In This Issue
NPSI Board of Directors
Letter from the President
Letter from the Director of Training and the Dean of Students
International and Regional News
Special Report
Society News
Author Donates to Library
Candidate News
Members in Action
Special Issue Deadline
Quick Links
Selected Facts
Newsletter of the Northwestern Psychoanalytic
Society and Institute

Spring 2014


Caron Harrang

Welcome to the spring edition of Selected Facts: Newsletter of the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. In this issue we have important news about leadership change in the organization. David Jachim is completing a landmark term as President and passing the baton to Caron Harrang. Caron in turn will be handing the reins of managing the newsletter after this issue into the able hands of Maxine Nelson as she moves into her role as President. Thankfully, the newsletter staff remains strong with David Parnes and Lynn Cunningham as reporters, Anna Delacroix as copy editor, and Michelle Kilmer working on design and formatting.

 

In International and Regional News we note that registration is open for EBOR 2014 and present reviews of two Pre-Conference Reverie meetings. A special report submitted by Maxine Anderson describes her experience of the CIPS/NAPsaC Clinical Conference. The editors wish to thank author Ellen Sinkman who generously donated a copy of her new book to the NPSI Library. In Members in Action Adriana Prengler and Dana Blue provide reviews of two scientific meeting presentations by our analyst members. Additionally, guest reporters Christopher Owen and Marian Joycechild recap two separate presentations by Robert Oelsner.

 

Finally, the editors wish to announce that we plan to commemorate this year's 10th EBOR conference by publishing a special issue in November. We invite anyone who attends the conference to send us your comments or reviews and photographs. See newsletter staff contact information at the bottom of this issue and feel free to contact us if you have questions about how to submit news.

 

Caron Harrang, LICSW FIPA

Managing Editor

 

Maxine Nelson, LICSW FIPA

Assistant Managing Editor


NPSI Board of Directors

 

Officers 

President: David Jachim

President-Elect: Caron Harrang

Recording Secretary: Naoko Oguchi

Treasurer: Marianne Robinson

 

Directors

Maxine Anderson

Dana Blue

Julie Hendrickson (Candidate representative/non-voting)

Adriana Prengler

Maxine Nelson 

 

Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is a non-profit corporation dedicated to educational and scientific activities based in Seattle, Washington. The primary mission of the organization is to provide the highest quality psychoanalytic education and training for individuals seeking to become psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically informed psychotherapists. The organization also supports the ongoing professional growth and development of our psychoanalyst, candidate, and community members. In so doing, the organization aims to contribute to the current regional, national, and international psychoanalytic understanding of mental life and to the emotional health, creativity, and wellbeing of those treated through the practice of psychoanalysis.

Letter from the President

David Jachim

"The End is Near!"...Over the years this dour caption graced many New Yorker magazine cartoons, illustrations of people in ragged clothes, toting warning signs and predicting the end of the world. Well, NPSI now faces an ending too. Except this ending consists of a grateful reflection at the end of another academic year and the ever-improving health of our organization. In addition, by the time you read this letter, we will be on our way into the summer sojourn, looking forward to what is being planned next for NPSI.

 

Much has happened in our evolution over the past year. For instance, our analytic classes have come to another successful conclusion for the year, as has our popular Scientific Meetings program and Reverie series. Our application for accreditation by the American Council for Psychoanalytic Education (ACPE) has been submitted and we are eagerly anticipating scheduling of our site visit by ACPE, most likely within this next academic year. In addition, our Board of Directors has grown both in size and talent with the recent addition of Maxine Nelson as a Board Director.

 

We now turn our attention to the future, with new offerings such as a postgraduate study group that will begin in September. Of course, we are both excited and proud to be hosting the 10th International Evolving British Object Relations (EBOR) Conference in October. This event draws attendees from all corners of the world and is the showcase for groundbreaking developments in British Object Relations theory and practice. The EBOR Organizing Committee has just completed a successful fundraiser featuring concert pianist Ari Livne, a first in the history of the organization! Other innovations include Pre-Conference Master Classes and the opportunity to purchase guest tickets for the opening evening reception and program titled, "The Art of Reverie."

