Confer - continuing professional development, seminars and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists
Countertransference, intersubjective fields and enactments
4 mini-conferences exploring the psychotherapy of countertransference dynamics
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SATURDAY 5 JUNE 2010 - 2.0pm to 5.0pm

Dr Françoise Davoine
Countertransference is transference itself
Interaction with the psychotic transference triggers an awareness of blind spots in the analyst's history, and creates resonances which have to be analyzed in order to reach an "agreement" between analyst and patient. This process creates the possibility of Otherness, and puts time in motion when it has been frozen.

Dr Jean-Max Gaudillière
On details in the countertransference: the analyst's side
Transference always deals with details and in cases of trauma and madness, such precious little "favourite things" - that are often overlooked - can open a world of epic narrative and reveal huge areas of unspeakable material. When working with psychotic transference, we can think of those little things as "thoughts", looking for a thinker or thinking subject in the analyst's mind or countertransference experience. This dynamic triggers an investigation of the uncanny in both the patient and analyst and can lead to a breakthrough in the treatment.

Dr Dianne Lefevre
Creativity in the Countertransference
As Nina Coltart says, an effective therapist has to experience what her patient experiences. Can we do that? What do we do with the countertransference with an individual who is conveying the extreme distress of infantile traumata? How do we deal with our own infantile traumata awakened in the process of regressing in the service of understanding the patient's infantile state? Are there dangers in being exposed for long periods to such transference/ countertransference interactions? This type of work has far reaching effects from painful emotional states, to inducements to acting out in the countertransference, to assaults on the immune system resulting in physical illness.

SATURDAY 26 JUNE 2010 - 2.0pm to 5.0pm

Professor Joy Schaverien
Supervising the erotic transference and countertransference
The erotic transference is central in psychotherapy; it reveals much about the patient's way of being in the world. The associated countertransference may be difficult to discuss in supervision. It may engage the therapist-as-person, bringing to the fore sensitive issues of gender and sexuality, and the fear of acting out. Thus, at times, it may challenge the therapist's self- concept and sense of professional identity. In a time of threats of litigation and awareness of ethical dilemmas, confronting this topic within supervisory practice is essential.

Warren Colman
Counter-transference and the creative value of enactment
Enactments are usually regarded in a negative light as a failure to maintain a neutral analytic stance resulting in action rather than thought (and/or interpretation). However, enactments can sometimes have a more creative function as an expression of what the patient needs from the therapist. In order to allow for the emergence of these more therapeutic ways of relating while guarding against potentially destructive forms of 'acting out', the therapist needs to carefully monitor their counter-transference and manage the considerable anxiety of 'not knowing'.

SATURDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2010 - 2.0pm to 5.0pm

John Gordon
Dead Man Thinking
The focus of this account is an analysis of a complex countertransference response to a forensic organization, which throws light on how psychotic phantasies that have been acted upon by patients are reiterated at the institutional level rather than contained and understood. The paper is discursive, more a free association on the experience of finding myself the subject of a complaint by some members of a ward reflective practice group.

Anna Motz
Attending to the countertransference with violent and disturbed patients
Working psychotherapeutically with patients who are violent and perverse is a challenge to the therapist, whose mind and body can feel under attack as she is invited into a world of bodily response and action. It is essential for therapists to attend to these intense, and disturbing feelings, and to view them as a vital form of communication, providing meaningful information about unconscious states of mind. Although thinking about their meaning can be almost impossible "under fire" of the immediate intensity of these feelings, reflecting on them will enable therapists to make sense of the unconscious communications experienced. This talk explores the powerful experiences of countertransference, including the bodily countertransference, psychotic states of mind and feelings of unthinking fear, when working with women and men who use violence against themselves and others.

SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2010 - 2.0pm to 5.0pm

Margaret Wilkinson
The non-verbal aspects of countertransference
Attunement, that is being aware of and responsive to another, is absolutely fundamental to meaningful human interaction and therefore also to the therapeutic process. I will argue that non-verbal transference-countertransference interactions take place at preconscious-unconscious levels and represent right hemisphere to right hemisphere communications of emotional states between patient and therapist. I explain that in therapy such resonance arises from the non-verbal aspects of communication, such as tone of voice, gesture and posture, as well as the fast-acting communications that often occur below levels of conscious awareness and deeply affects the therapeutic process which in the past has been erroneously understood as dependent on merely verbal communications concerning the patient's material.

Jane Haberlin
The inevitability of counter-transference enactment
Relational Psychoanalysis understands counter-transference as a mutually constructed relational dynamic. It refers to the unconscious form through which the therapist tries to reach the patient, using their experience in the room as a point of entry into the patient's story. Across the different psychoanalytic schools there is consensus that awareness of counter-transference ideally takes the place of counter-transference enactment. I will debate in this paper that our awareness of counter-transference is necessarily retrospective: that it is necessarily preceded by counter-transference enactment - those events in the therapeutic relationship, ranging from the minute to the grand, which bring forth for analysis previously unavailable experiences.

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