Theme for September 2021
working with aggression: coming up against the other
The US Supervision/Study group meets monthly on a Wednesday from 1:00 – 4:00pm ET.
The group is private, and is by invitation only. It is limited to a maximum of 8 people. All group members must have an active caseload of individual clients.
The cost is $90 per person per group, regardless of your ability to attend each session. Sessions are to be paid by the day of each session, through the PayPal link on the month’s preparation page.
All sessions can be recorded, viewable only for the participants of this established group.
Clinical Books For The Study Year
Psychoanalytic Case Formulation – Nancy McWilliams
Catch Them Before They Fall – The Psychoanalysis of Breakdown – Christopher Bollas
The Maturational Processes & The Facilitating Environment – D.W. Winnicott
Meaning & Melancholia – Life In The Age of Bewilderment – Christopher Bollas
Intimacy & Separateness in Psychoanalysis – Warren Poland
Potential Areas Of Study
Working With A Particular Character of Interest – taking a deeper dive into character issues that are quite relevant to the current social milieu, but tend to be under-identified and misunderstood – such as Hysteric & Paranoid characters.
Working With the Dynamics of Breakdown –bringing a deeper awareness to the implications of what happens when a client begins to deteriorate or fall apart, and contrasting that with when the facilitating environment fails the client.
Working Further With the Dynamics of Emergence vs Retreat – understanding the dynamic tension needed to sustain an ‘approach’ to what is possible, vs. the tendencies to over-protect the self by retreating from perceived threats.
Building On The Foundation For Work
How to Gather A Client’s Personal History, and To Effectively Set the Stage for How the Process Works
- What To Learn About A Client’s Past Lived Experiences
- Providing ‘PsychoEducation’
- Addressing What To Expect
- Assessing A Client’s Resources & Their Capacity To Be Helped
April 14th, 2021
Seeing The Function of Defenses: Holding Trouble In Mind
How to think in new ways about the trouble our clients bring in to the therapy process.
- Understand The Creative Origin of the Defensive Posture As a Best Solution at the Time
- Grasping The Underlying Function the Defense – how it serves.
Becoming A Vital Holding Container:
How to appreciate the functions of witnessing for bringing forward unconscious material.
- Engaged non-intrusiveness.
- Don’t look away and don’t impose your knowledge.
- The complimentary position to interventions & interpretations.
- Being in service as an ‘other’.
A Tool For Transformative Process
How to become informed by our experiences with CT, and but subjected to our reactions to CT.
- CT requires attention in the body, and to our own lived histories.
- CT is an unintentional, unconscious process.
- CT holds no immediate meaning, it’s roots must be explored.
July 14th 2021
Being A Steadying Vs Disturbing Force:
Using Reflections, Observations, Questions & Interpretations
How to establish, contain, deepen and further a process with our interventions.
- When are a therapist’s interventions self-serving, rather than serving the client?
- Tracking whether a client can make use of what we offer.
Working With Aggression:
Coming Up Against Another
- Healthy aggression is an attempt to make the environment important again.
- The function of aggression addresses a need for genuine recognition
- Aggression moves one out and into the world; it says ‘I matter’.
Laying The Foundation
For Ongoing Depth Work
How to hold the frame for both what the trouble is that has the client in the room, and how to frame the therapy process.
- Addressing realistic expectations for the therapy process.
- Providing psycho-education. about therapy and how it works.
- Defining your expectations of the client.
- Naming what you see to be your ‘job’.
November 10th 2021
Entering the Depths:
Having & Holding
The Trouble in Mind
How to assess and think about the trouble being presented by the client, and how to frame a workable therapeutic process.
- Whose trouble is whose?
- Working with attunement and differentiation in mind & body.
- Having the real trouble, beyond the presenting complaint.
- How to hold the trouble with and for the client.
- Being able to think about one’s own thinking – linking one thing to another to serve the client.
December 15th 2021
Containing the Process:
The Functions Of A Holding Container
How to receive & hold the same disruptive forces that are troubling the life of the client, and engage with them.
- Bion’s containing function.
- Communication, reception, reflection and response.
- Bearing dynamic tension – using our bodies to receive our client’s mind.
- Receptive vs Active Holding
- Holding the client in mind and body as to support a process of dynamic tension.
Bollas argues that character is not simply a defensive derivative:
“Being a character means that one is a spirit, that one conveys something in one’s being which is barely identifiable as it moves through others to create personal effects, but which is more deeply graspable when one’s spirit moves through the mental life of the other, to leave its trace.”
Bollas captures the paradox of character: That while character contains the intention to constrain and foreclose otherness, it also needs the other to come to life, to make its mark, to find its meaning. (This is a key understanding of character.)
– From Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy
A Presentation on 8-8-20 by Christopher Bollas
This is a remarkable presentation which I was fortunate enough to attend via Zoom. Bollas provides deep insight and thoughtful reflection into the collective mind of the US nation/state in these current times of chaos and disruption.