 

There is another saying that reads, "When one door closes another opens." At our Annual Meeting this fall, I will close the door on my presidency and Caron Harrang will open hers as the next NPSI President. It has been a privilege to serve as NPSI President and I am grateful to those who have worked so hard to solidify NPSI's place in the analytic world. I am especially thankful to the NPSI Board of Directors. As a dedicated work group we have accomplished much over the past two years and I will never forget the experience of working with all of you. I am confident that, under Caron's direction, NPSI will continue to grow and I hope you will give her all of your support. I will now assume the role of Past President and look forward to the challenges that will bring. Adieu.  

 

David Jachim, PhD FIPA

President, Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Letter from the Director of Training and the Dean of Students

 

Maxine Anderson

As we approach the end of another academic year it is a pleasure to reflect on some of our accomplishments as well as to anticipate ongoing issues under consideration.

 

One of our biggest accomplishments this academic year, actually a task spanning about 15 months of data-gathering and preparation, was the submission of our application for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Psychoanalytic Education, an independent accrediting agency for psychoanalytic institutes in the United States. The committee undertaking this task was comprised of President David Jachim, President-Elect Caron Harrang, Director of Training Maxine Anderson, Dean of Students Dana Blue, Candidate President Nicole Wiggins, and Community Member Margie Bone. The next step in the accreditation process will be an ACPE site visit for a close-up review of the various components of the training program. Accreditation will aid visibility of NPSI as a psychoanalytic institute upholding the training standards of its parent organization, the International Psychoanalytical Association. In addition, accreditation will offer eligibility for NPSI candidates to obtain loans from the US Department of Education.

 

One of the benefits already realized by undertaking ACPE application is the documentation of existing policies as well as the identification of policies and procedures needing to be formalized. In preparation for the site visit, the Education Committee is tasked with writing policies and procedures that apply to the various areas of responsibility in the Institute. We anticipate this to be ongoing task over the next academic year.

 

As we come to the close of another academic year we look forward to the upcoming meeting of the Education Committee with candidates in hopes of sharing both learning and concerns gleaned from the past year and to see how we can improve the atmosphere for learning at all levels of training in our institute. For example, the Education Committee has recently approved a policy for auditing academic courses being regularly offered to NPSI candidates. We hope that the addition of this policy will maximize learning opportunities for the entire psychoanalytic community while also protecting the scholarship atmosphere for our candidates.

 

Regarding the wider community, continuing efforts to offer lectures and short courses on psychoanalytic topics of general interest are being considered. Following the popularity of the EBOR 2014 Pre-Conference Reverie Series, one thought is to offer a regular series of meetings for the wider community on "Dreams" or on "The Unconscious." These meetings would likely be additional to regularly scheduled monthly Scientific Meetings that offer an opportunity to hear original papers authored by our analyst members.

 

Finally, we would like to remind our readers that NPSI has an open admissions policy. Those interested in considering application for psychoanalytic training at NPSI are invited to contact the Dean of Students Dana Blue (bluedana@hotmail.com) or Director of Training Maxine Anderson (maxinekander@aol.com).

 

Maxine Anderson, MD FIPA, Director of Training

Dana Blue, LICSW FIPA, Dean of Students

 

International and Regional News

EBOR Registration is Open!

Early bird rate through August 15th



Tenth International Evolving British Object Relations Conference

Sponsored by Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

 

October 17-19, 2014

 

Seattle, Washington (USA)

 

From Reverie to Interpretation: Transforming thought into the action of psychoanalysis

 

From its inception, EBOR has been noted for its international character, drawing world-renowned presenters and participants from near and far, and for its intimacy in providing an open collegial atmosphere for discussion of the conference theme in both large and small group settings. To those who have attended EBOR before, we look forward to your continuing participation and contribution. For those who are coming to EBOR for the first time, we extend a special welcome and invitation to let the organizing committee (below) know if there is anything we can do to facilitate your involvement.

 

Our esteemed plenary presenters will provide contrasting views of reverie and how it informs the process of making interpretations and other psychoanalytic actions.

 

 

Giuseppe Civitarese, MD FIPA (Italy)
"Reverie and the Aesthetics of Psychoanalysis"

 

 Clara Nemas, MD FIPA (Argentina)  

"Courage and Sincerity Reverie and Interpretation"

 

Jeff Eaton, LMHC FIPA will serve as discussant for Civitarese's paper and Robert Oelsner, MD FIPA will serve as discussant for Nemas's paper.

 

As in the past, the conference will feature individual paper presentations with ample time for facilitated discussion. A complete list of individual presenters and paper topics will be available later this summer.

