How Concepts Make the Unconscious Conscious

How Concepts Make the Unconscious Conscious
Presenter: Andrew Lotterman, M.D.
Discussant: Larry Sandberg, M.D.
Tuesday, June 1st
8:00 – 9:30 PM

This talk describes how concepts act to make the unconscious conscious.  The presentation will outline what concepts are and how they are related to affect and meaning. It will explain that interpretations and other interventions based on concepts are not merely “intellectual” events, but actively sharpen and deepen emotional experience. It will describe a particular defense: “de-conceptualization,” in which thoughts and meanings are collapsed into body sensations, and show how concepts help restore the meanings which have been buried in this way. It will also describe how concepts serve as search engines in the mind and how they can disrupt the repetition compulsion. Finally, the talk will touch on the relation between change resulting from insight (due to the use of concepts) and change brought about by implicit procedural learning within the analytic relationship.

Dr. Andrew Lotterman is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He has published articles in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, among other journals, including “Guilt About Being Born” and “Affect as a Marker of the Psychic Surface.” He is the author of a book about psychotherapy techniques for people with psychosis entitled Psychotherapy for People Diagnosed with Schizophrenia: Specific Techniques first published in 1996, with a second edition released in 2015. Dr. Lotterman has presented his work at numerous conferences both in the United States and abroad. Dr. Lotterman also won the Howard Klar teacher of the year award in 2012 for teaching candidates at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center.

Dr. Larry Sandberg is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, Lecturer at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and co-author of Combining Psychotherapy and Medication: The Challenge of Integration.

Learning objectives:

After attending this lecture, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe how psychoanalytic “concepts” are related to affect and meaning;
  2. Describe the defense of “de-conceptualization”;
  3. Discuss the roles of insight and implicit learning in producing analytic change.

SANDOR RADO LECTURE-Speech and the Drives: Psychoanalysis and Living Systems

the sixty-third annual

Speech and the Drives: Psychoanalysis and Living Systems

Presentation of the
George E. Daniels Merit Award


Tuesday, May 4, 2021
8:00 PM


Dominique Scarfone, M.D.

Professor (retired) Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal
Training and Supervising Analyst, the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
Author, “Free Association, Surprise, Trauma, and Transference” (Psychoanalytic Inquiry)

Introduction by Jonathan House, M.D.


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Novel Relations: Bion and George Eliot

Prof. Alicia Christoff will discuss her book Novel Relations: Victorian Fiction and British Psychoanalysis (Princeton UP, 2019), focusing on her chapter that reads W. R. Bion in conversation with George Eliot’s 1861 novel The Mill on the FlossNovel Relations engages twentieth-century post-Freudian British psychoanalysis in an unprecedented way: as literary theory. Placing the writing of figures like D. W. Winnicott, W. R. Bion, Michael and Enid Balint, Joan Riviere, Paula Heimann, and Betty Joseph in conversation with canonical Victorian fiction, Alicia Christoff reveals just how much object relations can teach us about how and why we read. These thinkers illustrate the ever-shifting impact our relations with others have on the psyche, and help us see how literary figures—characters, narrators, authors, and other readers—shape and structure us too. For Christoff, novels are charged relational fields. Closely reading novels by George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, Christoff shows that traditional understandings of Victorian fiction change when we fully recognize the object relations of reading. It is not by chance that British psychoanalysis illuminates underappreciated aspects of Victorian fiction so vibrantly: Victorian novels shaped modern psychoanalytic theories of psyche and relationality—including the eclipsing of empire and race in the construction of subject. Relational reading opens up both Victorian fiction and psychoanalysis to wider political and postcolonial dimensions, while prompting a closer engagement with work in such areas as critical race theory and gender and sexuality studies. The first book to examine at length the connections between British psychoanalysis and Victorian fiction, Novel Relations describes the impact of literary form on readers and on twentieth- and twenty-first-century theories of the subject.

Alicia Christoff, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of English at Amherst College. She lives in Pittsfield, MA, where she is part of The Mastheads public humanities project. Her academic publications include her monograph Novel Relations: Victorian Fiction and British Psychoanalysis (Princeton UP, 2019), which was recently awarded the 2020 Courage to Dream Prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association, and articles in journals like PMLA, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Victorian Studies, and others. She has also published essays, reviews, and poems in Guernica, the LA Review of Books, Public Books, The Common, The Yale Review, and Peach Mag.

Wendy Katz, Ph.D. is a training and supervising analyst at the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and serves as an associate editor for The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. She has written on various topics including psychoanalytic process, perverse transference, and truth in contemporary psychoanalytic thought.

Learning objectives:
1) To (re-)immerse lecture participants in the theory of W. R. Bion, and introduce some cultural contexts (esp. the history of the British Empire) for his work.
2) To demonstrate and suggest rigorous and sophisticated methods of analyzing psychoanalysis and literature in conversation with one another.
3) To argue for the value of engaging new work in critical theory on race and social justice in psychoanalytic circles.


