2011 - ORI's 20th Anniversary Annual Conference

Dialectics of Mortality and Immortality: Time as a Persecutory vs. a Holding Object

When: Saturday, February 26th, 2011 (9:30am – 4:30pm)
Where: Lafayette Grill, 54 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013-4009
Moderator: Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
Presenter: Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler
Discussants: Dr. Margaret Yard and Dr. Jeffrey Rubin

“Now mortality could begin to have its dialectic with immortality as the moment of experiencing opened up, rather than being obviated by trenchant enactment.” (Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler)

Sometimes the analyst is called on unconsciously to open her breathing so that the analysand, lying on the couch, can open her mind, her shame, and her tremendous need for intimate self-expression to another. Opening up her breathing, she opens transitional space between herself and the patient, and this in turn opens the psychic inner interior space in the patient’s psyche and internal world. Opening psychic space then consequently opens up time, so that bound time of mortality, which we perceive with our left brains, transforms to time as infinite and eternal. We experience a sense of immortality through our right brains, and this allows for polarized sadomasochistic enactments to be transformed into
dialectical conversations and interactions. Mortality transforms to immortality through the “eternal now” moments. Projective identification transforms to Projection.

All these clinical phenomena can be seen mirrored in the dance of Argentine Tango where polarized sadomasochistic duels transform in the current day to the art of dialectical exchange through “conversation” in the moment of mutual, “It Takes Two to Tango,” expression. The follower heeds the caution of “non anticipation” just as the analyst needs to surrender “memory and desire” in the clinical session and moment, allowing a natural and organic evolution of shared experience to evolve in an inter-subjective flow that becomes the dance of psychoanalysis. Freud’s “free floating attention” and Winnicott’s capacity for play are other perspectives on this phenomenon, where life is transformed from contrived choreography to the moment-to-moment improvisation that gives life and evolving identity to all of us.

This conference will breathe life into the clinical work of all who attend and hear Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s paper on “Mortality and Immortality…” and all who engage with the dialectical interchange that the distinguished discussants on the panel will bring to the day, the unique day of the twentieth anniversary annual Object Relations Institute’s conference!

A special time will be dedicated to memories of Dr. Jeffrey Seinfeld, deep object relations thinker, scholar, and theorist, who died unexpectedly on January 25th, 2011. He was a world-renowned author, a philosopher, great teacher and mentor, and a friend to everyone in his path. Dr. Seinfeld was a full professor of the NYU School of Social work and a scientific faculty member and great supporter of the Object Relations Institute since its birth 20 years ago. Dr. Seinfeld was full of life, energy, and ideas, as he was preparing to be a discussant at this conference.

Information about the conference panel:

BIO: Jeffrey Lewis, PhD - Ferenczi scholar, reviewer for the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Faculty & Board Member of the Object Relations Institute, and Faculty member at St. John’s University.

BIO: Susan Kavaler Adler, PhD, ABPP, NPsyA, D.LItt – Founder and Executive Director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  She has been in practice as a psychologist and psychoanalyst for 36 years. She is recognized as a diplomate in psychoanalysis and as an experienced training analyst.  She also has an honorary Doctorate in literature, and a background in training as a dance therapist. 

Dr. Kavaler-Adler has published three books, and approximately 60 articles on object relations theory and psychoanalysis.  She is well known for her books and articles on the creative process, well-known women artists and writers, the erotic transference, the developmental mourning process, and the critical transformation related to psychic regret within mourning, as well as for her studies of the demon lover complex, fear of success, envy, fathers and daughters, and on time as an object.  She has explicated how mourning is a developmental and clinical process that is both implicit and explicit in psychoanalytic theory, from Freud through the British theorists.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler has received 11 awards for her writing. In 2004, she received the National Gradiva Award for her book Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis, after its publication by Routledge in 2003 Her earlier books, The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers, and The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity, were also published by Routledge in 1993 and 1996, respectively.  These two books are currently being reprinted in newly edited and newly illustrated versions.  Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s books have been translated into Korean by the Object Relations Institute in Seoul, South Korea, which was modeled on Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s original plans and curriculum in founding the New York Object Relations Institute.  In 2006, the Korean object relations institute had a three day conference on Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s theories and clinical work, entitled “Developmental Mourning Versus the Demon Lover Complex.”

“Seduction, Date Rape, and Aborted Surrender” was Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s last published journal article, published in the International Forum of Psychoanalysis journal in 2010.  Just prior, she had published an article on the modern movie “Phantom of the Opera,” and an article on “Pivotal Moments of Surrender to Mourning the Parental Internal Object,” which shows detailed case vignettes of psychological integration through a mourning process that allows for the psychic digestion of primal internal objects.  Fuller and more in-depth case illustrations are seen in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s books, especially in Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change, and in two other books to be published: Anatomy of Regret and Klein-Winnicott Dialectic. 

In her clinical practice, Susan Kavaler-Adler has several specialties along with her general in-depth work as an individual object relations psychoanalyst and psychotherapist.  She has a monthly four-hour intensive mourning and psychotherapy group that has been running for approximately 16 years, and she has a monthly one-and-a-half hour Friday supervision group, in which both case presentations and personal sharing are welcomed in an atmosphere of intense collegial intimacy.  Dr. Kavaler-Adler uses psychic visualization to deepen the monthly therapy group process and the individual mourning process within it, and she uses role-playing in her supervision group, as well as in individual supervisory consultations. 

