2023 - 2024 San Francisco Yearlong Program
Jacqueline De Lon, MFT and Patricia Marra, MFT, Co-Directors
Ben Goldstone, LMFT, Israel Katz, MD, and Maureen Kurpinsky, PhD, Committee Members
Overlapping Worlds: What Is Shaping Us and How?
Is there enough room
for the world to penetrate?
It must go somewhere,
it cannot simply sit on the surface
— Louise Gluck
From a baby’s early experiences of itself in its mother’s countenance to the psychic reverberations and emotional turbulence we experience when encountering others, there is a space in-between, where a vital transmission occurs. Whether we think of it as the third, the field, culture, environment, or the Real unconscious, impressions of the in-between and overlapping worlds of vínculo continuously form us, giving rise to an ever-evolving, questioning self. What shapes us and how? This exploration leads us into broad psychoanalytic realms involving philosophy, literature, science, and ethical considerations.
|Dates:||Fridays, October 6, 2023 – April 5, 2024|
|Time:||12:00pm – 01:30pm|
|Location:||Online via ZOOM|
|Program Fee:||$ 895.00 General|
$ 805.50 SFCP Members
Readers are not included in the program fee. See Policies tab for details.
Minding the Gap: Exploring Interplay in the In-Between
The place where cultural experience is located is in the potential space between the individual and the environment (originally the object). The same can be said of playing. Cultural experience begins with creative living first manifested in play.
— Winnicott, D. W., The Location of Cultural Experience, 1967
Psychotherapy takes place in the overlap of two areas of playing, that of the patient and that of the therapist. Psychotherapy has to do with two people playing together.
— Winnicott, D. W., Playing: Creative Activity and the Search for the Self, 1971
This course offers a lens on how the earliest experiences between infants and their caregivers find expression through therapeutic interplay that reflects a third realm of experience — a co-constructed space with potential to facilitate creative elaboration of self in the world. We will trace the arc of the development of potential space through Donald Winnicott’s descriptions of its various vicissitudes from the earliest “period of hesitation” as depicted through his experience with infants as a pediatrician, to “transitional phenomena,” to “the location of cultural experience.”
Celeste Schneider, PhD
Fridays, October 6, 13, 20, 27, 2023
The Group and(in) our Patients
What … is a group? How does it acquire the capacity for exercising such decisive influence over the mental life of the individual? And what is the nature of the mental change which it forces upon the individual?
— Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1922
In these questions, Freud captures the psychoanalyst’s quandary regarding groups. How do groups shape us? The psychoanalytic study of group dynamics and the individual has a long history. The Tavistock Group uses Bion’s basic assumption groups to interpret the different valences individuals have in group settings. While the Tavistock Group formed in Britain, analysts such as Pichon-Rivière and José Bleger were developing their own group theories in Latin America. These analysts — living and working in the political currents of post-war Argentina — focused more on ideas about the hidden social, economic, and power structures that are at play in people’s lives. They melded their ideas about psychoanalysis, group analysis, and social psychology to create an interwoven understanding of society and our patients.
Over our four weeks together, we will read Francisco Gonzalez’s application of Pichon-Rivière’s concepts in “Trump cards and Klein bottles.” In addition, we will explore the writings of Wilfred Bion, S.H. Foulkes, and José Bleger.
Frederick Huang, MD
Fridays, November 3, 17; December 1, 15, 2023
(no meetings no November 10, November 24, and December 8, 2023)
The Spirit of Music in Psychoanalysis
The belief that music is a key element of psychoanalytic work is gaining currency in our field. But how to think about this dimension of psychical life in our theory and our clinical discussions? Through selections from our book Here I’m Alive: The Spirit of Music in Psychoanalysis (2023), this class will develop a framework and language to help us think about the foundational role that music plays in clinical work, in weaving us into the collective forms of movement and living that make us human, and without which we are forever lost in the noise.
Adam Blum, PsyD, Peter Goldberg, PhD, and Michael Levin, PsyD
Fridays, January 5, 12, 19, 26; February 2, 2024
Vínculo Theory and Practice: Irreducible Effects of Presence
A possible definition for vínculo is an unconscious situation that links subjects, determining them based on a relationship of presence and the effects of presence — distinct from a relationship based on absence and the re-presentation of that absence — which leads to irreducible effects and encounters with excess and singularity. These encounters with the new can open access to exciting possibilities and, at the same time, also carry the potential to reduce the new to the schematized and already known.
In this four-week sequence, we will be talking about the origins, her/history, and developments of link theory, covering authors and thinkers such as Enrique Pichon-Rivière, Janine Puget, and Isidoro Berenstein — their and our attempts to grapple with the complexity of overlapping worlds, of the “intrapsychic,” the “intersubjective,” and the “transsubjective,” accounting for the crucial ongoing importance of all these realms in their articulations with social, political, economic, and other dimensions.
Israel Katz, MD
Fridays, February 9, 16, 23; March 8, 2024
(no meeting on March 1)
The Shape of a Couple
One of the most striking and perhaps encouraging things that psychoanalysts have discovered is that people never give up trying to put things right for themselves and for the people they love. Even when they may appear to be doing the reverse, we often discover that what appears to be the most desperate and useless behaviour can be understood as an attempt to get back something that was good in the past, or to put right something that was unsatisfactory.… We could say then, that in marriage we unconsciously hope to find a solution to our intimate and primitive problems.
— Enid Balint, Unconscious Communications Between Husband and Wife, 1993
What shapes the couple? As analytic couple therapists, we aim to hold Enid Balint’s observation in mind, an observation that extends one of Freud’s most important discoveries — namely, that we don’t remember our past, we repeat it. Balint reminds us that the “repeating” that is occurring in the couple has a function: “an attempt to get back to something that was good in the past, or to put right something that was unsatisfactory.” In many cases, holding the developmental strivings of the couple in mind can ground the couple therapist in her efforts to engage the couple. Viewing the couple from this vantage point can sometimes help us orient to our task — namely, to provide containment and a space in which deeper understanding can take place.
In this course, we will consider concepts such as unconscious marital fit, a couple state of mind, marriage as a psychological container, developmental vs defensive couple dynamics, and the role of projective identification in couple relationships. Addressing both theoretical and practical considerations, we will think together about the task of the couple therapist as s/he orients her attention to the leading anxieties brought forth by the couple.
Ortal Kirson-Trilling, PsyD, FIPA
Fridays, March 15, 22, 29; April 5, 2024
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