South Bay Monthly Reading Group

organized by Julie Gerhardt, PhD and Alison Cabell, MFT

Friday, February 23, 7-9pm

SBCPS is hosting a monthly reading group for interested clinicians at all levels of involvement. Meetings are held in a home in Palo Alto. Our intent is to gather for a close reading, and some discussion, of key papers in the contemporary psychoanalytic literature which focus on both theory and technique as illustrated through case material in the readings.

Reading Group logoThe readings present two perspectives on loss. According to Aron and Starr’s (2016) critique, “American psychoanalysis has historically defined itself by contrasting itself with its other — psychotherapy”- specifically, a form of therapy which acknowledges the inevitability/ value of suggestion. The polarization established between psychoanalytic psychotherapy and classical psychoanalysis has not only been limiting but derives from an outdated Cartesian ideology based on self-reliance/an autonomous self which has led the analyst to rely almost exclusively on interpretation. Interpersonal factors “culturally marked as feminine” were split off and projected onto psychotherapy. In contrast, relational psychoanalysis acknowledges the inevitability of some form of conscious and unconscious interpersonal influence/interpenetration of minds: containment/transformation, holding, empathy, mutual recognition, processing countertransference enactments, etc. In the belief that, in A&S’s words, a “psychoanalytic education should be more inclusive”, we turn to Sandberg & Grant’s Option B which offers a discussion of the nature/development of resilience in the face of adversity which, though saturated with suggestion, arguably, supplements a relational psychoanalytic sensibility assuming a well-established analytic attitude. In contrast, both the Klebanoff and Ferguson papers present theoretically grounded reports of clinical work concerning the way “absent presences” enter minds, bodies and analyses. Specifically, in both case reports, the patients have a type of delayed post-traumatic stress reaction triggered by losses in the present which evoke under-processed losses in the past. In addition, note that Klebanoff’s explicit goal is to “facilitate an active mourning process” for the patient to begin to symbolize theretofore personal meanings of her various losses and traumas. What is this ACTIVE MOURNING PROCESS?


Klebanoff S. (2016). “I always wished I could stop time”: an adolescent girl, unresolved mourning, and the haunted third”. In A. Harris, M. Kalb & S. Klebanoff (eds.) Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanalysis. NY: Routledge. (pgs. 19-35). Sandberg S. & Grant, A. (2017).

Sandberg S. & Grant, A. (2017). Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Introduction, Chptr 1: Breathing Again, Chptr 2: Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room. pgs. 3-44.

Recommended/Optional: Ferguson, H. (2016). Ghostly intrusions: Unformulated trauma and its transformation in the therapeutic dyad. In A. Harris, M. Kalb & S. Klebanoff (eds.) Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanalysis.

February 23rd, 2018 7:00 PM
Admission $ 15.00
CE Credits (2) $ 20.00