San Francisco Intensive Study Group —
The Territory of the Body:
Psychoanalytic Conceptualizations of the Psyche-Soma
One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.
— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2014)
What can not be said will be wept.
— Sappho, 7th century BC
Patients walk into our consulting rooms with a sense of dis-ease. Some can say they are depressed or anxious. Some speak slowly, unhappily about their relationship with a partner or their daily work. Some are quiet and can barely use words. All speak through their bodies. Whether they move through the world with grace or speak of chronic pains located in stomach, head, or limbs; whether they seem frozen in our office or cannot sit still; whether they scratch or twitch, stuff their bodies voraciously with food and substances, or restrict all nourishment, the body speaks. It is the record of early experience, to be encountered in the present clinical moment.
With each patient, the body of the psychotherapist speaks. Is the therapist feeling tired or disconnected? Is the therapist feeling pressured, seduced, or deadened after an exchange? Projection, projective identification, countertransference are all central psychoanalytic concepts that register on the psyche-soma of the clinician.
The body is personal and communal. The body is political and cultural. At times, the body is a war zone where the forces of the private and the public do battle. When this happens, understandings fail and thought can become stuck in the body. In times of trauma, the body, once a refuge, may no longer be safe.
This year-long study course will take up various conceptualizations of the body in psychoanalysis. Therapists from a range of theoretical backgrounds will use contemporary texts, contemporary artists, and writings to explore the psychological development of body-mind. The body that is born, the body that registers pain and trauma, the body that heals, and the body that dies, and the territories in between.
ISG participants are eligible for 12 sessions of consultation with a PINC analyst at $60 per session to help integrate the material into clinical practice.
Click here for detailed information about individual ISG segments.
At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Discuss the central concepts of psychoanalytic thinking about the mind-body continuum and how those can be used as a lens for understanding the eating disordered patients struggle.
- Apply the concepts of gender role, gender identification, sexual orientation, and the social construction of gender to the body, in clinical work.
- Identify ways that the clinician’s bodily experiences can be utilized as a means to deepen understanding and make contact with patients.
- Discuss the meanings and impact of the physical/bodily expression in therapy with patients who suffer from severe mental breakdown.
- Bers, S.A., Besser, A., Harpaz-Rotem, I., & Blatt, S.J. (2013). An empirical exploration of the dynamics of anorexia nervosa: Representations of self, mother, and father. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(2), 188-209.
- Steensma, T.D., McGuire, J.K., Kreuls, B., Beekman, A., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. (2013). Factors associated with desistence and persistence in childhood gender dysphoria: A quantitative follow-up study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 52, 582-590.
- Luyten, P., & Fonagy, P. (2015). The neurobiology of mentalizing. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 6, 366-379
- Bazan, A., Van Draege, K. De Kock, L., Brakel, L.A., Geerardyn, F. Shevrin, H. (2013). Empirical evidence for Freud's theory of primary process mentation in acute psychosis. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(1):57-74.
Paul U. Alexander, Ph.D., practices psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and consultation with individuals, couples, and small groups. He teaches in post-graduate programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and consults on group processes in private practice and institutional settings.
Betsy Kassoff, Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco. She provides services and teaches at a number of community mental health sites and graduate programs. Dr. Kassoff sees individuals and couples in her private practice, provides consultation, supervises, teaches, and writes on the intersection of relational psychoanalysis and the socio-political.
Audrey Martin, MFT, is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Berkeley, where she sees adults and adolescents. Audrey has been involved as a preschool mental health consultant, and served as the former Training Director of the Master’s Level Intern Program at the McAuley Institute, Adolescent Inpatient and Outpatient units.
Tom Wooldridge, Psy.D., ABPP, is a psychoanalyst, board-certified clinical psychologist, and associate professor at Golden Gate University. He has published two books: Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males and Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders (Relational Perspectives Book Series), in addition to numerous articles on a wide range of topics. He is in private practice in Berkeley.
This ISG is for clinicians with moderate to extensive experience in clinical work with some background in the principles of psychoanalytic approaches or laypersons with a strong academic or cultural interest in applied or clinical psychoanalysis.
Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, August 23, 2019: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, August 23, 2019: No refund provided.