Concepts of Analytic Process

2-Year Certificate Program (2YCP)
2022-23, 2nd Term — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Anne Buchinski, MD
Anthony Thomas, MD


There are many theories and schools of thought within psychoanalysis. Over the next two years, you will be studying a number of different orientations. You will notice (and we will briefly discuss) the ways that theories may overlap at times, or how they differ in important ways at other times. However, the significance of the dynamic unconscious is fundamental to all, and we have chosen to focus on how we as clinicians can best serve the people who come to us by respecting and listening to their unconscious as well as their conscious communication. This is a unifying concept in psychoanalysis, a foundational principle.

During this course, we hope to apply the concepts we are discussing to cases in our clinical practices. As you read, please make note of individuals and/or clinical moments in your practice that come to mind. Learning to recognize these concepts in your clinical work brings them alive and leads to an increased understanding of how to work with both “there and then” and “here and now” moments in your work.

We hope you will find the material in this syllabus both interesting and useful. We look forward to hearing your objectives for yourselves in this course. We welcome feedback on the course and the readings as we proceed. This course and this syllabus are also dynamic undertakings, and we are ready to respond to the group’s wishes and interests as we work together.

The handout below lists criteria for assessing whether a treatment is psychoanalytic.  Many of the items listed will be part of our discussion during this course. Feel free to peruse this at your leisure; we’d be happy to answer questions or elaborate whenever it arises.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. recognize and discuss the role of the unconscious in everyday life and the use of the unconscious in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
  2. discuss the three modes of therapeutic action that inform the major psychoanalytic theories and when each may be helpful with a particular patient.
  3. attend to both verbal and nonverbal unconscious communication, identify possible unconscious underpinnings of conscious choices and actions, and thereby increase their understanding of their patients' internal worlds (and their own in relation to their patients’), providing more options of how and where to intervene with patients.
  4. discuss the process of creating the psychoanalytic frame needed by both clinician and patient for the work of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and how adaptations of the frame may either support or hinder the work.

November 14, 2022 — The Unconscious and Therapeutic Action

[14 pages]

McDougall, J. (1985). Theaters of the Mind. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Prologue, pp3-16.

Stark, M. (1999), Modes of Therapeutic Action. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, Inc. pp. xv-18

November 21, 2022 — Therapeutic Action

[50 pages]

Stark, M. (1999), Modes of Therapeutic Action. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, Inc., pp19-68

November 28, 2022 — Analytic Listening and Communicating 1

[33 pages]

McWilliams, N. (2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press. pp132-142.

Schwaber, E.A. (2005). The Struggle to Listen: Continuing Reflections, Lingering Paradoxes, and Some Thoughts on Recovery of Memory. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 53(3):789-810.

December 5, 2022 — Analytic Listening and Communicating 2

[18 pages]

Marks-Tarlow, T. (2014). The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Clinical Intuition, Smith College Studies in Social Work, 84:2-3, 219-236

December 12, 2022 — Transference and Countertransference

[12 pages]

Sandler, J. (1976). Countertransference and Role-Responsiveness. IRP, 3:43-47.

Stern, D.B. (1987) Unformulated Experience and Transference. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 23:484-490

December 19, 2022 — Enactments

[25 pages]

 Maroda, K.J. (2020). Deconstructing Enactment. Psychoanalytic Psychology 37(1): 8-17.

Leary, K. (2000). Racial Enactments in Dynamic Treatment. Psychoanal. Dial., 10(4):639-653.

January 9, 2023 — Frame, Safety, Therapeutic Relationship 1

[43 pages]

McWilliams, N. (2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press. pp81-86.

McWilliams, N. (2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press, pp99-107.

McWilliams, N. (2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press. pp142-149.

Abbasi, A. (2012). A Very Dangerous Conversation: The Patient’s Internal Conflicts Elaborated Through the Use of Ethnic and Religious Differences between Analyst and Patient. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(3):515-534.

January 16, 2023 — Frame, Safety, Therapeutic Relationship 2

[27 pages]

Mitchell, S. (1993). Ch7, “Wishes, Needs and Interpersonal Negotiations” in Hope and Dread in Psychoanalysis. pp175-201.