Rado Lecture • Does Psychoanalysis Have a Meta-Theory?

June 2, 2015
Lecturer: Eric R. Marcus, MD

Psychoanalysis is still in a period of theory splitting and disputes. This draining and damaging phase may be coming to an end. We have paid the price in political divisions and failures of theory to progress. This year’s Rado lecture will explore the issue of a unifying theory in psychoanalysis. The question is: Does psychoanalysis have an overarching theory? If it does, what might it look like? The commonalities of the different meta-psychologies will be described from the point of view of modern ego psychology. Potential unifying concepts will be proposed and described.

Dr. Marcus is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Director, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, where he is also a Training and Supervising Analyst.

Learning Objectives: after the lecture, participants should be able to

  • to describe the divided state of psychoanalytic theory today.
  • to understand how to think about an integrated psychoanalytic theory.

Life, Liberty and Lunacy: Debra Lampshire’s “Recovery” from Psychosis

May 5, 2015
Lecturers: Charles Marmar, MD, Marilyn Charles, PhD and Lois Oppenheim, PhD

Dr. Oppenheim relates the story of Debra Lampshire, who spent eighteen years as an in-patient in a New Zealand hospital, before becoming a Professional Teaching Fellow and Project Manager for Psychological Interventions for the Enduring Mental Illness Project of the Auckland District Health Board. What contributed to her extraordinary transformation? What can clinicians bring to their own work from her compelling story? Two discussants, Drs. Charles Marmar and Marilyn Charles, will address the notion of treatment and “recovery” from two very different perspectives: the biomedical and psychosocial.

Dr. Marmar is the Lucius N. Littauer Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. A former President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the 1999 recipient of the J. Elliot Royer Award for the Outstanding Bay Area Psychiatrist, Dr. Marmar heads the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Research Program at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Under his leadership, NYU researchers have worked to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions like schizophrenia, depression, dementia and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Charles is staff psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center and a psychoanalyst in private practice in Stockbridge, MA. She is President of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association and Co-Chair of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) and the author of six books: Patterns: Building Blocks of Experience; Constructing Realities: Transformations through Myth and Metaphor; Learning from Experience: a Guidebook for Clinicians; and Working with Trauma: Lessons from Bion and Lacan; Fragments of Trauma and the Social Production of Suffering (with Michael O’Loughlin) and, most recently: Psychoanalysis and Literature: The Stories We Live.

Dr. Oppenheim is University Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University where she teaches courses in literature, modernism, and applied psychoanalysis. She is a Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, where she serves as Chair of Lectures and Events, and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society.

Objective: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Describe and compare psychoanalytic and biological theories of psychosis.
  • Compare biomedical and psychological treatments for psychosis and discuss how, or whether they can, be integrated.

Leibert Award Lecture • Embedded and Couched: the Function and Meaning of Recumbent Speech

April 7, 2015
Lecturer: Nathan Kravis, MD

The use of the couch in psychoanalysis is unstudied and under-theorized. Yet the couch is iconic, a universally recognized symbol of psychoanalysis. The couch’s iconic status has outstripped its theoretical underpinning, though not necessarily its practical utility. The couch has become the emblem of a cultural narrative of self-knowledge. As this richly illustrated presentation demonstrates, an inquiry into the origins of the use of the couch in psychoanalysis reveals links between recumbence and evolving notions of leisure, pleasure, comfort, privacy, and interiority. The complicated and changing social meanings of recumbent posture are examined with special attention to traditions of recumbence in the healing arts. The meaning and function of recumbent speech cannot be understood outside of its social history.

Dr. Kravis is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Learning Objectives: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Describe clinical theories on the use of the couch in psychoanalysis.
  • Recognize the impact of cultural and historical associations with recumbent position on the analyst’s and patient’s fantasies about the use of the couch.

