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401 Unconscious Infant-Maternal Dynamics in the Adult Transference – 5 seminars

Seminar Leaders: V. Pasieka PhD, G. Yanchyshyn MD, C. Levitt PhD

Course Description

This course traces the developmental origins of psychic life pertaining to internal dynamics and unconscious phantasies of the infant with the primary maternal object through Freud, Klein, Winnicott, and Bion. Clinically, it explores the transferential implications in adult work of the unconscious impact of internal maternal-infant dynamics on psychic structure. This understanding is particularly pertinent when dealing with early disturbances.

Course Objectives

Candidates will learn:

  1. About the significance of the developmental fit between infant and the maternal object for psychic development and its transferential implications (1.1,1.2)
  2. How to observe this dynamic in the transference with adult patients, as well as how, and at what level, to address it (1.2, 4.2, 4.5)
  3. To differentiate the maternal and analytic functions of “holding” and “containing” in the analytic process as explicated by Winnicott and Bion, respectively (1.1, 1.2, 4.2)
  4. To integrate developmental theories and pathogenesis related to unconscious maternal-infant dynamics in Freud, Klein, Winnicott, and Bion (1.1, 1.2)

Seminar 1. Primitive Infantile Anxieties: Un-integration/Disintegrationin the movement towards Integration. Precariousness of fit between the infant and the maternal object: its significance for psychic development and the adult transference.

Required Readings

Three short seminal papers:

Bick, E. (1968). Experience of the Skin in early object relations. IJPA,49: 484-486.

Symington, J. (1985). The survival function of primitive omnipotence. IJPA, 66:481-88.

Winnicott, D.W. (1974) Fear of Breakdown. Int. R. Psycho-Anal, 1:103-107.

(13 pages in all)

And a short recent review:

O’Shaughnessy, E. (2006). A Conversation about early unintegration, disintegration and integration. Child Psychotherapy, 32(2) 153-157.

Recommended Readings

Mitrani, J. (2001). Extra-ordinary protections: the evolution of the theory of adhesive Identification. In Ordinary People and Extra-Ordinary Protections: A Post-Kleinian approach to the treatment of primitive mental states. Routledge: UK. p. 19-40

Faimberg, H. (1998) Nachtraglichkeit and Winnicott’s, ‘Fear of Breakdown’ in J. Abram (Ed). Donald Winnicott Today (2013), Routledge: London and New York.

Meltzer, D. (1975). Dimensionality in Mental Functioning. Chapter 9 in Explorations in Autism: A Psychoanalytical Study (D. Meltzer, J. Bremner, Shirley Hoxter, Doreen Wedell, Isca Wittenburg). Clunie Press: London. Pp. 223-238.

Seminar 2. The Impact of the Maternal Functions of ‘Holding’ and ‘Containing,’ as related to the development of psychic space and a thinking mind both in early psychic life and in analysis.

The seminar explores the psychic function of the maternal object alongside the infant’s internal experience of it. It contrasts transferential implications of Winnicott’s maternal ‘holding’ function of the infant’s continuity of being with Bion’s ‘container-contained’function, which addresses the dynamic interaction of predominantly unconscious experience.

Required Readings

Mawson, C. (2017). Interpretation as Freud’s Specific Action, and Bion’s Container-Contained. J. Psycho-Anal.,98(6):1519-1532.

Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The theory of the parent-infant relationship. IJPA,41: 585-95.

Ogden, T.H. (2004). On Holding and Containing: Being and Dreaming. IJPA, 85: 1349-1364.

Recommended Readings

Bion, W.R. (1970). Container and Contained Transformed. Ch. 12 in Attention and Interpretation: A Scientific Approach to Insight in Psycho-Analysis and Groups. London: Tavistock. Pp. 106-125.

Caper, R. (1999). A theory of the container. In A Mind of One’s Own. Routledge: London, p. 138-156.

Seminar 3. The Maternal-Infantile Transference in Adult Analysis

Required Readings

Mitrani, J. (2001). ‘Taking the transference’: Some technical implications in three papers by Bion. IJPA, 82(6): 1085-1104.

Mitrani, J. (1998). Unbearable ecstasy, reverence and awe, and the perpetuation of an “aesthetic conflict.” Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67 (1): 102-127.

Recommended Readings

Perelberg, R. J. (2015). On excess, trauma and helplessness: Repetition and Transformations, 96: IJPA, 1453-1476.

Mitrani, J. (1995). Toward an Understanding of Unmentalized Experience. In Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 64:68-112.

Seminar 4. Winnicott’s Contribution to the Maternal-Infant Transference

Required Readings

Winnicott, D.W.(1954-5). The depressive position in normal emotional development, inW. Winnicott (1958), Collected Papers. London: Tavistock Publications, pp.262-277.

Abram, J. (2012). On Winnicott’s clinical innovations in the analysis of adults IJPA, 93: 1461-1473.

Recommended Readings

D.W. (1968). Interpretation in Psycho-analysis. In C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, & M. Davis (Eds), Psychoanalytic Explorations (1989), pp. 207-212.

Winnicott D.W. (1965). The aims of psychoanalytical treatment, in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment (1965)London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, pp. 166-170.

Roussillon, R.(2010). The deconstruction of primary narcissism, IJPA, 91: 821-837.

Seminar 5. Early Infant-Maternal Dynamics in Freud

Required Readings

Freud, S. Instincts and Their Vicissitudes, SE XIV, pp. 133-140.

Freud, S. New Introductory Lectures, SE XX, pp. 132-157.

Recommended Readings

Zetzel, E.R. (1956). Current Concepts of Transference, IJPA, 37:369-376.

Litman, R.E. (Ed.) (1968). The Analytic Situation in Psychoanalysis in the Americas. IJPress, pp. 86-106.

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