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Saturday, March 6th 2021

Playing and Becoming in Psychoanalysis

Steven Cooper, Ph.D.
presented by Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (TICP)

Saturday, March 6, 2021, 10:00am to 3:00pm - A Zoom Virtual Conference Event

About the Day

Morning Session: The Limit of Intimacy and the Intimacy of Limit: The Emergence of Play in Relation to the Analyst and to Internal Objects

The refractoriness of the bad object (Fairbairn, 1943; 1958) has remained a durable clinical problem and to some extent under-theorized among psychoanalysts. Through an extended clinical example, this paper examines how the experience of limit is part of an undercurrent within the object relation between patient and analyst, that, in turn, sometimes gives rise to a shift in the patient’s relationship to an unsatisfying internal object relation.

Afternoon Session: The Play of Mourning

In the density of psychic regression and progression, psychoanalytic play is able to help patients move toward grieving internal objects. Play occurs at a moment of dawning awareness of transference-countertransference enactment within both patient and analyst. Often these moments especially involve the analyst’s new awareness of his or her own resistance to understanding transference-countertransference enactments. Through a series of brief clinical vignettes and analysis of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, the author examines how patient and analyst become better able to acquire an “internal environment” (Winnicott, 1954), one in which they try to face the profound disappointment of grieving these objects.

Learning Objectives:

1. To broaden the participant's thinking about how the concept of limit related to elements of play in the analytic situation;

2. To help develop the participant's ability to consider play in the context of transference-countertransference engagement;

3. To facilitate the participant's ability to conceptualize how play facilitates the mourning process in psychoanalytic process.

Schedule of the Day:

10 a.m. Introduction of Speaker (Dr. Kobrick)
10 – 11 The Limit of Intimacy and the Intimacy of Limit (Dr. Cooper)
11 -12 Discussion with Audience

12 - 1:00 Lunch (on your own)

1:00 – 2:00 The Play of Mourning (Dr. Cooper)
2:00 – 3:00 Audience Discussion
3:00 Closing Remarks (Dr. Kobrick)

About the Presenter

Steven Cooper, Ph.D., has written on a range of topics including concepts such as the psychic future, evolving conceptualizations of defense, mutual forms of containment in the therapeutic situation, and how to understand the depressive position within both the patient and analyst. He has often explored object relations concepts and theory from the point of view of the analyst's participation. Most recently, he has explored play in the analytic situation, examining in particular how limit is constitutive of play and how play and mourning are linked in paradoxical elements of psychoanalysis. Steven is a Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Chief Editor Emeritus, Psychoanalytic Dialogues. He is the author of four books. His newest book, Playing and Becoming in Psychoanalysis will be published by Routledge in 2021.

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