Call for Proposals for 5/16/15 SDPC Writing Symposium

We invite you to submit your proposal for the  2015 SDPC Writing Symposium, Life Sentences: Writing about the Difficult Character.

Date of Symposium:  May 16, 2015

Proposal Submission Deadline:  November 15, 2014

Acceptance into Symposium notification:  January 9, 2015

Pre-registration Discount Deadline: April 15, 2015

Possible areas for exploration

How can clinical writing be used to formulate countertransferences to difficult patients?

What are the pitfalls and advantages of reliance on vague diagnostic labels in writing about difficult cases?

What can metaphor and symbolic imagery contribute to articulating an understanding of mutative action with the difficult patient?

How does narrative structure influence diagnostic formulation in reports of difficult patients?

In what ways do the conventions of story-telling (character, plot, descriptions of scenes or persons, etc.) overlap with case-report writing practices, with reference to writing about difficult patients?

Symposium Concept and Presentations

We conceive this Symposium as a series of open-ended, collegial discussions among those with an interest in deepening their understanding of challenging patients using writing in new ways. Since the symposium will not feature the presentation of polished written arguments but will facilitate a more informal approach, SDPC encourages full participation (presenters and others). A range of writing styles will be invited, from standard clinical case reports to the personal essay, memoir, and so on. Sufficient time will be allocated for open discussion in addition to presentation.

We allot: about 50 minutes for each individual presentation, with 25 minutes of that time set aside for discussion. Presenters are encouraged to paraphrase or speak impromptu, not to read their entire work. If there are passages where exact wording is central to your discussion, please assist the audience by preparing hand-outs or through the use of PowerPoint.

Depending on proposals submitted, we may combine individual presentations with related topics into panel presentations. For a panel of three presentations, about 105 minutes will be allocated, with 30 minutes of that time set aside for discussion.

As mentioned above, not all presentations will be conventional scholarly papers; some may take other forms. Feel free to plan your paper, so as to engage in an exchange with the audience from the onset.

We will distribute a booklet of abstracts with brief biographical and contact information to all participants and registrants at the time of the symposium. The symposium is conducted in English. Bilingual proposals must be accompanied by an English translation.

All presenters must pre-register for the symposium by Apr. 15, 2015. The symposium will take place Saturday, May 16, 2015, in San Diego, CA.

Note regarding Continuing Education credits. Such credits will be offered to those registrants and participants who attend the day’s event and request them. However, non-clinicians are welcome to participate as well.

Proposal Submissions

Please e-mail your completed proposal submission form no later than

November 15, 2014, to both:

Caroline de Pottél, Ph.D.,

Harry Polkinhorn, Ph.D.,

This form should be submitted electronically (as an attachment in “.doc” format). All sections must be filled out and should include the following information:



Mailing address:


E-mail address:




A: Title of presentation:


B. Permission to include summary on SDPC website:


C. Audio-visual request:


D. Brief autobiographical statement for symposium program (60 words or less, including professional affiliations if desired):


E. Presentation abstract (200-500 words):


Thank you for your interest.