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GUYS & DOLLS: Intimacy in the Technological Era

October 18, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - October 19, 2019 @ 12:00 pm

Free – $115.00


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The Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute presents
GUYS & DOLLS: Intimacy in the Technological Era with Danielle Knafo, PhD
Friday October 18th & Saturday 19th, 2019

Click here to download the event brochure to register by mail.

What is it that makes a doll the ideal woman in a man’s eyes? Why would a man prefer a doll to a real woman? The Pygmalion myth, in which a man creates the woman of his dreams, indicates that the appeal of a man-made woman reaches far back in time.

We are living in an age of unprecedented technological advances. These changes are influencing what it means to be human and how we relate to each other and to inanimate objects. On Friday night, Dr. Knafo will discuss the subculture of men whose desire is directed at high-end love dolls. Jack, who called himself an “iDollator,” was living happily with his doll, Maya for 2 years. Eventually, he sought therapy. Friday’s lecture, “Men who Love Dolls,” discusses how both he and Dr. Knafo changed in the process. It also raises questions regarding the future of relational life. 

Men who choose doll partners have a female counterpart in women who take themselves as objects, women who strive to become doll-like. To seek artificially constructed femininity and to want to be an artificial female are essentially two sides of the same coin. 

Saturday’s first lecture explores a common form of female perversion—specifically, inhibition of agency and objectification of self in women, which Dr. Knafo calls the Barbie Syndrome. Dr. Knafo will deliver a presentation titled, “Women Who Want to be Dolls,” in which she describes her psychoanalytic treatment with Barbara, a woman in her twenties whose main desire was to be thin, beautiful, and nonsexual, like a Barbie doll – “Daddy’s little girl”. Barbara initially presented as a two-dimensional, Barbie doll-like pleaser, and, with the help of treatment, she progressed to a vital, three-dimensional woman capable of expressing a wide range of feelings and having life experiences previously denied her.

Freud considered the unconscious a site of repressed wishes and desires whose influence extends to the farthest reach of conscious life. Today, such desires find new expression on the internet, which allows anonymity and accessibility. Replacing “real world” skins with digital ones, users create virtual personas to promote their secret passions. The virtual space of consciousness is well matched to the virtual space of the web, though sexual and social enactments within the latter can have dangerous real-world consequences. In Digital Desire and the Online Imposter: Catfishing,” Dr. Knafo examines the darker side of the marriage between desire and communication technology. Through the phenomenon of “catfishing,” this paper raises questions about the nature of the human self and the role it plays in deception. Understanding how patients use the internet helps provide access to their unconscious desires.

Prior to this conference, SPSI’s Art Salon Committee will be showing the film, Lars and the Real Girl on Friday, October 4, 2019 at 6pm, at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. If you would like to attend this free screening and discussion (with wine and appetizers), RSVP online. 

Learning Objectives:

Friday presentation:

  1. Participants will learn about new technologies that are creating novel forms of intimacy.
  2. Participants will understand how the use of the transference and countertransference helps some men become less afraid of becoming involved with a real woman.

Saturday presentations:

  1. Participants will consider why so many women tend to objectify themselves.
  2. Participants will learn ways to address seemingly superficial issues, like beauty, in psychoanalytic treatment.
  3. Attendees will learn about the phenomenon of catfishing, a new form of perversion rampant in the digital dating scene.
  4. Attendees will contemplate the timeliness of the catfishing phenomenon in the context of the current attacks on truth.


Friday, October 18th — 1.5 hours: CME/CPE/CEU

  • 7:00-7:30 PM  Registration 
  • 7:30-7:40 PM  Introduction –Susan Radant, Ph.D.
  • 7:40-8:40 PM   “Men Who Love Dolls”: Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. 
  • 8:40-9:00 PM  Discussion with the audience 

Saturday, October 15 — 3.0 hours: CME/CPE/CEU 

  • 8:30-9:00 AM  Registration and continental breakfast 
  • 9:00-9:15 AM  Introduction –  Susan Radant, Ph.D.
  • 9:15-10:15 AM “Women Who Want to be Dolls”: Danielle Knafo, Ph.D.
  • 10:15-10:30 AM Coffee break 
  • 10:30-11:15 AM  Discussion by Cecile Bassen, M.D. and Discussion with the audience
  • 11:15-11:40 AM “Digital Desire and the Online Imposter: Catfishing”: Danielle Knafo, Ph.D.
  • 11:40-12:00 PM Discussion with the audience


Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. is a professor in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Long Island University. She is also faculty and supervisor at NYU’s and Adelphi University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Knafo has written and lectured on a variety of topics, including psychoanalysis, creativity, gender and sexuality, trauma and psychosis, and technology. Her book, The Age of Perversion: Desire and Technology in Psychoanalysis and Culture, won the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis’s 2018 book prize. She also recently published Sex, Drugs, and Creativity: Searching for Magic in a Disenchanted World. Her forthcoming book is titled The New Sexual Landscape and Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Cecile Bassen, M.D. has a longstanding interest in the psychology of gender, and is the North American co-chair of the Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis of the International Psychoanalytical Association. She is a training and consulting analyst at both the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (SPSI) and the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (NPSI), and is on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington.  She sees adults and adolescents in her private practice in Seattle.

Susan Radant, Ph.D. is a Training and Consulting Psychoanalyst and Past Director at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Radant has a private practice in Seattle, where she sees adults, adolescents and children in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

Conference Fees  

SPSI Members Non-members Students**
Friday and Saturday $80/$95 $100/$115 $40/$50
Friday Only $35/$40 $45/$50 $20/$20
Saturday Only $55/$65 $70/$80 $30/$35

* Register by Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 for early registration price. (Extended!)
** Please supply a document confirming student status, if one is not yet on file for the 2019-20 academic year. 

  • Active SPSI Clinical Associates and Students can register to attend SPSI events free of charge.
  • SPSI Instructors for the 2019-20 academic year are considered SPSI Members, and get the early registration price no matter when they register.

If you have any questions, or you’re not sure of your membership status, contact our Administrator, Zan Christensen, at (206) 328-5315 or zan@spsi.org. 

Click here to download the event brochure to register by mail.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of  4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

This presentation also meets the requirements of WAC 246-924-240 (Definition of Category of Creditable CPE). 

“This program has been approved for 4.5 CEUs by the NASW Washington State Chapter.” Licensed Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors are eligible. Provider number is #1975-144. 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.


October 18, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
October 19, 2019 @ 12:00 pm
Free – $115.00
Event Category:


(206) 328-5315
View Organizer Website


Wisteria Hall, Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive E
Seattle, WA 98112 United States
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