Clusters and Course Descriptions

The PINC curriculum has been organized into a series of thematic clusters. In reviewing the list of core theory courses, it became evident that the model used by the faculty teaching in the Freud series was one that could be utilized for other parts of the curriculum. The Freud group typically meets to design/refine the series of classes. The Task Force decided to apply this model across the curriculum and create several clusters that would operate in this way.
The faculty teaching in each cluster will meet in advance of the academic year and report back to the curriculum committee regarding the organization and status of the classes in the cluster. The curriculum committee and Task Force chairs will designate a convener for each cluster. Each cluster will decide the frequency of meetings and the needs of the cluster. Interested faculty beyond those who are currently teaching are encouraged to attend cluster meetings. As a means of creating productive clusters, we recommend an annual review at the end of the academic year. The title and description of each cluster is listed below along with the individual classes that are included in the cluster.
Freud I-IV: The Critical Junctures
Freud I: Early Psychoanalysis from Trauma to Seduction to Phantasy
Freud II: Principles of Unconscious Life – Structures, Drives and Desire
Freud III: Freud’s Late Models – Death, Anxiety and the Splitting of the Ego
Freud IV: Fundamentals of Freudian Technique – Transference, Resistance and Repetition
Infancy and Psychoanalytic Developmental Thinking
A course on infancy will introduce seminal concepts about infantile experience and its impact on development and the analytic relationship. The course will approach infancy from the perspective of its function in psychoanalytic theory, the clinical implications of the models of infancy, and the attempts to observe and describe the phenomenological experiences of infants and those in relation to them.
Psychoanalytic developmental theory has played a special role in the theory and history of the field. At its best, it synthesizes the traditional analytic interest in the phantasmatic and reconstructive mental processes with attention to what can actually be observed; this second emphasis emerges from the interest in actual developmental processes and especially, actual children (in contrast to the genetic perspective originally introduced by Freud).
Along similar lines, the developmental approach to analytic process has generally been associated with various metaphors of analytic dyads similar to parent-child relationships in quite varied forms. A course in this area would examine the basic assumptions and approaches of developmental models, trace them in different analytic schools, and consider their clinical implications.
Klein/Bion/Contemporary Kleinians
Seminars will start with the classic works of Melanie Klein introducing such key concepts as unconscious phantasy, internal objects, the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions, manic defenses, envy, gratitude, projective identification and Oedipus complex. The study of Bion’s major theoretical ideas follows: theory of thinking including the alpha function, container/contained, psychosis, transformations and the analytic field. The third seminar will focus on more recent clinical and theoretical developments integrating Klein’s and Bion’s ideas in the work of Segal, Joseph, Britton, Feldman, Steiner and others.
Winnicott/Independent Tradition/Lacan
This cluster will address the writings of Winnicott, those in the Middle School and Lacan.
The Intersubjectivities I & II: Self Psychology, Interpersonal Theory, Relational Theory
Current emphasis on intersubjectivity in psychoanalysis has arisen from the coming together of increasingly converging group – each of which broke from traditional psychoanalysis by emphasizing the interaction between analyst and patient, and revising notions of interpretation, defense and objectivity. This 16-week class will be devoted to three significant psychoanalytic groups: interpersonal psychoanalysis, self-psychology and relational psychoanalysis. The final week will be devoted to synthesizing and comparing the three schools, which have become more and more one broad relational movement in the past decade.
Psychic Organizations: Psychosis, Narcissism/Perversions, Neurosis, Oedipus, The Body in Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysts have theorized ways in which the mind becomes organized and structured. Constructs such as psychic structure, psychic organization and psychopathology have been developed to describe the relative stability, flexibility and rigidity of these levels of organization.
This series of courses examines the constructs critically, evaluating them clinically and theoretically. The series starts with a critical look at Oedipus, followed by a series of 24 weeks (broken into three 8 week quarters over the four years) moving from the most “primitive” (psychotic) to narcissistic and perverse types of mental organizations and then to the neuroses.
A class on the Body in Psychoanalysis will take up the core psychoanalytic understandings of the role of the body as site of psychic conversion, defense and evasion on the one hand, and site of ongoing psychic functions and growth on the other. The course will also address questions of technique in work with somatic experience.
Psyche and Society: Psyche and Society, Gender and Sexualities
Psychoanalysis is rooted in a rich tradition in which the relationship between psychic and social life has been the subject of considerable probing. In this cluster, we revisit this tradition by examining the dialogue between critical social theory and psychoanalysis. We will study ways in which the splitting of psyche and society into separate domains may serve to reinforce prevailing sociopolitical realities, as will as facilitate the internalization of social realities in terms of individual pathology. We take up questions of how subjectivity is shaped by its relation to issues of class, race and the social order, and examine the ideological underpinnings of social unconsciousness. As such, the cluster presents an interweaving of the strands of history, culture, race, class, gender and sexuality as they emerge into the fabric of psychic life and the multiplicities of self-experience.