Her background in dance therapy and her ongoing life as an Argentine Tango dancer also allows her to be especially sensitive to enacted preverbal and nonverbal experience in the treatment room or in the room with supervisory consultations.  Acute attunement to the nonverbal allows Dr. Kavaler-Adler to help others process their internal world experiences from sensory and visceral levels while sitting with patients, often referred to as “processing projective identifications.”  In March, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will be conducting a private seminar on Wednesday mornings, with readings and practice of understanding projective-identification and processing it.  In addition, Dr. Kavaler-Adler is available for consultations on writing and creative process work, given her writing on the creative process, on artists and writers, and her own improvisational work in dance and writing.  On Sunday, March 20th, 2011, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will conduct a theoretical and experiential workshop on “Time as an Object,” which relates to her concerns with the experience of our mortality, and which is the topic of her paper today, “Dialectics of Mortality versus Immortality: Time as a Persecutory Versus a Holding Object.”  More information can be found on Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s web site www.kavaleradler.com .

BIO: Margaret Yard, PhD, APRN, BC - Asst. Professor, Lehman College, CUNY, Faculty, Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, Alumni Program in International Trauma Studies, Columbia University, Alumni Adult Psychoanalytic Program and Analytic Group Therapy Programs, Post Graduate Center for Mental Health, Past President Post-Graduate Psychoanalytic Society, Co-Chair Educational and Training Programs, Faculty for Psychoanalytic Training, Object Relations Institute and Washington Square Institute. She is a faculty and training supervisor for Chinese American Psychoanalytic Association (CAPA) and teaches psychoanalysis in Beijing and Singapore. She is a Chair of the Province Review Board for Dominican Fathers and Brothers of the Affirming and Protecting Children and Young People Program as well as consultant for contemplative monastic communities for nuns in the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church.

In private practice in psychoanalysis, group practice, family practice, trauma and geriatrics, she was first responder on 9/11 at World Trade Center working with the American Red Cross. In geriatrics, she was guest lecturer on “How to Speak with Alzheimer’s” with The New York State Alzheimer’s Association, working with experiential groups with spouses and caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients. She developed and taught a series: “Helping the Helpers” with secondary trauma or compassion fatigue experienced by professionals and volunteers who work with trauma victims.

Dr Yard is a member of the longstanding Death Seminar at Columbia University and teaches Loss, Grief, Death and Dying to undergraduates and graduate university programs for nurses, administrators, social work and sociology students. She is a Foundation Member of the New York Zen Contemplative Care Program and is a death vigil participant for Visiting Nurse Service of New York (NYVNS). At Lehman College, CUNY, she teaches a course: Real world and Cyberspace Relationships.” She writes on the effects of science and technology on human intersubjectivity and relations, and the phenomenon of death from a Humanist and contemplative perspective. She is currently working on an article entitled “The Role of Trauma in Religious Belief, a chapter “Inequality in Care,” and a book entitled “VITALITY.”

Dr Yard is a published poet and lyricist. Her poetry may be found in “History of Silence”, 1998, and in 2010, “Death Steps” describes human struggle with illness from a social and psychoanalytical viewpoint. Recent presentations was at the Pulse of Death Now Conference at Columbia University include “Inequality in Death” 2010, and in 2008, “De-Civilization as response to Cultures of Death and Societal Trauma in the Second Millennium.” Her most recent article is “Cyberlife and the Colonization of Intersubjectivity” is published in Winter, 2010, Psychoanalytic Psychology.

She has authored book and lyrics on five operas written with composer Michael Sahl; these operas are produced and performed in New York City: “ Blood Ferry” (The Graduate Center, CUNY),  “John Grace Ranter” (directed by Tom O’Horgan at Theater for the New City); “Sally Ann-Home Sweet Home” (was performed at Greenwich House and  the Chelsea Theater Festival, Summer, 2005); “Katrina; Voices of the Lost” (its premiere was presented on April 24th, 2007 at the Spring Festival of the New York Arts Ensemble in Soho, and then - in New Orleans on this past anniversary of Hurricane Katrina). On November 13th, 2010, the premier of “Legacy: Our Time” was performed at the Greenwich House Music Institute. Legacy speaks of the terrible beauty and awful paradox of the 60’s- the dream of justice and love, and the reality of empire and violence. Her next piece in 2011 is entitled “The Death Class”. 

BIO: Jeffrey B. Rubin, PhD practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy in New York City and Bedford Hills, New York. The author of Psychotherapy and Buddhism; The Good Life; and A Psychoanalysis for Our Time, Dr. Rubin has taught at various universities and psychoanalytic institutes including Union Theological Seminary, The Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, The C. G. Jung Foundation of New York, The American Institute for Psychoanalysis, and Yeshiva University. A Dharma Holder in the White Plum Sangha and Red Thread Zen Circle and the creator of meditative psychotherapy, Dr. Rubin is considered one of the leading integrators of the Western psychotherapeutic and Eastern meditative traditions. He runs private study groups on dreams and meditation and meditation and psychotherapy and lectures around the country on two forthcoming books, The Art of Flourishing, and Psychotherapy and Meditation: Partners in Healing. Dr. Rubin is a training and supervising analyst at the Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and can be contacted through his website (www.drjeffreyrubin.com ).


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