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Scientific Meeting: Developing Transitional Phenomena In An Adult Patient: The Analyst’s Role

Start Date: Friday, October 25, 2019
End Date: Friday, October 25, 2019
Location: New York, NY 10016
Description: Winnicott’s 1953 paper, Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena is widely recognized as contributing seminal ideas that have been further developed by generations of psychoanalysts. In his original description, Winnicott emphasized the impact of the environmental mother who is central to the infant’s development and its capacity to make use of the transitional object. The mother’s breast is made available just when the infant is ready to receive, which allows for a period of omnipotence where the infant is the creator of its own reality. Through her adaptations, the mother facilitates an illusion that the breast is part of the infant and therefore under its magical control. This is considered foundational for healthy development, but inevitably the environment fails resulting in disillusionment. Since disillusionment is not easily accepted, it is suggested by Winnicott, and others, that we live in an intermediate area that, like transitional phenomena, belongs to both internal and external reality. An individual’s creativity can be maximized by the capacity to make use of the inherent paradoxes of this intermediate area, one that juxtaposes phantasy and reality, or, can be completely stifled, as is the case with some patients who are unable to manage the uncertainties of actual experience.

Through the lens of Winnicott’s thinking, a case will be presented where the development of transitional aims in early childhood were derailed, primarily by insufficiently adapting to an environment where early illusions were disrupted too quickly. Having lost a sense of security, a prolonged relationship to transitional objects developed that later in life, through projection, assumed magical qualities that were relied upon for functioning. A psychic structure, centering on a fetishized control over the self and object world deepened and evolved. To treat this patient, the analyst occupied a transitional function, offering adaptation to accommodate some illusion, while still holding a secure frame. This structure has attenuated omnipotence and expanded the patient’s capacity to use intermediate space.

No registration or fee required. Refreshments served following the presentation.

Community Room
205 West End Avenue
(entrance on West 70thStreet, just west of West End Avenue)

For further information:
(212) 496-2858
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019
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