Starting Psychoanalysis: Opening Phase

Fourth Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2020-21, 1st Trimester — Fridays, 3:30-5:00pm
Cara Alexander, MD


Developing psychoanalytic cases is part of the foundation of our work as psychoanalysts.  In this course, we will discuss how to develop analytic cases from the first phone call through the early opening phase.  We will work together to help you define who is analyzable by you.  I will help you explore your own feelings about taking patients into analysis.  You are welcome to share your feelings with your cohort or keep them private.  I will give you the tools to help you establish your own psychoanalytic frame.  You will begin to learn the basics of the opening phase of psychoanalysis.  We will also discuss including people of color in our practices during this very important historical movement.

Since you are adult learners and practitioners, please collaborate with me and stop me whenever you need clarification. Develop your own tools for learning.  My role is to assist you so that you can learn psychoanalytic theory and technique in a way that benefits your practice.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this course are:

  1. To identify potential control cases in your practice and illuminate your own feelings about taking them into analysis.
  2. To define analyzability for yourself and to be able to provide a psychoanalytic rationale for your definition.
  3. To establish your own psychoanalytic frame and to be able to provide a psychoanalytic rationale for your frame.
  4. To have the tools to convert a patient in your practice to a control case and begin the opening phase of psychoanalysis.
  5. To join the effort to end racism in our country as psychoanalysts.

September 11, 2020 — Welcome and Introduction. Why Psychoanalysis?

September 18, 2020 — Defining “Analyzability” for Yourself

[23 pages]

Rothstein, A. (2006). Reflections on the Concept “Analyzability”;. Psychoanal. Rev., 93(5):827-833.

Ehrenberg, D.B. (1992) On the Question of Analyzability. Contemp. Psychoanal., 28:16-31.

September 25, 2020 — The Concept of Empathy and Finding Control Cases

[40 pages]

Kohut, H. (2010). On Empathy: Heinz Kohut (1981). Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 5(2):122-131.

Ehrlich T.L. (2016) Finding Control Cases and Maintaining Immersion: Challenges and Opportunities. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 64(5): 983-1012

October 2, 2020 — Converting Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis

[33 pages]

Stolorow, R.D. (1990). Converting Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis: A Critique of the Underlying Assumptions. Psychoanal. Inq., 10(1):119-130.

Schlessinger, N. (1990). A Developmental View of Converting Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Inq., 10(1):67-87.

October 9, 2020 — Making the Recommendation for Psychoanalysis

[31 pages]

*The mid-term class evaluation will be conducted during this session. Please use these questions to facilitate your discussion: Midterm Evaluation 2019-02-13

Glover, W.C. (2000). Where Do Analysands Come From? A Candidate’s Experience in Recommending Psychoanalysis. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(1):21-37

Bassen, C. (1989). Transference-Countertransference Enactment in the Recommendation to Convert Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis.  Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 16:79-92

October 16, 2020 — Establishing a Psychoanalytic Frame – Classical Perspectives

[25 pages]

*Note: Next week includes a lot of reading.  You may choose to read ahead if you have time. 

Sandler, J. (1960). The Background of Safety. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:352-356.

Busch, F. (1995). Beginning A Psychoanalytic Treatment: Establishing an Analytic Frame. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:449-468

October 23, 2020 — Establishing a Psychoanalytic Frame – Relational and Object Relations Perspectives

[49 pages]

Mitchell, S.A. (1991). Wishes, Needs, and Interpersonal Negotiations. Psychoanal. Inq., 11(1/2):147-170

Kernberg, O.; et. al. (1987). “Establishing the Contract”, in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of Borderline Patients, pp25-49

October 30, 2020 — Conducting the Opening Phase

[16 pages]

[Class ends at 4:45pm due to the CAM meeting.]

Shane, E. and Shane, M. (1990). “The Opening Phase: A Developmental Perspective”, in On Beginning an Analysis, pp27-26

Lichtenberg, J.D. Auchincloss, E.L. (1989). The Opening Phase of Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 37:199-214

November 6, 2020 — Conducting the Opening Phase

[33 pages]

Freud, S. (1913). “On Beginning the Treatment (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis I)” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, pp121-144.

Brenner, C. (1990). “On Beginning an Analysis”, in On Beginning an Analysis, pp47-55

November 13, 2020 — Including People of Color

[16 pages]

Christian, C., et. al., (2016). Psychoanalysis in El Barrio. PEP Video Grants, 1(2):10.

Jacobs, L.M. (2014). Learning to Love White Shame and Guilt: Skills for Working as a White Therapist in a Racially Divided Country. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 9(4):297-312.

November 20, 2020 — Including People of Color

Winograd, B. (2014). Black Psychoanalysts Speak. PEP Video Grants, 1(1):1.

Pullman-Moore, C. (2016). A Working-Class Black Man has to Try 16 times Harder to Get a Therapy Appointment than a Middle-class White Woman.