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It’s a Matter of Time: Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality

Tuesday, March 2nd at 8pm

Location: Register via the button below to receive the Zoom link

Held up by some to be the fourth dimension, time remains an intriguing and elusive existential category. It silently pervades and influences not only the very essence of our everyday lives, but the entire endeavor of psychoanalysis, both consciously and unconsciously. Neil Skolnick, Ph.D., author of the recently published Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality: Time Out of Mind (2020, Routledge) explores time from an assortment of vantage points, from quotidian concerns to the mysterious; from hard-nosed objectivity to subjectively created perceptions and distortions. After presenting historical classifications of time dating back to the ancient Greeks and up to the atomic age, he focuses on the interweaving concepts of temporality and psychoanalysis which have led contemporary psychoanalysts to maintain that time provides the lynchpin for the very essence of psychoanalysis. While expounding on features of both linear, objective “tick-tock” time and subjective non-linear time he weaves in clinical material related to issues of maintaining the frame, termination, and narcissistic disruptions of a sense of time.

Neil J. Skolnick, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Clinical Professor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. He was previously an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva  University. He currently is a faculty member and supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) and its affiliates, The Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (IPPS) and the National Training Program (NTP). He is faculty and supervisor at the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (WCSPP). He maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and supervision in Manhattan.

Wendy Katz Ph.D. is a training and supervising analyst at the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and serves as an associate editor for The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. She has written on various topics including psychoanalytic process, perverse transference, and truth in contemporary psychoanalytic thought.

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Psychological Resistances to the Use of Logic in Psychotherapy for Psychosis

Tuesday, February 2nd at 8pm

(Register using link below)

Dr. Michael Garrett will describe an approach to psychotherapy for psychosis that integrates cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) with a psychodynamic approach. In this way of working, CBT is viewed as a superior method to help patients examine the literal falsity of delusional beliefs while psychodynamic technique is a superior method to help patients explore the figurative (metaphorical) truth of psychotic symptoms. Dr. Garrett will describe 10 psychological resistances to the use of logic which limit the efficacy of psychotherapy with persons suffering from psychosis.

Michael Garrett, M.D.
Michael Garrett MD is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of Psychotherapy Education in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He is a faculty member of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Dr. Garrett’s research interests include the relationship between psychosis and ordinary mental life, as well as psychotherapy for psychosis. He is a four-time recipient of the SUNY Downstate Distinguished Educator Award.

Eric Marcus, M.D.
Eric R. Marcus, MD is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a Supervising & Training Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is the author of Psychosis and Near Psychosis: Ego Function, Symbol Structure, Treatment, now in its revised third edition published by Routledge Press.

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“Everything is an Emergency”: An OCD Story in Words and Pictures

January 5, 2021 (Joint event with the Columbia Public Outreach Committee)

Roz Chast interviews fellow New Yorker cartoonist Jason Katzenstein about his recently published graphic autobiography which humorously and insightfully details his lifelong struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Roz Chast is a celebrated New Yorker cartoonist. Her 2014 graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a chronicle of her parents’ declining years, was the winner of the National Book Critic Circle Award for Autobiography and a finalist for the National Book Award. She is one of the most iconic observers of the anxieties of everyday life.

Jason Adam Katzenstein is a cartoonist and writer for print and television. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and MAD Magazine, and on Cartoon Network. He is an editor at the Brick House. His newest book is Everything is An Emergency, out now with HarperCollins.

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On Denial: Internal, Relational, Social and Political Functions

December 1, 2020

On Denial: Internal, Relational, Social and Political Functions

Presenter: Nancy McWilliams PhD

Discussant: Kevin Kelly, M.D.

Denial will be conceptualized as a dissociative phenomenon whose evolutionarily adaptive functions include initiating and facilitating the human capacity for mourning. After a short overview of the psychoanalytic concept of denial, from Freud’s thinking through contemporary contributions of attachment research and neuroscience, Dr. McWilliams will speculate on the relationship of denial to mourning on both individual and societal levels. Some clinical, social, and political manifestations of denial will be noted, along with some possible ways of addressing this primitive but ubiquitous defense.

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On the Psychoanalytic Legacy of John Bowlby: Attachment Theory, Reflective Functioning and Therapeutic Action

November 10, 2020

On the Psychoanalytic Legacy of John Bowlby: Attachment Theory, Reflective Functioning and Therapeutic Action

Presenter: Miraim Steele PhD

Discussant: Diana Diamond PhD

Dr. Miriam Steele will speak on the legacy of Dr. John Bowlby and the psychoanalytic
roots of attachment theory which have initiated a corpus of work in developmental and
clinical psychology . Trained in England, Dr. Steele knew and worked with Bowlby during
his lifetime and can be considered one of his direct successors. The talk will elaborate on
the legacy of John Bowlby’s writings and focus on the psychoanalytic roots of
attachment theory which have initiated a corpus of empirical work in developmental and
clinical psychology.  This presentation will outline the concept of reflective functioning,
covering its origins in attachment theory and intergenerational longitudinal research and
highlight the clinical relevance of the concept, as a therapeutic goal, especially with
respect to patients with backgrounds of trauma.

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New Languages/Old Worlds: the Self in Translation

October 6, 2020

New Languages/Old Worlds: the Self in Translation

Presenter: Jhumpa Lahiri

Discussant: Daria Colombo MD

Jhumpa Lahiri, a self-described “linguistic exile” who grew up in the interface between
her mother tongue, Bengali, and English, her acquired language which became her
dominant one, recently switched to only writing and reading in Italian. In discussion with
Italian/American psychoanalyst Daria Colombo, this acclaimed novelist considers the
complex trajectory of her ongoing linguistic odyssey.