Upcoming Courses & Events
Mutual love, while inducing great happiness, weakens higher mental functions and, so, is paradoxically traumatic. We will begin with the clinical observation that experiences of satisfaction, especially when mutual, make people happy but anxious. We will look at a literary example of the traumatic aspect of mutual love, and consider Freud’s two-stage theory of trauma. We will read papers by Freud, Weiss, and Laplanche that shed light on why mutual love is traumatic. We will examine the clinical implications of this phenomenon, including its ramifications for the therapeutic relationship where, if things go well, mutual love naturally develops.
This course is an introduction to Melanie Klein’s theoretical and clinical concepts, and to contemporary Kleinian clinical work.
Building on the foundation laid by Freud, Melanie Klein’s focus on early mental life lead her to an awareness of a powerful primitive phantasy life that underpinned all mental activity, shaping one’s sense of self, relationships to others, and one’s sense of the world. Klein’s groundbreaking work on the centrality of unconscious phantasy, the role of internal object relations, and the significance of the instincts lead her to be understood as both an innovator and a radical.
This course will examine the development of the radical intersubjectivity contained within Bion’s “Theory of Thinking,” his groundbreaking 1962 paper formally introducing two-person psychology, which reoriented psychoanalytic theory toward today’s intersubjective perspective. Drawing from Freud’s (1911) “Formulations on Two Principles of Mental Functioning,” Bion postulated two possibilities open to humans from infancy onward — thinking or projective identification — placing early parenting in the pivotal role of shaping the individual’s capacity to think or project.