Adult Development

First of all, we would like to applaud your request for a week’s respite between terms! Nothing is business as usual right now, all plans are provisional, and previous timelines no longer have the same meaning. We have both had the pleasure of meeting you all last year, when we taught with other partners, and are looking forward to getting reacquainted in the coming weeks, albeit under very different circumstances.

As we convene to study Adult Development, we recognize that it is a lifelong experience in which we are all engaged, and yet are all at different points on our own trajectories. Our goal is to facilitate an atmosphere of safety, as sharing clinical and personal experiences contribute to meaningful understanding of this subject matter. We plan to convey some of where we are in our own developmental trajectories, and invite you all to respond in kind.

Each week we will try to offer you some of our thoughts and questions to bear in mind as you read each article. Of course, we are interested in your own responses to the readings as well.

See you soon,
Anne and Michael


Hello APPP seminar members, 

Our theme of study for the fourth block series is “termination.” Termination can be interpreted a thousand ways within psychoanalytic contexts: the end of times, the end of a way of life, loss of capacity, my mind, reason, health, my life, my patient’s life, an animal’s death, my analyst’s death, a planet’s death, a fear of death, divorce, separation, a loved one’s death, genocide, mass killing, aging, suicide, the closure of a group, ending a relationship, ending an analysis or therapy… to name a few free associations. The loss of a way of life is really on my mind right now as we collectively share the effects of the pandemic requiring each day that we cooperate as a people across the globe by making sacrifices of all kinds to live and let live. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “termination? 

Our seminar falls on what will be your last class segment and the last hour and a half of your two-year study group… 5/18/20. One of our tasks will be to attend to the closure of your seminar series with your cohort. Having led analytically-oriented groups for decades, I can tell you that the practice of ending is acquired, meaning that it requires practice, critical thought and a capacity to self-reflect in the face of a micro-death. I strongly recommend that you attend our full sessions even if that flies in the face of a desire to cut out early, for whatever reason.

Death of the body, even micro-deaths, are little discussed realities in our psychoanalytic theories and practices and even when addressed are usually done so in reductive or superficial manner (Razinksy, 2013). We will have the unique opportunity, therefore, to study termination processes as you are terminating your two-year learning experience with your cohort and the APPP institution. I maintained an inter-disciplinary approach having designed our curriculum keeping a keen eye towards clinical applications of materials that we will address in our discussions.

Please come to each session with a question that arises for you as you read the material. The questions you provide will become our study guide. I will provide study questions beginning with the second seminar as well.


Our contemporary understanding of how trauma affects brain functioning has had a dramatic impact on how we think about treating trauma. A familiarity with the neuroscience of brains impacted by trauma helps guide how we approach treatment. Van der Kolk is a pioneer and leader in the field of treating trauma. Howell, Itzkowitz and Bucci also have written extensively on trauma.  Bromberg’s work is central to how I approach treatment.  His ideas about multiple self states, enactment, and dissociation as a normal process are emblematic of a relational approach to psychoanalysis. I hope to cover both trauma as surviving extraordinary external events (war, accidents) as well as developmental trauma which impacts many of us and our patients.