 

This year we are also adding Pre-Conference Master Classes taught by our plenary presenters and the opportunity to purchase guest tickets for the Friday evening portion of the conference called, "The Art of Reverie."Friday's panel will feature presentations by psychoanalyst and sculptor Shierry Nicholsen, PhD FIPA; sculptor and visual artist Sabah Al Dhaher (whose painting is our conference logo); and sound artist Christopher DeLaurenti. In addition, the conference program includes a Saturday evening screening and discussion of the 2009 French film, "The Hedgehog," directed by Mona Achache.

 

For additional details about conference registration, lodging and our host-a-candidate program see EBOR 2014 Online Brochure. Please note that Master Classes are limited to 25 registrants for each session.

 

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EBOR Pre-Conference Reverie Series

 

The intention behind the Pre-Conference Reverie Series was to stimulate thinking and discussion about various aspects of reverie while preparing local participants for EBOR 2014. We would like to acknowledge and thank all of the facilitators who participated in the series (listed below). For those unable to attend and to give readers a sense of these well-attended sessions, we also present reviews of the series sessions facilitated by Jeff Eaton and Oscar Romero.

 

Maxine Anderson, MD FIPA: "The Inaccessible Unconscious and Reverie as a Path of Figurability" by Giuseppe Civitarese.

 

Marianne Robinson, PhD FIPA: "On the Value of 'late Bion' to Analytic Theory and Practice" by Rudi Vermote; including introduction by Rachel Blass, response by David Taylor, and Vermote's response to Taylor.

 

Jeff Eaton, MA FIPA: "Listening to Yourself Listening to Another," from A Fruitful Harvest: Essays after Bion by Jeff Eaton.

 

Mirta Berman-Oelsner, PsyA FIPA:"On Holding and Containing, Being and Dreaming" by Thomas Ogden.

 

Judy Eekhoff, PhD FIPA: "Bion, Bachelard & the Language of Reverie," comparing papers by Wilfred Bion and Gaston Bachelard.

 

Oscar Romero, MD FIPA: "On the Reverie of the Poet with the Other in Mind: A Place Where Psychoanalytic Listening and Poetry Meet," a discussion based on the poem "Zone" by Guillaume Apollinaire.

 

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Barbara Sewell, Reporter

 

Listening to Yourself Listening to Another

 

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, as part of the EBOR 2014 Pre-Conference Reverie Series, Jeff Eaton, MA FIPA facilitated a discussion based upon a chapter in his book, A Fruitful Harvest: Essays after Bion (2011, Seattle: Alliance Press), that he called "Listening to Yourself Listening to Another." With the deliberate precision of a father explaining to his child how to use woodworking tools, Jeff operationalized his personal process of "becoming a welcoming object" and spoke of how he learned to do this in an embodied way by incorporating the ideas of Bion, Winnicott and Bollas and with the help of psychoanalyst mentors such as James Grotstein and Jim Gooch. What follows are a few salient points that I took away from the discussion.

 

Reverie can be described as a mother's capacity to register her infant's distress, reflect upon it, and respond to it. A mother capable of reverie meets this distress and all of her infant's nascent emotional states in a way that helps make her infant's experience not only more tolerable but also potentially meaningful.

 

In life there is a crossroad every person comes to where they confront frustration. The first response is always to try to evade the experience. If you do that, however, you miss the opportunity to work on and resolve the problem. We all tend to try to get rid of frustrating experiences, and we learn to do so in very creative and sophisticated ways.

 

The analyst's job is not to facilitate the evasion of frustration but to embrace Bion's concept of K (the knowledge link). K equals "getting to know," whereas -K equals "I'm not going there" or shutting the door on the experience of pain or frustration. In reverie, the analyst finds a way of opening himself in a deep energetic way to something of the other's experience. The idea is not to pin down the other's experience, but to receive and open to what is emerging in them.

