Life Span Development I

2-Year Certificate Program (2YCP)
2022-23, 2nd Term — Mondays, 6:30-7:45pm
Kelly Lippman, LMHC


As children move from infancy to middle childhood, multiple intersecting aspects of development and self-organization occur, all within a social and cultural context and sometimes disrupted by trauma. Infants and young children experience transformation in object relating, accommodation to reality (and associated mourning), capacity for ambivalence and greater affect tolerance (love, hate, rivalry), capacity for imaginary play and symbolic thought, mentalization (theory of mind), identification with aspects of caregivers and others in their family and cultural surround, nascent gender and racial/ethnic identity and the formation and consolidation of the superego and ego ideal. The implications of this early period of development truly reverberate throughout the lifespan.

We will explore early and contemporary ideas as well as papers that focus on clinical vignettes. As we go, I hope that we will hold in mind Tummala-Narra’s thoughts about decolonization and how theory arises in a context and can be deployed to deepen or obscure our understanding of human subjectivity.

Although we will be talking about early child development, we will be applying what we learn to adult treatment. I welcome your feedback on the course and the readings as we proceed.

Learning Objectives

  1. Assess the developmental experiences of their clients from a variety of perspectives and recognize how patterns of early experience dynamically affect the adult clinical situation.
  2. Recognize the effects of early relational trauma, better empathize with unbearable affect and receive and metabolize projective communication more effectively in order to facilitate improvement in reflective capacity, self-cohesion and affect regulation.
  3. Develop an understanding of the process of building representations in an internal world in order to better formulate clinical material and improve treatment efficacy.

November 14, 2022 — The Relational Matrix of Infancy and Attachment

[35 pages]

Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:585-595.

Sroufe, L.A. (2017) Ch1, “Attachment Theory: A Humanistic Approach for Research and Practice Across Cultures” in Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Perspectives: A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach, New York: NY. Routledge. pp1-24.

November 21, 2022 — Origins of Mental Functioning, Symbolization and Mentalization

[53 pages]

Freud, A. (1981) The Concept of Developmental Lines—Their Diagnostic Significance. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 36:129-136.

Mitrani, J.L. (1995). Toward An Understanding Of Unmentalized Experience. Psychoanal Q., 64:68-112.

November 28, 2022 — Trauma

[17 pages]

Durban, J. (2017). Home, Homelessness and nowhere-ness in early infancy. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 43(2):175-191.

December 5, 2022 — Trauma

[14 pages]

Slade, A. (2014). Imagining Fear: Attachment, Threat, and Psychic Experience. Psychoanal. Dial., 24(3):253-266.

Optional Reading

McIntosh, J.E. (2002) Thought in the face of violence: a child’s need. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26:229-241.

December 12, 2022 — Toddlerhood, Omnipotence, Separation-Individuation

[42 pages]

Gilmore, K. and Meersand, P. (2015) Ch. 3, “Toddlerhood: Separation-Individuation, Rapprochement, and the Forerunners of Superego Development” in The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development, pp51-70.

Novick, J. & Novick, K.K. (1996). Ch3, Masochism and the Delusion of Omnipotence from a Developmental Perspective. In Fearful Symmetry, pp48-69.

December 19, 2022 — Triadic/Multidimensional Relations

[40 pages]

Britton, R. (1992). The Oedipus Situation and the Depressive Position. New Library of Psychoanalysis, 14:34-45.

Olesker, W. (2012). Aggression and Impulse Control in the Analysis of a Young Boy. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 66:81-108.

[Stop reading at the end of page 98]

January 9, 2023 — Triadic/Multidimensional Relations

[29 pages]

Nathans, S. (2021) Oedipus for Everyone: Revitalizing the Model for LGBTQ Couples and Single Parent Families. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(3):312-328.

McGleughlin, J. (2021) Rethinking Oedipus or Not. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(3):328-339.

Optional Reading

Morgan, M. (2021) Triangular Dynamics and Triangular Space: A Response to Shelley Nathans’ “Oedipus for Everyone: Revitalizing the Model for LGBTQ Couples and Single Parent Families.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(3):340-348.

Nathans, S. (2021) Further thoughts on the Oedipal Lens: Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(3):349-354.

January 16, 2023 — Identification

[33 pages]

Benjamin, J. (1995). Sameness and Difference: Toward an “Overinclusive” Model of Gender Development. Psychoanal. Inq., 15(1):125-142.

Van Ausdale, D. and Feagin, J. (1996) Using Racial and Ethnic Concepts: The Critical Case of Very Young Children. American Sociological Review, 61(5):779-793.

Optional Reading

Gozlan, O. (2018). From Continuity to Contiguity: A Response to the Fraught Temporality of Gender. Psychoanalytic Review 105(1):1-29.