The Clinical Use of Countertransference in Relational and Ego Psychological Psychoanalysis: A Panel on Comparative Technique

March 3, 2014
Presenter: Natasha Chriss, MD
Panelists: Tony Bass, PhD and Ellen Rees, MD

While the critical value of countertransference is broadly accepted across contemporary psychoanalytic models, how it is conceptualized and worked with technically varies significantly between them. If we tend work with our countertransference in one theoretical frame, can our work be deepened or opened up by a shift in perspective? Dr. Chriss presents a case and process material from the termination phase of a long analysis. She discusses the interplay of her work and her countertransference, infused by the experience of the termination of her own analysis. During this informally-structured evening, Dr. Chriss will pause the process material at moments to invite Drs. Rees and Bass to share their reactions to the work and talk about how they understand and work with countertransference, as well as other aspects of process and technique. Audience members are encouraged to participate in the discussion after the presentation.

Natasha Chriss, MD is Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Lecturer at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Ellen Rees, MD is Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Columnia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center, where she teaches in the Critical Thinking and Psychoanalytic Concepts courses. In addition to teaching at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center, Tony Bass, PhD is the co-editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and is on the faculty and supervises at several institutes, including the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, the NIP National Training Program, and The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies.

Learning objectives: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Contrast the concept of countertransference between ego psychological and relational perspectives.
  • Apply different technical theories about the use of countertransference to clinical work with psychoanalytic patients.

Giacometti’s Genius: Understanding the Artist’s Creative Process

February 3, 2015
Lecturers: Oren Kalus, MD & Laurie Wilson, PhD

Over the early twentieth century, Alberto Giacometti’s psychosexually-charged surrealist sculptures evolved into his iconic, peculiar, stretched-thin figures, often considered existential statements about modernity and the horrors of war. Using slide images of his works, two Giacometti scholars explore his creative process through more intimate lenses. Dr. Kalus, a psychiatrist who studies neuroaesthetics, stretches the traditional (pathological) conceptions dissociative phenomena to suggest the artist’s recurrent episodes of derealization emerged from and enhanced his creative process. Defamiliarization or dissociating served to distill his perceptions by stripping away pre-conceptions and banal associations thus allowing him to see freshly and as if for the very first time. Dr. Wilson takes a psychoanalytic approach to Giacometti’s life, notably the role of his relationship with his artist father (for whom Alberto and his siblings posed nude) in the development of his attenuated style. A history of conflicted relationships (especially with women), obsessional tendencies and preoccupations with death also provide fertile areas of comparing and contrasting Giacometti the psychologically flawed “man” vs. the Giacometti the supremely accomplished “artist,” and open a dialogue between phenomenological/perceptual and psychoanalytic perspectives.

Laurie Wilson, PhD is a psychoanalyst, art historian, and art therapist. She is Professor Emerita at NYU and serves on the faculty at the Psychoanalytic Institute for Psychoanalytic Education affiliated with NYU School of Medicine.

Oren Kalus, MD is a psychiatrist who writes about the psychological and neurological aspects of visual art, and the artists who make it, informed by both a background in academic psychiatry (formerly on Mt Sinai’s faculty), art history and as a practicing visual artist.

Learning objectives: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Recognize differences and similarities in aesthetic and defensive forms of derealization.
  • Describe psychoanalytic theories of the role of dissociation and trauma in creative expression.

Conceptualizing and Working with Shame in Transference-Focused Psychotherapy for Narcissistic Personalities

January 6, 2015
Lecturer: Barry Stern, PhD
Discussant: Eve Caligor, MD

Our patients’ experience of shame, and the management of shame in the clinical situation, is the subject of extensive discussion in the analytic literature. The conceptualization of shame across various psychoanalytic orientations, however, is varied, with a particular under-theorization of the concept in the object relations literature. Dr. Stern will review of some of the analytic discussions of shame, with particular reference to the relationship between shame and pathological narcissism. Dr. Stern will discuss some of the obstacles to our attending to shame dynamics, and how aspects of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) can help successfully manage these dynamics with our more challenging narcissistic patients.

Barry Stern, PhD is Associate Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is course chair and instructor for the Transference Focused Psychotherapy for Personality Disorders course at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He has published and presented nationally and internationally on the subject of personality evaluation and the treatment of personality disorders. Eve Caligor, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and Director of Psychotherapy Division of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She has published widely on the evaluation and treatment of personality pathology and psychoanalytic and psychotherapy outcome.

