San Francisco ISG Segments 2017-2018:

32 Weeks | September 8, 2017 — May 18, 2018
Fridays | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC)
530 Bush Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108

“Unconscious”: Evolutions of a Concept
Dawn Farber, Psy.D., MFT
September 8, 15, 29; October 6, 13, 20, 27; November 3

Freud’s “unconscious” is the seminal signifier of the vast psychic territory of relatively inaccessible thinking/feeling that motivates us. From dreams, jokes, parapraxes, and “catching the drift,” through intuition/reverie and waking-dreaming, the century-long re-visioning of concepts and practice reflects changes in our scientific understanding of the universe, including our current iteration of quantum unconscious-to-unconscious psychic functioning. One common thread posits the unconscious as interpersonal, with clinical attention being focused on the transference-counter­transference as the process whereby formerly unknown – dissociated, repressed, implicit – experience is rendered knowable, livable. All concepts remain viable. We will study representative papers: mother-infant work; Ogden’s transformations of “waking dreaming”; Donnel Stern’s “unformulated experience”; Bion’s Trans­form­ations O>K>O; and the mathematical theory of Matte-Blanco. 

The Navel of the Dream of the Unconscious
Israel Katz, M.D.
November 10, 17, ; December 1, 8, 15; January 5, 12, 19

We will take a journey on the unrepresentable and yet-to-be represented in their relations with the unconscious and our clinical work. We begin by exploring the Freudian invention of the dynamic repressed unconscious and its interweaving with the navel of the dream, “the spot where it reaches down into the unknown” (Freud, 1900). We will discuss certain portions of Freud’s work where he grapples with this dimension of the non-repressed unconscious. We then move on to study some post-Freudian elaborations, such as bi-logic and the unconscious as infinite sets (Matte Blanco), the work of the negative (Green), and the Real dimensions of the unconscious (Lacan) through readings and clinical discussions. 

The Rashomon of the Unconscious
Patricia Marra, MFT
January 26; February 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9, 16

What is “the unconscious”? Where or who is it? In the beholder’s mind, the unconscious is wherever the patient’s emotional problem takes us. It may shape the holding environment that traumatically isn’t there (Ferenczi, Gurevich); be wedged in a body-mind disconnection (Lombardi, Goldberg); be woven into the symbiotic trajectory toward becoming a person (Winnicott, Searles); or be sequestered in a world away from the world (Fairbairn). Besides exploring various ways the unconscious emanates, we will read essays by Pontalis and selections by Bion, Ogden, and Civitarese describing ways to be receptive to the unconscious in the consulting room. 

Communications of the Unconscious in Psyche/Soma, Link, and Culture
Paul U. Alexander, Ph.D.
March 23, 30; April 6, 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

In this course, we will consider the clinical setting as a potential space in which unconscious-to-unconscious communication can take place. Particular attention will be paid to the spectrum of “madness,” as constituted by our culture and by our discipline, and the challenges posed to clinicians working with catastrophic patient states. We will examine artistic expressions in our culture (poetry, music, photography), exploring their usefulness for tuning our minds to the unconscious. A final layer of inquiry will be the potent manifestations of the unconscious in small and large groups in our society. Readings: Winnicott, Bion, Searles, Williams, Matte Blanco, and Rey.