Adult Development

Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (APP)
2019-20, 4th Block — Mondays, 6:30-7:45pm
Michael R. Allison, MA LMHC
Anne Buchinski, MD


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

April 6, 2020

[9 pages]

For the first week, we plan to focus primarily on the Emerging Adulthood article, with a brief foray into Vaillant. The Erikson article is excellent, but we suspect most of you have some familiarity with him already.

Gilmore, K. (2019). Is Emerging Adulthood a New Developmental Phase? J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 67(4):625–653.

Credited to Jeffrey Arnett in 2000, the theory of emerging adulthood is something we are all likely to recognize in many different forms. There has been growing recognition that individuals rarely emerge from adolescence into full-fledged adulthood, and rather than pathologize this “failure,” Gilmore offers some ways to think about it developmentally. As you read this article, we invite you to think about your own definitions of adulthood.

Vaillant, G.E. (1985). Loss as a Metaphor for Attachment. Am. J. Psychoanal., 45:59-67

Vaillant addresses the impact of early parental loss.  He presents data from his decades-long longitudinal study of Harvard graduates in support of his thesis that internalization of important people, or failure to accomplish this, is more relevant than their physical presence. He also illustrates how our introjects of parents continue to grow and change, long after the demise of the actual objects.

Optional Reading

Erikson, E.H. (1984). Reflections on the Last Stage—And the First. Psychoanal. St. Child, 39:155-165

Erik Erikson is a seminal theorist in development throughout the life cycle, conceptualizing stages of adult development. As you read this article, think about the nature of change throughout adulthood. Are these changes better considered as stages or adaptation to the social environment?

April 13, 2020

[43 pages]

Shane, M. and Shane, E. (1989). The Struggle for Otherhood: Implications for Development in Adulthood. Psychoanal. Inq., 9:466-481

Mitchell, S.A. (2002). Can Love Last? The Fate of Romance over Time. Ch1, pp31-57.

April 20, 2020

[62 pages]

Zeavin, L.M. (2005). Knowing and Not Knowing: The Analyst’s Pregnancy. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):703-735. (Up until Case A)

(Read up until Case A.)

Leon, I.G. (2010). Understanding and Treating Infertility: Psychoanalytic Considerations. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 38(1):47-75.

April 27, 2020

[63 pages]

Colarusso, C.A. (1990). The Third Individuation—The Effect of Biological Parenthood on Separation-Individuation Processes in Adulthood. Psychoanal. St. Child, 45:179-194.

Stuart, J. (2007). Work and Motherhood: Preliminary Report of a Psychoanalytic Study. Psychoanal Q., 76:439-485

Optional Reading

Oxenhandler, N., The Eros of Parenthood. The New Yorker, 1996.

May 4, 2020

[57 pages]

Colarusso, C.A., Montero, G.J. (2007). Transience During Midlife as an Adult Psychic Organizer: The Midlife Transition and Crisis Continuum. Psychoanal. St. Child, 62:329-358.

Alpert, J.L. (2012). Loss of Humanness: The Ultimate Trauma. Am. J. Psychoanal., 72(2):118-138

Jenkins, S.A. (2011). Trauma, Transience, and Resilience in Chronic Illness: A Perspective on the Physician–Patient Relationship. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 6(4):572-577

May 11, 2020

[23 pages]

Colarusso, C.A. (2000). Separation-Individuation Phenomena in Adulthood: General Concepts and the Fifth Individuation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 48(4):1467-1489.

May 18, 2020

[17 pages]

Goldman, D. (2010). As Generations Speak. Psychoanal. Psychol., 27(4):475-491

May 26, 2020

[37 pages]

Chessick, R.D. (2013). Special Problems for the Elderly Psychoanalyst in the Psychoanalytic Process. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 61(1):67-93.

Celenza, A. (2010). The Analyst’s Need and Desire. Psychoanal. Dial., 20(1):60-69