September 6, 2017
"Comparing Repression and Dissociation: A Theoretical and Clinical Discussion" with Richard Gottlieb, Leon Hoffman, Wilma Bucci, and Frances Sommer Anderson
To what extent and in what ways are the constructs of repression and dissociation conceptually different? What are the implications of focusing on format of representation (subsymbolic, symbolic) rather than level of awareness (unconscious, conscious) as a basic explanatory dimension? What are the differences among the theoretical perspectives from which these constructs arise: e.g., conflict theory (classical psychoanalysis); interpersonal and relational psychoanalysis; basic theory and research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience? To what extent do clinicians who assume different theoretical perspectives work differently?
Richard Gottlieb will selectively review the history of both concepts as deployed by psychoanalysis, beginning with the early contributions of Freud (and Breuer, 1894/5) and Pierre Janet (1889), through the eclipse of Janet’s views in mainstream psychoanalysis and their stunning reappearance in the 1970's. During this period adaptations of Janet’s views became increasingly fundamental to certain relational/interpersonal points of view. Leon Hoffman will discuss how conflict and compromise formation theory is a useful way of organizing the sources of a patient’s psychological dysfunctions as they are expressed in the consulting room. This theory implies that there are wishes (drive derivatives) that are more or less unacceptable (provoke unpleasant emotions/affects) and need to be kept out of consciousness by the utilization of defenses (implicit affect regulation mechanisms), the most basic of which is repression. This approach assumes a normative state of self-integration. Wilma Bucci will present a contrasting view of the self as inherently characterized by dissociation among multiple modes of being and experiencing, and a view of the treatment process that focuses on connecting systems of representation through the referential process rather than undoing repression as a basis for therapeutic change. Frances Sommer Anderson will talk about the application of this theoretical perspective clinically, focusing on treatment of patients with chronic pain.
New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium