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Psychopathology I: Neurotic-Level Character and Symptom Disorders

May 12, 2023 @ 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm, Wyman Classroom

Third Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2022-23, 3rd Trimester — Fridays, 1:45-3:15pm

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May 12, 2023 — Masochism / Self-Defeating Personalities

[39 pages]

Meyers breaks the functioning of masochism down into four categories (regulation of guilt; maintenance of object relations, regulation of self-esteem, importance in self-definition). Do you have clinical experiences in which you feel these functions are operative?

McWilliams offers a comprehensible way of understanding neurotic-level manifestations of masochistic character and helpfully distinguishes masochistic self-defeating characters from that of the depressive character. She offers clinical examples, notably drawing our attention to the need for tactful confrontation in the place of expressed empathy and to watch for the provoked countertransference that oscillates between a wish to rescue and a wish to retaliate (felt irritability / sadistic pole).

Auchincloss E.; Samberg, E. (2012), “Masochism”, in Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts, pp145-147.

Meyers, H. (1988). “A consideration of treatment techniques in relation to the functions of masochism” in Masochism: Current Psychoanalytic Perspectives (Glick, R. and Meyers, D. eds.) pp175-188.

McWilliams, N. (2011) Ch 12, “Masochistic (Self-Defeating) Personalities” in Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process (2nd Edition), pp267-288.


May 12, 2023
1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
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(206) 328-5315
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SPSI on Madison
4020 E Madison St, #230
Seattle, WA 98112
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(206) 328-5315
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