2014 Annual Conference:



Date: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 9:30am - 4:30pm

Location: Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, 140 2nd Ave (@ 9th Str.), NY, NY

Presenter - Dr. Margaret Yard

Discussants - Dr. Ruth Danon and Dr. Jeffrey Lewis

Moderator - Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler

Recent research on the effects of an increasingly quantified lifestyle related to the digital revolution has surfaced showing some evidence affecting function and quality of life, such as increased fragmentation, decreased attention spans, increased reaction times, dissociations, increased multitasking, less eye contact, and poverty of mentalization and reflectivity.   Much of this is posited in the paradigm change of a cyberculture within which increasingly all generational groups are spending greater time with computers and digital devices than with people. 

On one hand, there is a call for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts to understand this new paradigm, while working with and addressing the problems and stressors of the patients who are adapting to high-paced life styles and challenges. On the other hand, we need to understand and to cope with technology changes affecting our own practices and life styles. 

Dr. Yard will query this fairly new phenomenon of the CYBERCOUCH in terms of what object relations digitalized represents.  Is it an extension or a mutation of traditional concepts of the internal world being played out between the self and the object? In situations of singularity, where ‘on-line’ and ‘off-line’ life is merged, or in the post-personal world, where everything is non-private and transparent, - does it enhance playful expressive conditions? This conference will explore those conditions which mediate personal and social object relations through the roles of avatars, phantom limbs and life experience, sensor powered experiences, and tailored exchanges.

In the end, however, we query the human heart and its survival within digitalized contexts.  In the end, we query the survival of deep relational human life and it's prerequisites of feeling and attachment.

Our afternoon program will include the extensive panel-audience discussion, as well as dramatization of such new CYBERCOURCH syndromes of the “Internet overload,” “fear of missing out,” or FOMO; “Internet addiction,” etc.




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. Read more about Dr. