San Francisco Intensive Study Group —
Love, Loss and Lost Love:
Building Capacities for Loving, Losing, and Growing
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
— Funeral Blues, W.H. Auden (1938)
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
— In Blackwater Woods, Mary Oliver (1983)
The earliest experiences of love are at the core of our sense of self: the warmth and holding of the mother’s body; discovery in the reflection of the caregiver’s gaze; a bodily ego formed from repeated skin-to-skin contact. Moments of responsiveness between caregiver and infant build the connection that grows the internal world of both. If all goes well, love leads to a home within — a safe, reliable internal location to ride out the ups and downs. But as we know from listening to our patients in the consulting room, it does not always go well.
In the face of the unprecedented destruction of World War I, Freud (1917) penned one of his most famous and influential papers “Mourning and Melancholia”. He took up the question of the difficulty of loss — the personal loss of a loved one and the loss of ideals and identity. How is it that some patients experience a death or loss and work it through, while others falter in the grieving process and become frozen in a state of self-attacking melancholia?
Given the current political trends and events, we face destructiveness on a daily basis. We witness cycles of attack and retaliation — a sense of things breaking apart where the feeling of loss abounds. We are witness to the loss of world resources as a result of climate change, and of our humanity, as expressed in attitudes towards the other. In such times, a sense of loss of love looms for each other and for the world — we are witnessing a war within ourselves.
What happens if we lose our sense of self in the process of being othered, or when we lose our home and have to contend with the feeling of not being rooted within? What happens when we attack parts of ourselves? How do we interrupt this deadly and deadening experience? If, as Freud (1906) wrote, “Psychoanalysis is in essence a cure through love,” then how do one’s vulnerabilities to love impact the therapeutic action of our clinical work?
The 2020-21 ISG will explore what psychoanalytic thinkers have to contribute to our understanding of the intertwined complexities of love and loss, as well as how to work with them in the consulting room towards transforming loss into an opportunity for growth.
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.
Click here for detailed information about individual ISG segments.
NCSPP is aware that historically psychoanalysis has either excluded or pathologized groups outside of the dominant population in terms of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and size. As an organization, we are committed to bringing awareness to matters of anti-oppression, inequity, inequality, diversity, and inclusion as they pertain to our educational offerings, our theoretical orientation, our community, and the broader world we all inhabit.
Genie Dvorak, Psy.D.
Our love relations form the most basic elements of our cultural surround. This environment—composed of implicit and explicit communications, inclusive of internal and external experiences, and largely unconscious—shapes who we are, how we navigate the world, and how we encounter others. Our experiences of loss, disappointment, and absence in love form the nucleus of what we disavow in ourselves, locate in others, and react to. My hope in this course is that we will bring, as a group, our clinical experiences in these areas together with our readings and discussion to work to better know and navigate this terrain.
Robin Deutsch, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis’ development is rooted in the biases of white, Victorian Vienna. It was developed by Freud, a Jew, in a cauldron of antisemitism, which remained unconsidered as part of the matrix of the unconscious and unconsidered in the development of clinical technique. This palindrome of culture-theory-culture still exists and critical thinking about how culture exists in the unconscious and continues to impact clinical technique, particularly for historically pathologized or excluded groups, is under-developed. Since publication of writings in this arena lags behind clinical conversation, the group will consider technique within our greater conscious and unconscious cultural context in our discussion of case material and readings.
Deborah Weisinger, Psy.D.
In keeping with the theme of loss of this ISG, I think it is necessary to acknowledge the role that psychoanalysis has played in excluding and pathologizing people that were deemed different (outside of the dominant culture). And to not only acknowledge this loss, but also to bring awareness and open discussion to these experiences as they continue to operate in the present.
Drew Tillotson, Psy.D., FIPA
While much has/is being explored, clearly stated, given attention and written nowadays in psychoanalysis regarding race, cultural oppression, inequities, marginalized populations who cannot afford or consider treatment, contemporary gender and sexuality ideologies, much damage has occurred in the past (I would say also presently still) within the psychoanalytic world. It is not only important to break new ground by writing, teaching and presenting, but to thoughtfully and carefully integrate the past. Not everything in the past has been destructive; ironically much that has been learned and written and theorized has actually helped forge new ways of theorizing and practicing. We need to be able to acknowledge these past atrocities and extreme tensions (past and present), while remaining thoughtful and open to new ways of thinking without closing off, thinking we understand and can move on, compartmentalizing or re-traumatizing our colleagues and most importantly, our patients. Attention will be paid to these complex contemporary tensions in this segment of the ISG.
