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49th ATPPP Scientific Session

49th ATPPP Scientific Session

Laughing at and with Psychoanalysis: Using Humor in the Therapeutic Relationship

Presenter: Patricia Gherovici, PhD

Discussant: Ronald Ruskin MD, FRCP(C), Dip Psych

Saturday, October 13, 2018: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Cost: $100

Open to all by registration. Preregistration is required.

Freud noted that dreams were “insufferably witty” and had an annoying predilection for bad puns. Furthermore, Freud perspicaciously observed that “[t]he ostensible wit of all unconscious processes is intimately related to the theory of the joke and the comic.” If someone were to ask what single book one should read to understand the psychoanalytic method, the answer would be Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. In one brief monograph, Freud succinctly explains how the unconscious operates: it does things with words. The psychoanalytic cure is not just a “talking cure,” but to further play on Austin’s famous dictum, it does things with jokes. Tragedy has been taken as a model for Freudian psychoanalysis with Oedipus, Jocasta and Tiresias. This course will propose a different theoretical model predicated on comedy and the use of humor. This model offers several clinical advantages.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the session participants will be able:

  1. To get acquainted with a different history of psychoanalysis funded not on tragedy but on comedy.
  2. To become familiar with the benefits of using humor in psychoanalytic treatment.
  3. To apply humor in the therapeutic relationship.
ATPPP Scientific Committee

Marco Posadas, MSW, RSW Chair
Doron Almagor, MD, FRCP
Claire Lunney, MD, CCFP
Susan K. Moore, PhD, RP, FIPA

This event is an accredited group learning activity (section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA). The specific opinions and content of this event are not necessarily those of the CPA, and are the responsibility of the organizer(s) alone.

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Patricia Gherovici, PhD

Patricia Gherovici, PhD is a psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor. She is the co-founder and director of the Philadelphia Lacan Group, Associate Faculty, Psychoanalytic Studies Minor, University of Pennsylvania, and Honorary Member at IPTAR in New York City. Her books include: The Puerto Rican Syndrome (Other Press: 2003) winner of the Gradiva Award and the Boyer Prize, Please Select Your Gender: From the Invention of Hysteria to the Democratizing of Transgenderism (Routledge: 2010), Lacan On Madness: Madness, Yes You Can’t (with Manya Steinkoler Routledge: 2015), Lacan, Psychoanalysis and Comedy (with Manya Steinokler, Cambridge University Press: 2016) and Transgender Psychoanalysis: A Lacanian Perspective on Sexual Difference (Routledge: 2017.)

Ronald Ruskin MD, FRCP(C), Dip Psych

Ronald Ruskin MD, FRCP(C), Dip Psych is director of the Three-Day Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto, and for many years has worked in the area of applied psychoanalysis. Ron has been a founding editor of Ars Medica, a journal of medical humanities, and co-edited texts on psychotherapy supervision (APA press 1994 and Body and Soul: Narratives of Healing from Ars Medica (2011 UTP). He has authored three novels, his two most recent novels are The Analyst Who Laughed to Death (2016, Karnac Books) and Confessions of a Medical Student (Sphinx Books to be released in August 2018).

Ron is on faculty of the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Analysis and a training and supervising analyst at the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society.

Full-time students in universities and colleges, and mental-health trainees are eligible for a 25% reduction in course fees. Proof of 2018/2019 status needs to be provided. Please contact the tps&i directly to register at a discount.

Refunds must be requested in writing two weeks prior to the beginning of a course. A handling fee of $30 will be retained. After these two weeks, fees cannot be returned.

For more information about and for registration in the tps&i Extension Programs, Scientific Meetings, Training Programs, Study and Supervision groups and Special Presentations, please visit our website: or email

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