Child Colloquium Series

2023 - 2024 Child Colloquium Series

Program Title:The Oblivious Object
Date:Saturday, March 2, 2024
Time:10:00am – 12:00pm
Presenter:Mary Brady, PhD
Discussant:Anne Alvarez, PhD, M.A.C.P
(will join via ZOOM from London)
Moderator:Sharon Tyson, PhD

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

This is an in-person event only; remote participation is not available.

Program Fee:Free

In this presentation we will consider the nature of unconscious object relations in puzzling clinical material from children who have an underlying sense of their object as ‘oblivious.’  Anne Alvarez has described a type of internal object, which is not exactly felt to be bad, but rather stupid and useless.  She observed this unconscious object relation in children of drug addicts, alcoholics or in cases of maternal depression. In doll house play, such children laid parent dolls on the floor, literally reflecting no figure to look up to. Mary Brady will examine the related concept of an ‘oblivious object’ in a thirteen-year-old girl and a late adolescent boy from educated affluent families.  Children with an ‘oblivious object’ may have parents who are actually highly intelligent and may consciously see their parents as such, but unconsciously experience them as oblivious to their emotional problems.  The sense of the obliviousness of the object needs to be understood in the transference- countertransference field.  This may emerge in the treatment in a superficial respect for the analyst combined with little actual hope or investment in him/her. Such work may allow an emerging sense of an object who can be of emotional use to the child.

Mary Brady, PhD is an adult and child psychoanalyst in private practice in San Francisco. She is on the faculties of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California.  She is Editor of Braving the Erotic Field in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents, published by Routledge in 2022.  Her books, Analytic Engagements with Adolescents: Sex, Gender and Subversion and The Body in Adolescence: Psychic Isolation and Physical Symptoms were published by Routledge in 2018 and 2016 respectively. She is the North American Co-Chair of the Committee on Child Analysis (COCAP) of the IPA. She also co-leads a Psychoanalysis and Film group.

Anne Alvarez, PhD, M.A.C.P is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. She is the retired Co-Convener of the Autism Service, Child and Family Department, Tavistock Clinic, London, where she still teaches. She is author of Live Company: Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children. and has edited with Susan Reid, Autism and Personality: Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshop. A book in her honor, edited by Judith Edwards, entitled Being Alive: Building on the Work of Anne Alvarez was published in 2002. She was Visiting Professor at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society in November 2005 and is an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Centre of California. Her latest book, The Thinking Heart: Three Levels of Psychoanalytic Therapy with Disturbed Children was published in April 2012 by Routledge.

The Child Colloquium Series are offered free of charge through a generous support of the SFCP and the Sophia Mirviss Fund.

Program Co-Chairs:
David Frankel, PhD & Yen Quoc, PsyD

Paul Brinich, PhD
Lilly Hanson, MFT
Courtney Hartman, PsyD
Kylie Svenson, LCSW

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