals.


Register Now

Payments are nonrefundable after 24 hours.



“If you really want to help this world,
what you really will have to teach is how to live in it.”

-Joseph Campbell