San Francisco Intensive Study Group —
Deconstructing the Iceberg: Contemporary Theories of the Unconscious and Clinical Application
Freud famously compared our mental life to an iceberg: 10% observable and 90% submerged. While it is generally agreed that the unconscious is the foundational concept of psychoanalytic theory, what continues to be debated is whether the concept pertains to an entity or to processes. Is the unconscious a storehouse of what is forgotten and rejected by consciousness? Is it an enigmatic register of what is unsymbolizable and unrepresentable? Is the unconscious a source of creative intuition that can generate moments of inexplicable insight — aha! — while simultaneously providing inspiration for the free play of mind and body? Is it purely intrapsychic, intersubjectively co-generated, or both?
The 2017-18 Intensive Study Groups will explore these and other theoretical questions, examining their implications for therapeutic action. How do our theories of the unconscious shape our styles of interpretation and intervention? Might this affect the way we listen?
Can we determine the clinical significance and relevance of our countertransferences and reveries as possible measures of unconscious-to-unconscious communication? How might different theories of the unconscious apply to different patient populations?
Like real icebergs, theories of the unconscious can be deceiving, reductionistic, or dangerous. Yet, they are also essential in helping us navigate tumultuous emotional domains. We, therefore, invite clinicians of all levels of experience to participate in this yearlong investigation, guided by clinically adept, insightful, and creative instructors. The didactics will be integrated with clinical material in order to facilitate a deeper understanding and use of theory.
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Participants will be able to discuss how the concept of the unconscious informs how analysts listen to their patients.
Participants will be able to compare the repressed from the non-repressed unconscious.
Participants will be able to compare and contrast different models of the unconscious as they are manifest in the clinical setting.
- Participants will be able to describe challenges posed to clinicians working with patients contending with catastrophic states of mind.
Bornstein, R.F. and J.M. Masling, ed. (1998). Empirical perspectives on the psychoanalytic unconscious. American Psychological Association (APA). Doi:10.1037/10256-000.
Paul U. Alexander, Ph.D., practices psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and consultation with individuals, couples, and small groups. He teaches at the Access Institute and at CPMC and consults on group processes in private practice and institutional settings. Dr. Alexander’s work includes study of the intersection of poetry, music, and psychoanalysis.
Israel Katz, M.D., is a member and faculty at SFCP. He is an Editorial Associate for JAPA and was Editor-in-Chief of IPSO, the IPA organization for psychoanalysts-in-formation. Dr. Katz has taught at SFCP, NCSPP, and Access Institute on Freud and also taught psychoanalysis in France, Spain, and Latin America. He has a private practice in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry in San Francisco.
Patricia Marra, MFT, is a member and faculty at SFCP; Chair, SFCP Visiting Professor program. She is also the Book & Film Review Editor, fort da, in which she has published several reviews and interviews. She teaches a variety of courses for SFCP and NCSPP. She maintains a private practice in San Francisco.
Neil Talkoff, Ph.D., is a faculty member at SFCP, has taught American Relational Psychoanalysis and currently is teaching a case conference. He’s instructed at CPMC, where he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year three times, and has presented at NCSPP and the IPA’s 2016 convention. Dr. Talkoff’s psychoanalytic private practice includes couples therapy and peer consultation.
The Intensive Study Groups are for mid- to advanced-level clinicians and community members, or academics and artists interested in the relations of psychoanalytic psychotherapy to culture.
Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, August 18, 2017: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, August 18, 2017: No refund provided.
ISG participants are eligible for 12 sessions of consultation with a PINC analyst at $60 per session to help integrate the material into clinical practice.
Administration | registration questions: Michele McGuinness, firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 496-9949
ISG Program questions: Brenda Bloomfield, LCSW, email@example.com or (510) 316-5312