On coming into possession of oneself: Witnessing and the formulation of experience

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 8pm

On coming into possession of oneself: Witnessing and the formulation of experience

Presenter: Donnel Stern Ph.D.

Discussant: Adrienne Harris Ph.D

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

In this talk, Donnel Stern, Ph.D. will use clinical theory and illustration to explore details of the formulation of experience, which depends upon the metamorphosis of experience from not-me to feels-like-me. He takes the position that the movement from not-me to feels-like-me, with the accompanying possibilities for formulating new meaning that open at such moments, happens when we not only know or feel something, but also, and simultaneously, sense ourselves in the midst of this process–that is, when we know and feel that it is we who are doing the knowing and feeling. When these two events co-occur, which depends upon what he refers to as witnessing, we come into possession of ourselves.  Witnessing of one person by another is a process of recognition and affirmation that, for fortunate children, begins with parents in childhood and, later on, in psychoanalytic treatment, is crucial in therapeutic action.

Donnel Stern Ph.D. is Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City; Clinical Consultant and Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; and Faculty, New York Psychoanalytic Institute. He is Founder and Editor of a book series at Routledge, “Psychoanalysis in a New Key,” and the former Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He has co-edited many books.

Adrienne Harris Ph.D. is Faculty and Supervisor at New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is on the faculty and is a supervisor at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She is an Editor at Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Studies In Gender and Sexuality. In 2009, she, Lewis Aron, and Jeremy Safron established the Sandor Ferenczi Center at the New School University. She, Lew Aron, Eyal Rozmarin and Steven Kuchuck co-edit the Book Series Relational Perspectives in Psychoanalysis. She is an editor of the IPA ejournal Psychoanalysis.today.