 

Jeff diagrammed Gooch's model of maternal reverie augmented by paternal reverie and showed how the containing function of the couple is expanded through their creative, cooperative relationship. In this model, the maternal function, as a "projective identification welcoming object," transforms the baby's pain through reverie and alpha function. While the maternal function reflects compassion for the baby, the paternal function contributes discipline to the transformational process with the setting of limits. Compassion is the ability to tolerate suffering while also actively investigating it in order to lessen it and to learn from it. Discipline is the willingness to frustrate and set limits, even if it causes pain, and arises out of a spirit of protection and love. As Jeff described the model, I was reminded of a time that I watched a baby just learning to crawl and to pull himself upright. Crawling towards his mother he became frustrated and reached out to her. The mother quickly moved to rescue him from his distress while the father responded, "He can do it, let him pull himself up." The mother paused and the boy resumed crawling towards her, pulled himself up onto the couch, and drooled in smiling delight at his accomplishment. Together this couple created a space that promoted and fostered the development and emotional growth of their baby. With this kind of reverie, what is internalized is, as Grotstein puts it, "the legacy of the influence of the object, not the object itself."

 

According to Jeff, this is the kind of environment analysis aims to foster. In his extended clinical example, he described the embodied way he experiences himself in sessions and how he tries to register and open himself to what is evoked as a way to understand something of the legacy of the patient's internal object relations. Then he seeks to put his understanding into words, not to remove the patient's frustration, but to offer the possibility of transforming it by creating a field in which the patient's experience can become the subject of attention for both patient and analyst.

 

Jeff said that if you put two bodies in a room you can see the boundaries; but if you put two minds in a room, you don't know where one stops and the other starts. The minds in the group that evening were certainly engaged with these topics. Many people spoke and shared their ideas and personal anecdotes, reflecting the open and welcoming nature of the evening as individuals attempted to personalize the concepts. It was a thought-provoking discussion and an excellent overview of the topic of reverie.

 

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Maxine Nelson, Reporter

 

On the Reverie of the Poet with the Other in Mind

 

Oscar Romero, MD FIPA facilitated the last evening of the EBOR 2014 Pre-Conference Reverie Series on May 28, 2014 with his presentation "On the Reverie of the Poet with the Other in Mind: A Place Where Psychoanalytic Listening and Poetry Meet," a discussion based on the poem "Zone" by Guillaume Apollinaire.

 

The series ended on a high note as Oscar invited participants to enter into an experience of reverie while being able to work together as a group. Following a here-and-now encounter with Apollinaire's Surrealist masterpiece, "Zone" (1913), Oscar engaged the audience by providing his reflections on the reverie evoked by the poem, citing relevant theoretical contributions from Rosenfeld, Bion, Winnicott and Meltzer.

 

Oscar began his presentation by playing a recording of David Lehman's translation of the poem (2012, Virginia Quarterly Review). Afterward, Oscar and I began working together in situ, using his close reading of the poem. Our process consisted of me reading several lines - or a stanza - of the poem and Oscar sharing his reflections, afterwards inviting the group to share their own thoughts and associations. This experience unfolded as an example of the group - including Oscar - being able to listen to ourselves listening to the poem. While some of the associations were playful, others emerged which were more serious.

 

Apollinaire employs a number of stylistic approaches associated with Modernism. One is the alternation between first and second person - resulting in the oscillation between subjective and objective points of view - throughout the poem. Likewise, Apollinaire seems to be working simultaneously on a number of distinct temporal levels: first, by engaging that most Modernist of devices, chronicling a single day; next, by referencing personal history through the notation of various developmental stages; and finally, by alluding to the momentous cultural changes occurring in Europe at the time the poem was written via his references to, and oscillations between, the antique and the modern.

 

Apollinaire's multi-layered approach to space and time is illuminated by the way he intersperses religious imagery with that of aviation, as in the following lines:

 

Christ who climbs heavens higher than any aviator can reach

He holds the world's aviation record

 

Here, Oscar proposed that Apollinaire was attacking his own idealizations by bringing Christ down to a human scale, while suggesting a psychoanalytic parallel that would include either leaving the idealized mother in order to enter the realm of The Father (Lacan) or, in Kleinian terms, being able to shift from the paranoid-schizoid to the depressive position. On a cultural level, one might consider that Apollinaire is also alluding to the relinquishment of the traditional in favor of the avant-garde. This is but one example of many, illustrating the way psychoanalytic listening and poetry were able to find a common language and allowing the gift of Oscar's presentation to provide a rich and creative ending to the series.

