Clinical Experiences of Negative Representation in the Consulting Room
As clinicians, we often seek evidence of patients’ emotional experiences through “positivistic” sensorially based perceptions. In contemporary practice, we are learning how the consequences of early trauma can be mentally represented in negated forms such as blankness, deadness, absences, or gaps. Patients unconsciously use these mechanisms to psychically defend against painful affects, unformulated or unmentalized experience(s). An inability to hear these silent forms of defenses in the consulting room can result in ruptures or impasses in the treatment relationship. To locate non-symbolic defenses, we rely on our intuition as well as our understanding of “negative representations.” Sometimes these phenomena are experienced by clinicians as a lack of resonance in the countertransference. Using historical psychoanalytic papers from Freud, Klein, Bion, Green, and Meltzer as background, we will work together in this course to explore how to identify non-symbolic mechanisms originating prior to repression, and expand our clinical capacities to attend to this important material.
- Participants will be able to identify and discuss Freuds concepts relevant to understanding negation: such as mnemetic memory traces, representations, cathexis and decathexis, the pleasure principle, and positive and negative hallucinations.
- Participants will be able to identify Freuds contribution to understanding the process of negation and be able to note similar phenomena in clinical material provided.
- Participants will be able to identify patients relational template(s) for communicating unconscious material including projective identification and the defenses associated with the Paranoid Schizoid and Depressive positions. Participants will be able to compare the differences between symbolic and non-symbolic defense mechanisms in patients.
- Participants will be able to identify Meltzers understanding of how a mental representation can be dismantled and discuss how that phenomenon can be observed in the transference relationship.
- Participants will be able to identify and discuss how absence and blankness are related to psychic holes or erasures in the mind, and consider how these mechanisms affect countertransference experiences in the consulting room.
- Participants will assess their own ability to integrate the work of the negative into their clinical practice. Participants will be able to generate technical interventions to address patients difficulty introjecting/internalizing the analyst.
This course is for mental health professionals with moderate to extensive experience in clinical work with patients.
Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time.
For program related questions contact Elise Geltman, LCSW at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-239-3443.
For questions related to enrollment, locations, CE credit, special needs, course availability and other administrative issues contact Michele McGuinness by email or 415-496-9949.