East Bay ISG Segments 2020-2021:

32 Weeks | September 10, 2020 — May 6, 2021
Thursdays | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: St. Clement’s Episcopal Church
2837 Claremont Boulevard, Berkeley, CA 94705

Fears of Breakdown and of Transcendence:  The Challenges of Love and Loss in Psychoanalysis
Mary Tennes, Ph.D.
September 10, 17, 24; October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Freud placed the Oedipal myth at the center of psychoanalysis, emphasizing that love and loss are intertwined from the start. In his paper “On Transcience” (1915), he described the capacity to love and grieve the ephemeral beauty of existence as essential to vital presence. Yet, Freud was deeply conflicted about opening to the transporting effects of love. His fears of letting go and of interconnectedness were emotional barriers he struggled with throughout his life.

In this course, we will trace the central place of these tensions in psychoanalytic theory and practice, conceptualizing the capacity to love and to grieve as foundational to our work.

On the Capacity for Love: It’s Complicated!
Andrea Walt, Ph.D.
November 5, 12, 19; December 3, 10, 17; January 7, 14

The capacity for love can be viewed as synonymous with psychological well-being. Meltzer’s concept of the esthetic object provides a view into the earliest experiences of love, appearing as states of awe and bliss, when the infant’s apprehension of the mother’s beauty floods the psyche with wonder. Co-arising with the experience of wondrous awe is the disturbing recognition of the object’s ungraspable otherness, leading to feelings of inner insufficiency and powerlessness over the other, ushering in a spectrum of anxieties that complicate the pathway towards love and well-being. We will consider the therapeutic task as one of fostering the capacity for love. We will also examine a psychoanalytic understanding of fear of the (different) other in the social-political context. 

Mending the Chain of Love: Primitive, Social, and Cultural Ruptures and Restorative Therapeutic Function
Carolina Bacchi, Psy.D., and Adam Beyda, Psy.D.
January 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11

An early immersion in the other allows the development of an emotional landscape with the potential for dreaming, play, aliveness, and an ability to love and live creatively within a community. We will explore how such capacities may be compromised by failures in the infantile environment, by historical trauma, and by cultural displacement. We will consider the appearance of these deficits at the level of community and the social, including disruption in the context of immigration and the role of transmission of trauma. We will take up the function of the other (the therapist, the community) in restoring the chain of love.

Fear of Living/Fear of Dying
Deborah Melman, Ph.D.
March 18, 25; April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; May 6

Aliveness involves being vulnerable to losses that we cannot prevent. Living in relation to the present and its demands and resonances entails living in relation to a domain that we can neither predict nor completely know and cannot control. Separation and the capacity to mourn are part of the process of living. When the fear of loss is so terrifying, then a fear of death — be it our own or others — creates a crypt-like world of petrified attachment/detachment. Being frozen by death anxiety consigns people to a world that cannot come fully alive.

We will explore how the fear of living and the dread of dying manifests in the clinical situation, and the therapeutic process of revitalization that treatment entails.