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Overview of PSA History

September 17, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:15 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 8:00 pm on Monday, happening 8 times

Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (APP)
2018-19, 1st Block — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Scot Gibson, MD

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The goal of this class is to give you a beginning framework for your own understanding of psychoanalytic theory and thought.

“Psychoanalytic Theory” is an enormous, sprawling body of thought and ideas, which has been aggregating over the last 123 years (or longer, depending on how you count), and learning it is a long-term process. There is no one single, definitive interpretation of this body of work, and the job of the psychoanalytically-informed therapist is to continually take what they learn (from both theorists and from their patients) and add it to their own personal synthesis.

In this class, we will hit a few of the “high points” or important nodes among the branches and schools of thought. Each class, or part of a class, devoted to particular figure or set of ideas will necessarily be a very cursory and incomplete discussion — really only a taste of each line of thought. My hope is that by having this broad, partial overview, you will be able to more readily make connections, comparisons, and contrasts among the various thinkers and ideas as you study them in more depth in subsequent classes.

These connections are important, because along the history of psychoanalytic thought, each new idea has been built upon the ideas which came before it, and the newer ideas often carry (implicitly or explicitly) a useful critique of the prior ways of thinking. Thus, by following the historical progression of ideas, you can see the strengths of the new theory, and the limitations of the older theory that the newer one was hoping to address. This can help you understand both theories more fully.

In the process of creating their own ways of practicing, individual therapists will often gravitate to one or two areas of the larger world of psychoanalytic theory that particularly suits them. For instance, a therapist might say “I’m a self psychologist”, or “I mostly work within an object-relations framework, with some influences from the relational world.” Regardless of what pieces you put together to create your own practice style, having the larger picture of how everything fits together will bring greater understanding and richness to your practice.

September 17, 2018 — Introduction

LaFarge, L. (2017). From “Either/Or” to “And”: The Analyst’s Use of Multiple Models in Clinical Work. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 65(5):829-844.

This is a recent article from a major psychoanalytic journal which discusses the use of theory, including the “personal core theories” that individual therapists and analysts work from, and how new theoretical ideas get assimilated (or not). I think she begins to get down into the nitty-gritty of how theory shapes our listening. To quote: “It is a truism of psychoanalysis that theory should never be in the foreground of the analyst’s mind in the clinical moment, but that at the same time an analyst cannot listen analytically without theory in the background of her thinking.”


September 17, 2018
8:00 pm - 9:15 pm
Event Category:


(206) 328-5315
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4020 E Madison St, #230
Seattle, WA 98112
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(206) 328-5315
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