 


Special Report

 

Reflections on the CIPS/NAPsaC  

Clinical Conference, May 16-18, 2014

 

 

By Maxine Anderson, MD FIPA

 

Every two years, the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (CIPS) holds a clinical conference that has for many years been an open invitation to members from all the CIPS Societies (IPA Societies in the USA not part of APsaA) and focused on the small group experience of presenting and discussing clinical material in a format that includes all members (including the facilitator) as presenters and discussants. This unique format, where candidates, analysts and training analysts work together, puts everyone on a level playing field and establishes a sense of equality and respect for differences among the participants. In an additional effort for inclusiveness that reached beyond the CIPS membership, this year's invitation went out to all the members of the North American Psychoanalytic Confederation (NAPsaC), which meant all of the members of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) and of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society. Another first was locating the conference at the very elegant Ritz Carlton in lower Manhattan situated near the newly opened 9/11 Memorial and inclusion of a panel presentation of invited papers on the conference theme: Trauma, Destruction and Transformative Potential. I was honored to participate as a member of the Friday afternoon panel as well as a small group member for the rest of the weekend.  

 

Our panel was well received, the speakers having been chosen for their different points of view: Fred Busch (Boston), Bob Pyles, (Boston), Michael Diamond (Los Angeles), and Maxine Anderson (Seattle). Panelists spoke about trauma and reparation from their own point of view. I chose to consider the inevitability of internal trauma due to polarizing tensions such as the simultaneous urge to grow and the hatred of being disturbed. The title of my 20-minute talk was "Our inner dilemma: the trauma of everyday conflict." We were told that CIPS may organize the papers and discussions into book form. Everyone I spoke with seemed to have had a rewarding experience in the clinical group meetings, some saying that this conference represented a pinnacle in their ongoing psychoanalytic learning.

 

 Click here to read full report:

NPSI Society News 

 

The Society is comprised of the following committees that report to the NPSI Board of Directors.

 

EBOR 2014 Committee

Margaret Bergmann-Ness

Dana Blue (Co-Chair)

Lynn Cunningham

Caron Harrang (Co-Chair)

Maxine Nelson

Christopher Owen

 

If you are interested in volunteering to help with administrative tasks during the conference, please contact either Dana (bluedana@hotmail.com) or Caron (mail@caronharrang.com).

 

Publications Committee

Lynn Cunningham (Candidate representative)

Caron Harrang

David Jachim (Chair)

Maxine Nelson

 

Building Committee

Dana Blue (Co-chair)

Lynn Cunningham (Candidate representative)

Caron Harrang (Co-chair)

 

Scientific Meetings

Jeffrey Eaton (Chair)

Barbara Sewell


Author Donates to NPSI Library 

 


   

 

Beauty is often an invisible yet potent presence in clinical work. The Psychology of Beauty: Creation of a Beautiful Self by Ellen Sinkman, LCSW FIPA addresses the vital importance of beauty, its sources and manifestations in everyone's lives, including psychotherapy patients. The ability to be mesmerizingly beautiful and beautifully creative and wishes to be transformed are universal desires. During psychotherapy, patients manifest or defend against these forces. So it is striking that patients as well as therapists often overlook or dismiss issues about creating beauty in themselves. The book introduces this seeming contradiction with the ancient myth of Pygmalion and his sculpture of a beautiful woman. Enduring mythic figures represent the wish to emerge as a beautiful being and the wish for the power to create beauty in another. Patients in psychotherapy often pursue these elusive goals outside clinical work, rather than within treatment. These activities may involve plastic surgery, beauty salon makeovers, diet gurus, elocution coaches, tattooing, and athletic training. Psychotherapists may or may not be among agents seen as having the power to transform. Sinkman looks at multiple avenues of understanding and appreciation of efforts toward beauty, including artistic creativity and political activities. However, there is a spectrum of investment in creating beauty. Pursuing beauty can become pathological. Therapists need to watch out for its appearance outside the psychoanalytic arena. Such material can be missed when the analyst falls into countertransference difficulties, such as feeling invested in transforming the patient, identifying with the patient's narcissistic injuries and/or needs to compete, or enacting battles with the patient. Such difficulties interfere with attunement to patients' experiences. The Psychology of Beauty considers definitions of beauty, gender identity themes, and origins of beauty in the mother-infant relationship. It investigates ugliness, sado-masochistic beauty pursuits, evolutionary factors, and aspects of aging. The book highlights emerging clinical material which has yet to gain notice and suggests what analysts may be missing and why.

