Confer - continuing professional development, seminars and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists
A 2 day teaching seminar led by Dr Donnel Stern
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Friday 1 June 2012
09.30 Registration and Coffee
10.00 Unformulated experience. A theory of unconscious meaning based in the dialectic of dissociation and imagination
The theory of unformulated experience is an interpersonal/relational way of conceptualizing what unconsciousness means. I will present these ideas and what they imply for our clinical work. I will contrast dissociation with repression as the primary defensive process, and I will talk about the sources of this conception of unconsciousness in psychoanalysis, on one hand and, on the other, philosophy, especially hermeneutics. I will briefly discuss two general issues in the creation of psychoanalytic ideas: 1) the growth of theory from personal experience, especially from values, that are seldom considered as sources of our thinking; 2) the inevitability of multiple theories in psychoanalysis and the issue of how to choose among them.
11.45 Dissociation, Enactment, and Witnessing, I: Theory.
The theory of unformulated experience leads to certain ways of understanding clinical process. I will explain the significance of enactment in this view, the definition of enactment as the interpersonalization of dissociation, and the significance of what I have called "witnessing" in life and the clinical process. I will compare my conception of dissociation and enactment with projective identification, and will explain the consequences of my views for our conceptions of unconscious conflict , phantasy, and interpretation.
14.00 Interview with Donnel Stern by Jeremy Holmes on clinical applications of theory
15.45 Q&A
Q&A: relating the theory back to your own work

17.00 End of day
Saturday 2 June 2012
09.30 Registration and Coffee
10.00 Dissociation, Enactment, and Witnessing, II: Clinical practice
After offering additional thoughts about the place of witnessing in clinical process, this presentation will centre around a vignette that illustrates dissociation, enactment, and witnessing in the psychotherapist's work.
11.45 Relational freedom: Sensing and relaxing the interpersonal field
Interpretation per se is seldom responsible for therapeutic change. The key events in therapeutic action have to do with a new opening in clinical process-a new freedom in the analytic relationship, or relational freedom-that precedes new understanding and makes it possible. I will present a lengthy clinical vignette that illustrates this idea.
14.00 A Live supervision
Live supervision session in which Donnel Stern will work with a colleague on a case that illustrates these concepts
15.45 My perspective and others
In this final part of the seminar, Dr Stern will compare his perspective to other, closely related views: Fonagy and Target's mentalization theory, the Boston Change Process Study Group's work, and the Bionian field theory of Ferro, Civitarese, and others.
17.00 End
Donnel Stern, Ph.D. is Training and Supervising Analyst and member of the Faculty, at the William Alanson White Institue in New York City; and Faculty and Supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He is the Editor of a book series at Routledge, "Psychoanalysis in a New Key," which has 12 volumes in print and another half dozen in various stages of preparation. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He is the author of Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination in Psychoanalysis, published by The Analytic Press in 1997, and Partners in Thought: Working with Unformulated Experience, Dissociation, and Enactment, published by Routledge (2011). He is the co-editor of The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis and Pioneers of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, (1995, The Analytic Press) and the author of numerous articles and book chapters. Currently he serves on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Psychoanalytic Psychology, and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In 2005, he received the First Biannual Award for Lifetime Achievement in Psychoanalyis, presented the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. He is in private practice in New York.
This link takes you to a secure, partner website where your booking will be processed.