Two courses will be offered: Psyche and Society, and Gender and Sexualities. Both will be grounded in clinical case material, which will provide the raw material for interweaving in conjunction with readings.
Clinical Process: Beginning, Middle Phase, Termination, Dreams, Case Formulation
These courses address the phases of the analytic process; the literature on dreams and dreaming and the capacity to develop a case formulation.
Group Process
The study of groups represents an area of applied psychoanalysis. The purpose of this training is to provide experiential and theoretical learning about group relations and the group unconscious using group-as-a-whole theory. PINC acknowledges that tensions that may arise in group training are not just a result of the class experience, but may also be a result of the mutual projections of the institute at large and its candidates in training. As a result, PINC is involved in an active study of group dynamics at all levels of the institute in an effort to promote optimal working groups and relations among constituencies.
The group process section is not designed to be group therapy but rather to understand how groups may at one time, enhance and at another time, interfere with learning. The purpose of the experiential process (eight Tuesday evenings and a Fall four-hour section) is to observe group phenomena as well as one’s own tendencies within groups. The purpose of the theoretical weekend class is to expose candidates to analytic theories of groups.
Case Conference
The case conference uses case material as a means for discussion concerning the integration of psychoanalytic theory, technique and analytic identity. It is an opportunity for the facilitation of a productive work group in an atmosphere of respect and curiosity.
Experiential Cluster: Analytic Identity, Psychoanalytic Writing, Integrative Seminar I & II
The courses in this cluster promote the internal capacities of the candidates to do analytic work and function in a group.
Psychoanalytic Ethics I: Boundary Violations
Psychoanalytic Ethics II: Analytic Integrity and the Analyst’s Vulnerability
In the Ethics sequence, two courses are offered to present candidates with an overview of the ways in which attention to ethical concerns frames and furthers psychoanalytic work. In the first course, candidates review standard ethical procedures with an eye to recognizing the kinds of dilemmas that present themselves in a psychoanalytic frame and an ear to how these issues are articulated in treatment. In the second course, students have an opportunity to visit matters of ethics from a more personal and theoretical standpoint: using clinical examples from students’ work, we ask how clinical choices represent different ethical positions, and, in turn, how clinicians can frame clinical decisions in ethical terms.
In addition to the class elective that 4th year candidates determine as a group, there will be two other avenues for electives – the Visiting Scholars Program and the creation of an elective period offered to all second, third and fourth year candidates.
These electives will be offered during the summer quarter. Several electives will be offered simultaneously and candidates will rank their choices and priority will be given to the senior candidates. In this way candidates will participate in three electives of their choosing over the course of their training (see Addendum 2).
Visiting Scholars Program
The relationship PINC has cultivated with national and international psychoanalytic scholars has been invaluable. Our proposal involves continuing this rich tradition in a manner that both enhances the candidates’ course of study and fills an important gap in the larger PINC community of graduates and faculty. Based on the previous budget allocated for weekends, the visiting scholars program will allow PINC to host a variety of scholars who will offer electives to candidates; and presentations, case conferences and seminars to the community at large.
Visiting scholars will be selected on the basis of the suggestions generated by the candidates group, the faculty, graduates and at-large PINC community. The due date for these suggestions will be determined by the administering committee, after which the times of the scholars for the up-coming year will be selected and scheduled. Various formats will be explored and evaluated.
Each candidate will need to attend a minimum of four programs conducted by visiting scholars in the course of their training. The combination of in-house electives and visiting scholar programs will allow candidates to add depth, breadth and flexibility to their course of study. The task force will establish a form for candidates and their advisors to track their participation.
Administration of Faculty Cluster, Visiting Scholars, Electives and Future Evaluations
The curriculum committee will be responsible for soliciting elective recommendations from the candidates and faculty, and then creating a list of potential electives and their staffing. The curriculum committee will also oversee the process of determining the list of candidates in each elective based on the candidates’ ranking of their selections.
The faculty clusters will be administered by the curriculum committee, which will designate a faculty member to convene each cluster and who will thereafter communicate with the curriculum committee.
The curriculum review task force will evolve into a committee that administers the Visiting Scholars Program, co-chaired by the task force co-chairs. The committee members will include 2 members of the candidate’s group, 2 faculty members, 2 curriculum committee members, 2 graduates and the chair or a member of the ECEC.
In Conclusion
The curriculum is at the heart of PINC’s project of providing a rigorous and progressive psychoanalytic education. The task force worked hard to insure that PINC’s founding values were reflected in the revised curriculum– a pluralistic program that emphasizes respect and receptivity, critical intelligence that keeps pace with the evolutions in culture, analytic identity, theory, and a commitment to citizenship and community. We believe this proposed revision preserves and enhances these core values.