East Bay ISG Segments 2017-2018:

32 Weeks | September 7, 2017 — May 17, 2018
Thursdays | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: St. Clement’s Episcopal Church
2837 Claremont Boulevard, Berkeley, CA 94705

“Unconscious”: Evolutions of a Concept
Dawn Farber, Psy.D., MFT
September 7, 14, 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26; November 2

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 Relational Unconscious: From Repression to Dissociation
Ilene Philipson, Ph.D.
November 9, 16, 30; December 7, 14; January 4, 11, 18

Within the field of psychoanalysis, our understanding of what constitutes unconscious mental activity has shifted over the past few decades. Rather than viewing the self as unitary and the unconscious as the repository of conflict and fantasy, much of contemporary theorizing posits multiple self-states that work to preserve an individual’s stability in the face of disconfirming and/or unbearable relational experience. Interpretations that serve to uncover repressed, unconscious material are increasingly replaced by patient and therapist working together to understand enactments; that is, shared dissociative events that inevitably occur in the course of treatment. Is it possible to see the current focus on trauma, multiple self-states, and dissociation as a recuperation of the 19th-century thinking of Breuer and Freud, thinking that was lost in Freud’s abandonment of his seduction theory? How do we evaluate this shift? And how do we view the unconscious from a contemporary, analytic perspective? 

Working with Projective Identification
Robert Bartner, Ph.D., MFT
January 25; February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 1, 8, 15

Since its inception 71 years ago, projective identification has become one of the most important concepts in psychoanalysis. But while its clinical and theoretical value cannot be overstated, it remains a challenging and confusing concept for clinicians to understand and put to productive clinical use. In this course, we will consider several important aspects of projective identification to clarify some of the essential qualities of this invaluable concept so that it becomes more accessible to the clinician. With this goal in mind, we will explore the clinical experience of projective identification, from its deeply unconscious roots in both the patient and the analyst. 

Contemporary Views of the Unconscious
Andrea Walt, Ph.D.
March 22, 29; April 5, 19, 26; May 3, 10, 17

In this section, we will extend beyond the classical view of the unconscious laid out by Freud as primarily a repository for unacceptable instinctual wishes deemed unacceptable to the ego, superego, and the external environment. Leaving behind the mechanistic physics of Freud’s time, we consider the unconscious in the context of contemporary scientific thinking. Quantum theory, field theory, and intersubjective/relational theories allow us to challenge the notion of unitary and intrapersonal unconscious, and to consider the individual unconscious as connected within a web of human and non-human fields of information. We will focus on the phenomena of unconscious com­munication, unconscious knowing, and the so-called “uncanny.”