 

Ellen Sinkman, LCSW, FIPA is a training and supervising psychoanalyst, and a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), Contemporary Freudian Society (CFS), and Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR). She is in the fulltime private practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in New York City and in Westchester.


NPSI Candidate News

 

Lynn Cunningham, ReporterLynn Cunningham

 

Carolyn Steinberg,MSC MD FRCPC, a first year candidate at NPSI, has received a "Wall of Fame" award from the Psychiatry Residents at UBC Faculty of Medicine for her contribution to teaching in 2013-2014.

 

In addition, Doctor X Jinn, Head of Developmental Pediatrics for the Chinese Medical Society, invited Steinberg to speak to her colleagues at The Developmental Pediatrics Training in Shanghai this past April 2014. There she lectured on Early Childhood Psychological Development.

 

At the invitation of Jinsong Zhang, Director of Pediatrics and Medical Psychology at Xinhua Hospital and the Shanghai Jiao Tong School of Medicine, Steinberg met with colleagues from Zhang's departments for case discussions. She was also asked to present on Early Childhood Mental Health Assessment and Treatment at the Annual Developmental Pediatrics Conference in Wuxi.

 

Doctor Meiling Tong, Director of Developmental Pediatrics at Nanjing Mother and Children's Hospital in Nanjing, invited Steinberg to tour the hospital. While there, she demonstrated the assessment of young children by interviewing a family with a three-year-old phobic child and then giving a formulation and treatment suggestions. Subsequently, this large group of Chinese pediatricians expressed serious interest in learning about Steinberg's approach to early childhood development and treatment of its disorders. Carolyn Steinberg is Medical Leader for Child Psychiatry in Richmond, BC and heads its Early Childhood Mental Health Program.

 

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Lynn Cunningham, PhD LICSW presented to the Association of Psychoneurocutaneous Medicine of North America, in Denver, Colorado this past March 2014. This group of psychodermatologists gathers to present their ideas and recent study results in a one-day conference alongside the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. Cunningham's paper, Trichotillomania: A Virtual World of One's Own, offered a psychoanalytic perspective on this skin-related mental condition. She considered how as a culture, we are inclined to prioritize scientific explanations, which by definition tend to elide the historical, personal and emotional components intrinsic to hair pulling. Yet trichotillomania, which serves the primary function of managing unconscious anxieties around separation, responds well to psychoanalysis as an effective means of accessing the psychic pain driving the behavior.


NPSI Members in Action

   

In this section we feature brief reports on the individual activities of our analyst and community members.

 

 

Dave Parnes, ReporterDavid Parnes

   

On May 8, 2014 Mirta Berman-Oelsner, PsyA LMHC FIPA moderated a presentation to members of the Child Therapy Association. Mirta responded to a paper from Carla Hershman, LICSW called, "Fear of Growing Up: Driven to Distraction." The paper focused on the treatment of an adolescent and explored a range of issues pertinent to adolescent development in contemporary society. CTA is a Seattle-based membership organization of psychotherapists involved in the treatment of children.

 

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Judy K Eekhoff, PhD FIPA has been appointed an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Psychoanalysis. Also of note, Judy will be presenting her paper, "Finding a Center of Gravity via Proximity with the Analyst," in July 2014 at the Seventh Annual International Tustin Conference in Boston.

 

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A number of NPSI analysts and community members contributed to The Forum 2014: An Annual Conference of Theory and Practice that is sponsored by the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study and was held this past April 12, 2014 at the Shoreline Conference Center.

 

Daniel Benveniste, PhD presented a paper titled, "The Clinical Compass: Establishing Orientation on the Psychotherapeutic Expedition." Daniel described his paper as one in which he "offer(s) some clinical compasses, or strategies, for orienting whenever I get lost in the bramble bushes of clinical entanglement."

 

Jeff Eaton, LMHC FIPA contributed to the plenary session with a discussion entitled, "Tradition, Innovation and Gratitude: Past, Present and Future."

 

David Jachim, PhD FIPA, Dana Blue, LICSW FIPA, Caron Harrang, LICSW FIPA and Maxine Nelson, LICSW FIPA presented "On Reverie: Panel Presentation." The panel discussed the definition, cultivation and application of reverie. They described how transference dynamics can interfere with reverie and offered ways in which to restore a state of reverie in the clinical setting. The panel used visual artist Kamila Zeneta's work in explicating their ideas about reverie and the imaginative process.

