Professional group study & Consultation

keeping ourselves alive & Engaged in our depth work

~ February 2021 Theme ~

Working With Aggression:

Coming Up Against Another 


  • SOMATIC EXPERIENCE Chapter 8 – Rough & Tumble: Sensing, Playing & Maturation, pages 98-112;  Review and Read Again – Chapter 9 – Take Me: Erotic Vitality & Disturbance, pages 113-124.
  • INTIMACY & SEPARATENESS Chapter 7 – Analyst’s Fears, Clinical Illustrations, pages 75-79.  
  • PSYCHOANALYTIC CASE FORMULATION – Chapter 6 – Assessing Affects – Using Affects Defensively, pages 113-114; Getting Affect Right, pages116 – 121.



Highlighted & Underlined Book Chapters

Groups – Chapter 1 – Engaged Research   (Review)



As you read, place your emphasis on Cornell’s Chapter 8 on Rough & Tumble, and also all of the personal notes I have on Aggression.  You don’t have to do a lot of reading prep for this month, as I have material from Cornell’s recent workshop I want to present at this month’s group. 

I have also posted here a YouTube file of the Essential Conversation on Aggression from last month’s broadcast with Bill, in case you missed it.

When the expression of aggression in a client is reasonably healthy, it is not to destroy anyone or anything.  It is to secure the therapist – to get the therapist to respond, to ‘do something’.

It communicates to the therapist “I am here – you be here, too!”   It brings life force to get the environment to make a space where something can happen.

Underneath it all, our clients want the work to stand up to their distrust, to their anxiety, to their resistances.  They want us to stay put, to withstand their aggression, to deal with what is wrong with them.

The therapist’s job is to  not withdraw and to not retaliate – as this puts the work on hold or in jeopardy.  Instead, we need to allow, to welcome their aggression, and understand it for what it is –  an  attempt to make the environment important to them again.

Bill Cornell - MGM Workshop, January 2021

Holding & Containing 

An Essay on the essential work of Donald Winnicott.

Containment is crucial in a therapeutic context as a way of providing a safe place for the client to look at feelings that otherwise are likely to be experienced as overpowering and bewildering.

The importance of this in the healing process cannot be under-estimated.

Individuals who have experienced extreme pain, fear, desertion and anger will often find it difficult to think; they may find it particularly difficult to think about their emotions, which can remain completely exempt from consciousness, and hence unavailable for reflection. 

This is an excellent essay that describes in detail how a steady and attentive container allows for reflection and thinking in the client, which would otherwise not occur.