Events and Seminars

Event:The Therapist’s Vulnerability
Duration:9pm -12am GMT / 5pm - 8pm EST
Extra Info:The Therapist’s Vulnerability: Exploring How Our Early Experiences Shape Our Theories and Clinical Choices with Dr. Karen Maroda

This presentation explores our tendencies to take too much responsibility for others’ happiness and wellbeing, noting the guilt and shame that inevitably follow when we cannot succeed.

Anger over our ongoing self-sacrifice leads to oversolicitous behavior and a need to be the “perfect mother.” Our fear of doing harm is almost always exaggerated, having been born out of blaming ourselves when we could not save our family members. And we routinely deny the many gratifications that occur in our daily practice for fear of being seen as self-indulgent. In recent years the analytic literature has become more diverse, but also filled with vagaries and references to unconscious and mysterious processes that rely on intuition. Having rebelled against a perceived authoritarian and often dehumanizing classical analysis, are we now somewhat lost in developing new ideas and technique, having failed to examine why and how we do this work?

It has long been accepted that becoming a psychotherapist is an overdetermined vocational choice. The frequency with which we have had depressed mothers has been noted often, including by Winnicott who said he “made his living” by keeping his mother alive. Stolorow & Atwood (1979) added to this narrative by noting that our theories are also born out of our own early experiences. But little has been added to this potentially fertile line of inquiry. Searles talked about our need to rescue and be rescued, has have several others. Sussman noted in his research even analysts remained on the surface when asked why they chose their profession. This lack of exploration of the strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires, that determine the way we create theory and technique, are arguably the greatest obstacle to innovation.
Organised By:Contemporary Psychodynamic Institute
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