 

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Adriana Prengler, Reporter

 

Musings on Mourning and the End of Analysis: A Review of

"Turn! Turn! Turn! The Patient's Contribution to the Interpretive Process in the Terminal Phase of Analysis"

 

On April 16, 2014 Caron Harrang, LICSW FIPA presented a paper for the NPSI Scientific Meeting titled, "Turn! Turn! Turn! The Patient's Contribution to the Interpretive Process in the Terminal Phase of Analysis."

 

The end of analysis evokes ambivalent feelings of both mourning and accomplishment, not only in the patient but in the analyst as well. As psychoanalysts used to working under conditions of abstinence and neutrality, we naturally tend to feel more comfortable speaking about our patient's feelings and vicissitudes in relation to termination of analysis than exposing our own countertransferential thoughts and feelings. Caron's beautifully written paper describes a dance for two, the transference and countertransference of the patient-analyst dyad. One aspect of the presentation that I particularly appreciated was her ability to convey, with great sensitivity, her experience of this dance, without losing the asymmetry that maintains the essential neutrality and abstinence of the psychoanalytic frame. This paper offers the opportunity to visit the feelings of the analyst in the termination phase of an analysis.

 

Caron's paper carefully delineates the differences between interruption and termination. It isn't easy to identify when the analysis is ready to end, even though the criteria for termination are not difficult for most authors to agree upon: the symptoms have to be resolved; a new pathologic event is not expected; there is recovery of repressed content; the ego has obtained a wider field from what previously belonged to the id ("Where id was, there ego shall be"); and, for the most part, further analysis would not likely result in any additional significant change.

 

Click here to read full review: Musings on Mourning and the End of Analysis: A Review of "Turn! Turn! Turn! The Patient's Contribution to the Interpretive Process in the Terminal Phase of Analysis"

 

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Dana Blue, Reporter Dana Blue 2

 

The Return of the Negative Object and the Function of Reverie in Restoring Hope

 

On the evening of May 21, the 2014 Scientific Meetings series concluded on a high note as David Jachim, PhD FIPA presented a paper titled "The Return of the Negative Object and the Function of Reverie in Restoring Hope."

 

To begin the evening, David, a music lover, invited a reverie state in the group by playing a recording of Debussy's Reveries. To this listener, the paper that followed offered an excellent illustration of what is hoped for in the evolution of a psychoanalytic mind. David had postulated the existence of a negative object in an earlier (2009) paper, offering several clinical examples that demonstrated his theoretical formulation. He defined the negative object as "an internal object that functions to continually devitalize psychic life, prevent the accrual of emotional meaning, and insure an ongoing sense of hopelessness and futility." In this 2014 paper, David showed how this idea has continued to inform his work, while simultaneously tracing the influences that have provided scaffolding for his evolving clinical understanding.  He showed how consultation with supervisors, colleagues, and analytic authors have helped him think about the continual devitalization exerted by a patient in the grip of this anti-life influence, particularly through a period of protracted silence in the treatment.

 

In a very moving conclusion, David's findings suggest that a reverie state held by the analyst might offer a quickening place for hope. The factors adumbrated in the presentation seem to me to exemplify psychoanalytic practice at its best. His creative idea, open to influence by others and exquisitely sensitive to subtle shifts in his patient, illustrate the particular constellation needed to withstand the strains of working psychoanalytically over a long period of time with very troubled patients. Taking the trouble to think about, read about, write about, and talk about our clinical findings contributes to vitality in our community as well as in our consulting rooms.

 

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Christopher Owen, Guest Reporter (COR)

 

The Troublesome Babies of Klein and Bion

 

On May 17, 2014 Robert Oelsner, MD FIPA presented "The Troublesome Babies of Klein and Bion: A Plea for a Measure of Destructiveness"as part of the Center for Object Relations' monthly Descargas meetings. In his talk, Robert addressed the differences between analytic schools in regards to their understanding of primary destructiveness. In addition, he highlighted the role that cultural and socio-political contexts contribute to these differences in theory and practice. For example, Robert posited that analysts/therapists residing in the United States frequently misunderstand the meaning of Bion's container-contained model, seeing it mainly as a kind of supportive engagement and missing the deeper aspects of negative transference, destructiveness and envy which can emanate from the patient.