At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Discuss and describe Robert Grossmark’s idea of the “unobtrusive relational analyst” as related to our work with patients who inhabit dissociative states, or who otherwise lack language to describe their internal experience.
- Discuss the development of the capacity to cope with life’s necessary losses from the theoretical perspective of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein.
- Apply psychoanalytic perspectives to their clinical work with patients that are oriented towards understanding aspects of the development of and/or impingements on the capacities to mourn and cope with loss, particularly in response to experiences of traumatic loss.
- Apply the concepts of mourning, melancholia, developmental trauma, intergenerational transmission of trauma, and the social construction of “otherness”, to their understanding of the cultural contexts surrounding their clinical work. 5. identify several key problems that can be encountered in the experience of love and how these can lead to difficulties in development, clinical dynamics, and change.
- Beebe, B., Lachmann, F., Jaffe, J., Markesa,S., Buck, K., Chen, H., Cohen, P., Feldstein, S., & Andrews, H. (2012) Maternal postpartum depressive symptoms and 4 month old mother-infant interaction. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 29 (4), 383-407.
- Berggraf, L, P. G. Ulvenes, T. Øktedalen, et al. (2014). Experience of affects predicting sense of self and others in short-term dynamic and cognitive therapy. Psychotherapy, 51(2), 246–257. doi: 10.1037/a0036581.
- Colli, A, A. Tanzilli, G. Dimaggio, et al. (2014). Patient Personality and Therapist Response: An Empirical Investigation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(1), 102–108. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13020224.
- Fonagy, P., Rost, F., Carlyle, J. A., McPherson, S., Thomas, R., Pasco Fearon, R. M., ... & Taylor, D. (2015). Pragmatic randomized controlled trial of long‐term psychoanalytic psychotherapy for treatment‐resistant depression: The Tavistock Adult Depression Study (TADS). World Psychiatry, 14(3), 312-321.
- Marmarosh, Cheri. (2012) Empirically Supported Perspectives on Transference in Psychotherapy Theory Research Practice Training, 49(3): 364-9.
Robin A. Deutsch, Ph.D., maintains a private practice of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and consultation in Oakland. She is a training and supervising analyst at SFCP, and a personal analyst at PINC. Dr. Deutsch has presented on analytic identity, termination of treatment, and the analyst’s death. Her book, Traumatic Ruptures: Abandonment and Betrayal in the Analytic Relationship, was published in 2014.
Genie Dvorak, Psy.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco, where she sees adults and couples as well as children and adolescents. She is a faculty member at SFCP and teaches, supervises, and provides consultation on clinical work and teaching. Her award-winning paper, “The Persistent Past: Listening for the Logic and Potentials of the Repetition Compulsion”, will be presented at the American Psychoanalytic Association conference in Chicago in June 2020.
Drew Tillotson, Psy.D., FIPA, is a fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), past president of PINC and NCSPP, vice president of the North American Psychoanalytic Confederation (NAPsaC), board director of the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (CIPS), and sits on the IPA’s Psychoanalytic Education Committee. He is co-editor and chapter author of “Body as Psychoanalytic Object: Clinical Applications from Winnicott to Bion and Beyond,” for Routledge Press. He teaches widely in the Bay Area and has a private practice in San Francisco.
Deborah Weisinger, Psy.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco, where she sees individual adults. She is on the faculty of SFCP and teaches and supervises at local clinical training sites, most recently Access Institute and CPMC.
The ISG is for clinicians with moderate to extensive experience in clinical work with some background in the principles of psychoanalytic approaches or laypersons with a strong academic or cultural interest in applied or clinical psychoanalysis.
LCSW/MFTs: Course meets the requirements for 64 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPS, as required by the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences. NCSPP is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider Number 57020), to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCS, and/or LEPs. NCSPP maintains responsibility for this program /course and its content.
Psychologists: Psychologists receive credit through Division 39 upon completion of this course. Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, August 21, 2020: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, August 21, 2020: No refund provided.