Objective: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Describe theories of shame and pathological narcissism in the major psychoanalytic frames
  • Describe techniques in Transference-Focused Psychotherapy that facilitate understanding and managing shame in patients with pathological narcissism

Applying Psychoanalytic Principles and Practice to the Treatment of Substance Misuse

December 2, 2014
Lecturer: Debra Rothschild, PhD
Discussant: Lisa Goldfarb, MD

Substance misuse is ubiquitous in all therapy practices, including psychoanalytic ones, yet may go under-recognized, ignored or outsourced to non-analytic treatments. Dr. Rothschild, faculty at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and addiction specialist, shows how the psychoanalytic approach is ideally suited to the treatment of substance misuse, especially in its focus on process, self-states, and the use of transference, countertransference and enactments. She shows how the analyst and patient can work together to recognize and integrate various dissociated self-states in the treatment. Dr. Rothschild, together with the discussant, Lisa Goldfarb, MD, use case material illustrating how to combine traditional/behavioral approaches with dynamic ones and what modifications are necessary when working analytically with substance misusers. Dr. Goldfarb will also review screening methods and assessment of severity/dangerousness for different types of substances/use patterns, as well as when to seek consultation.

Dr. Rothschild is a psychoanalyst on faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and credentialed substance abuse counselor. She has published widely on the subject of integrating psychoanalytic perspectives into substance abuse treatment. Dr. Goldfarb is an addiction psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, on faculty at the NYU School of Medicine and Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Objective: After the lecture, participants should be able to.

  • Summarize major psychoanalytic contributions to theories of addiction
  • Describe the roles substance use may play in a person’s internal psychodynamics
  • Recognize when and how to include traditional substance abuse screening and interventions in a dynamic treatment

Coming Attractions: Analyzing the Use of Pornography in the Psychoanalyses of Two Patients

November 4, 2014
Lecturer: Susan Vaughan, MD
A lecture in honor of Ethel Spector Person, MD, with a tribute by Robert Glick, MD

The internet has made access to pornography easier and more private than ever before. After analyzing some trends in internet pornography, Dr. Vaughan will discuss how two analyses were affected by working with the pornographic images and scenes to which each patient was drawn. The ways in which analysis of pornographic material led to a new understanding of the patients’ identities over time highlights the utility of attending to masturbatory fantasies and the use of pornography within the analytic situation.

Susan Vaughan, MD is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her first book, The Talking Cure: The Science Behind Psychotherapy (Putnam, 1997), explores how psychotherapy changes a person’s mind as well as their brain structure. In Half Empty, Half Full: Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism (Harcourt, 2000) she writes about optimism as a function of our capacity for affect regulation. At the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research she designed and teaches courses on sexuality and gender.

Ethel Spector Person, MD (1934-2012) was psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who conducted pioneering research on sexual fantasy, sexuality and gender identity. Using unconventional methods such as interviewing patrons of sex shops and drag dance clubs, she authored many books including By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives, and Dreams of Love And Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion.

Learning objectives: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Summarize the contributions of Person, Stoller, Kernberg and other analysts who wrote about sexuality and pornography
  • Understand the potential to use pornographic images to explore aspects of intrapsychic conflict as well as intergenerational family history
  • Describe contributions from sexologic work on pornography

Sonali Deraniyagala, author of Wave: A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami

October 7, 2014
An interview with Philip Lister

In her critically-acclaimed memoir, Professor Deraniyagala unflinchingly chronicles the aftermath of the day when the 2004 tsunami swept away her parents, husband and children. Dr. Lister will talk with her about the interweaving roles or remembering, writing and psychotherapy in her gradual emergence from this catastrophic and seemingly unsurvivable loss.

Sonali Deraniygala, PhD teaches in the economics department of SOAS, University of London, and the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.

Philip Lister, MD is on the faculty of the Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“The most exceptional book about grief I’ve ever read . . . I didn’t feel as if I was going to cry while reading Wave. I felt as if my heart might stop . . . Deraniyagala has fearlessly delivered on memoir’s greatest promise: to tell it like it is, no matter the cost. The result is an unforgettable book that isn’t only as unsparing as they come, but also defiantly flooded with light . . . Extraordinary.” –Cheryl Strayed, New York Times Book Review.

“This is possibly the most moving book I have ever read about grief, but it is also a very, very fine book about love.” — William Dalrymple, The Guardian (UK).