Play, Free Association and Enactment: the Levy Goldfarb lecture

March 3, 2020

Levy Goldfarb lecture 

Presenter: Eugene Mahon, MD

​In this lecture I define childhood symbolic play, free association and enactments as distinct entities despite the important strands of connective tissue that binds them psychologically. To Freud’s definition of play being the same as fantasy except for play’s need to use props and playthings to actualize itself, I add action as an obvious but yet nevertheless neglected component. I suggest that the potential for free association begins with the achievement of formal Piagetian cognitive processes in early adolescence and that it needs no props or actions to set it in motion since words and ideas generate further spontaneities in a creative flow of associations. In adult psychoanalytic process enactments enlist the props and playthings of play again as a too abstract, exclusively verbal free associative affective process fails to express the whole affective analytic communication. I illustrate all of this with psychoanalytic process from a four to six year old child in analysis, that same child again age twelve to fourteen and fully able to free associate creatively and productively, and then from an adult analysis in which free associative process failed to carry the full burden of affective meanings and enactment was enlisted to play a profound role in the full expression of analytic affective communication. In adult analysis I suggest that enactment is a creative regression to the play mode of props, playthings and action to express what words alone could not communicate.

Eugene Mahon has published many articles on a great diversity of psychoanalytic topics and is the author of four published books: A PSYCHOANALYTIC ODYSSEY; RENSAL THE REDBIT; BONESHOP OF THE HEART; SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ( in press). He is a training and supervising analyst at Columbia Psychoanalytic Center for Training and Research. He is a child and adult psychoanalyst and practices in New York City.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

After attending this session, participants should be able to:

1. Recognize the the role of play as a form of communication in child analysis.
2. Describe the role of Piagetian cognition (especially formal cognitive achievements) in the development of the capacity for free association.
3. Explain the role of development in the understanding of clinical work with enactments in adult psychoanalytic process.

 

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Early Shapes of Psychic Life as Forerunners of (Bi)Sexuality• Patrick Miller, MD, Société Psychanalytique de Recherche et de Formation, Paris

February 11, 2020  8:00 p.m.

Patrick Miller, MD Société Psychanalytique de Recherche et de Formation lecturer 
Rosemary Balsam, MD discussant

“It has become a habit to say that the analytical pair is a couple. If such is the case we need to further our understanding of the kind of copulation that is taking place, the different aspects of the intercourse, and how it ends up being either sterile or procreative” Patrick Miller will argue in this presentation.

A visiting scholar from the Société Psychanalytique de Recherche et de Formation and prominent psychoanalyst, Dr. Miller´s talk will focus on the role of aprés coup in the construction of genital sexual life. His presentation will revolve around deepening of his notion of penetrability and permeability (early shapes of sexuality), connecting it with adult sexuality using two substantial clinical vignettes to discuss the possibility of thinking about a drive-related container/contained as it pertains to the analytic couple.

We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to welcome Patrick Miller, MD whose scholarship and clinical work convey his deep understanding of the complexity of Freud’s theoretical and clinical ideas. Dr Miller uses his close reading of Freud to delve into the nature of the analyst’s “psychical reality” and the challenges the analyst faces in the daily work. He looks carefully at the analyst’s stance and reconsiders the fundamental concepts of free association, free floating attention, neutrality, and analytic listening to examine the functioning of the analyst’s mind from different perspectives as he draws upon Winnicott, Bion, Aulagnier, Lacan and Ferenczi. Dr. Miller’s scholarship revolves around the themes of sexuality, the body and the psyche-soma dynamic as well as to the effects of early trauma. He vividly describes his clinical work to make his theoretical ideas come alive.

Patrick Miller, M.D. is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He completed his analytic training in Paris, where he studied both with Piera Aulagnier and Andre Green. He co-founded the Société Psychanalytique de Recherche et de Formation in Paris in 2005, and he served as president from 2007-2011. Dr. Miller is an IPA training analyst and a member of CAPS in Princeton. He has authored numerous papers in international journals, and has published two books, Le Psychanalyste pendant la Séance (2001) and Driving Soma: A Transformational Process in the Analytic Encounter (2014). He has a psychoanalytic practice in Paris.

Rosemary H. Balsam F.R.C.Psych. (London); M.R.C.P. (Edinburgh); is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School; Staff Psychiatrist at the Dept. of Student Mental Health and Counseling; Training and Supervising Analyst at Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. Her special interests are in gender, sexuality and body issues, especially female development.

After attending this session, participants should be able to: 1) Explain the erogenous body of the drives, especially ‘psychic penetrability’ in clinical practice; 2) Use countertransference enactments, slips, and other parapraxes to alert oneself to the specificities of an analysand’s early psychosexual idiosyncrasies.

 

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.