Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society presents a
Saturday Morning Seminar
Sheldon Solomon, PhD
The Worm at the Core:
On the Role of Death in Life
October 27, 2018
10:00am - 1:15pm
PLEASE NOTE 10am START!
University of Tennessee Medical Center
1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, TN 37920
The uniquely human fear of death has a pervasive effect on human beings’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior (Becker, 1973). Humans manage the terror of death by adhering to culturally constructed beliefs about reality that provide a sense that one is a person of value in a world of meaning, and thus eligible for either literal or symbolic immortality (Solomon, Greenber & Pyszczynski, 1991). The quest for immortality underlies some of humankind’s most noble achievements. It also, however, engenders some of our most ignominious affectations, including: hostility and disdain for people with different beliefs (Goplen & Plant, 2015); indifference to, or contempt for, the natural environment; and, the mindless pursuit of material possessions—which, if unchecked, may render humans the first form of life responsible for their own extinction. Dr. Solomon will present an overview of these ideas and the resulting empirical work surrounding terror management theory (TMT) that corroborates them, and consider the implications of these notions for personal and interpersonal behavior (Vahrmeyer & Cassar, 2017), as well as for clinical practice (Tong, E., Deckert, A., Gani, N., Nissim, R., Rydall, A., Hales, S., Rodin, G., & Lo, C., 2016).
Sheldon Solomon, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College. His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behavior have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Dr. Solomon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011).
9:30am Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:50am Welcome and Introduction
10:00am Becker's "Denial of Death", and its hypothesized role as the "mainstream of human activity"
10:30am Empirical support for death anxiety: Terror Management Theory (TMT)
11:45am Social/interpersonal implications of TMT
12:15pm Clinical implications of TMT
1:15pm Complete Evaluations and Adjourn
After attending this introductory-level seminar in full, participants will be able to:
1. Explain the basic tenets of terror management theory (TMT) as it relates to human psychology and behavior.
2. Utilize contemporary empirical research to describe at least three of the pervasive effects (generally non-conscious) that death anxiety has on human attitudes and behaviors.
3. Describe at least three diagnostic and treatment considerations for addressing the effects of existential anxieties on psychological and non-psychological disorders.
This program is open to all APS members and other interested mental health professionals who may not be members. It is not limited to individuals practicing in a predominately psychoanalytic mode. The material will be appropriate for clinicians with introductory levels of experience and knowledge.
Professional and Scholar Members:
$45 until October 22, 2018,
$55 after October 22, 2018.
Early-Career Professional Members:
Free if registered by October 22, 2018,
$10 after October 22, 2018.
Graduate Student Members: Free.
$60 until October 22, 2018,
$70 after October 22, 2018.
Although walk-ins will be accepted, please register online at www.aps-tn.wildapricot.org in advance to assure adequate food and seating.
If you prefer to pay by check, please mail your payment to:
Scott Swan, PhD
1005 Kenesaw Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37919.
Refunds honored with written/electronic notice at least 24 hours before date of conference. Contact Scott Swan, PhD.
Contact the APS President Joyce Cartor, PhD to negotiate fees, if needed.
Facility is accessible to persons who are physically challenged. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons requesting them.
Eligible professionals can join APS or renew their membership for the 2018-2019 program year for $80. Scholars can join/renew for $50 and Early-Career Professionals can join/renew for $45. Graduate students may join or renew for $25.
American Psychological Association Approval Statement:
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 3.0 continuing education credits. With full attendance and completion of a program Evaluation and Learning Assessment, a certificate will be issued. Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39.
APS and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. APS and Division 39 are also committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in continuing education activities. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods.
Selected References/Recommended Reading:
Becker, E, (1973). Denial of death. New York : The Free Press.
Goplen, J. & Plant, E. (2015). A religious worldview: Protecting one's meaning system through religious prejudice. Personality And Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (11), 1474-1487.
Lifshin, U., Greenberg, J., Zestcott, C., & Sullivan, D. (2017). The evil animal: A terror management theory perspective on the human tendency to kill animals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(6), 743-757.
Solomon, S.,Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (1991). A terror management theory of social behavior: The functions of self-esteem and cultural worldviews. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 24, pp. 93–159). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Tong, E., Deckert, A., Gani, N., Nissim, R., Rydall, A., Hales, S., Rodin, G., & Lo, C. (2016). The meaning of self-reported death anxiety in advanced cancer. Palliative Medicine, 30(8), 772-779.
Vahrmeyer, M., & Cassar, S. (2017). The paradox of finitude in the context of infinitude: Is death denial an essential aspect of being in the world? Existential Analysis: Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, 28 (1), 151-165.
If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address requests, questions, concerns and any complaints to APS President Joyce Cartor, PhD.
There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between Division 39, APS, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding sources that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. During the program, the validity/utility of the content and risks/limitations of the approaches discussed will be addressed.