 

Following Freud, Klein and Bion, Robert emphasized the role of constitution in psychic reality, contrasting that with the increasing attention to trauma and attacks from external reality, which tend to be the focus of American analysts. While not denying the impact of bad parents and environmental influences as significant, Robert pointed out that Klein and Bion's babies have the additional "troublesome" early phantasies that are loaded with life and death drives. While avoiding overuse of the word "envy," because of its negative connotation in our culture, Robert suggested that the existence of envy at the core of early experiences of destructiveness follows Freud's introduction of the death instinct. Robert also made note of the particular resistance in the US to accepting the idea of innate destructiveness.

 

The second part of the program included case material, both from Hanna Segal and from Robert himself, which supported his theoretical ideas. The discussion at the end of the Descargas session was rich and rewarding in that Robert was generous in answering questions and providing vignettes and examples to illustrate his comments.

 

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Marian Joycechild, Guest Reporter (PINC)

 

On Experiencing Donald Meltzer

 

On May 4, 2014, analyst members of PINC came together for an All Members Forum with Robert Oelsner, MD FIPA on the topic of his experiences with Donald Meltzer and the influences on his work.

 

Surprised by the invitation to share his personal journey with Meltzer, Robert initially wondered what "personal journey" might imply, such as imposing himself on Meltzer's life or offering a travel adventure. However, he was persuaded because the AMF is invested in intimate professional gatherings and we thought his reflections on his contact with Meltzer would be interesting and meaningful.

 

Robert studied with Donald Meltzer and has taught about his work for many years. In addition, along with Meg Harris Williams, he holds the unpublished works of Meltzer. Robert began by telling us that Meltzer was born into a wealthy New York family in 1922. He studied medicine at Yale and became a psychiatrist at an early age. While serving in the Army after WWII, Meltzer was deployed to Germany, where he contracted pneumonia. At that time, he was already aware of psychoanalysis and also of Melanie Klein. During his illness he decided that he must meet Klein. He implored his superior to allow him to go to London or he "would kill someone." They let him go!

 

Robert's relationship with Meltzer began in 1986. He had just become a training analyst at the Buenos Aires Psychoanalytic Association (APdeBA) and was invited to join the training analysts meetings with Meltzer, which he felt was a privilege. At this three-day event Robert was powerfully struck by Meltzer's thinking in several respects that he elaborated on throughout the Forum.

 

Meltzer's original conceptualizations that have most changed Robert's view of analytic work include splitting of the primary object into the "feeding breast" and the "toilet breast" (as contrasted with Klein's notion of the "good" and "bad" breasts); "delusion of clarity of insight"; differentiation between infantile polymorphous and perverse sexuality; dismantlement as distinct from fragmentation; autism distinct from psychoses; and dreaming and thinking as functions of internal objects.

 

Robert quoted Meltzer's powerful thought that instead of the patient relying on the analyst's mind to carry the transference, the patient and analyst rely on the analyst's internal objects. Robert quoted Goethe's poem "Alder King" to illustrate Meltzer's point:

 

"Who rides so late through the windy night?

The father holding his young son so tight.

The boy is cradled safe in his arm,

He holds him sure and he holds him warm."

 

We enrich our internal objects, Robert said, by good feeds from our analyst and supervisors, as well as by the enrichment we receive from our institutes when they are working well.

 

Robert shared what was for me a moving vignette about how Meltzer saw observation in psychoanalytic work: "The first step is to recognize that the state of 'observation' is essentially a resting state. Second, that it is also a state of heightened vigilance. I compare it with waiting in the dark for deer, grazing at night, visible only by their flashing white tails. This nocturnal vigilance is on the alert for movement of the quarry, part object minimal movements, which with patience can be seen to form a pattern of incipient meaning 'cast before.' This catching of the incipient meaning cast before is a function of receptive imagination, 'open to the possible,' unconcerned with probability. Being rich with suspense, it is necessarily fatiguing, even exhausting. However, it is a poetry generator."

 

The group gathered at PINC enjoyed the journey provided by Robert's many stories and vignettes about Meltzer, which he shared with warmth and humor, as well as the concepts that have enriched his clinical thinking.

Selected Facts Special Issue Deadline

 

A special issue of Selected Facts will be published in November following the EBOR 2014 Conference. The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2014.

 

Please feel free to contact Maxine Nelson with general questions or either of our reporters with news items or ideas for stories.

  

Maxine Nelson
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Lynn Cunningham
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David Parnes
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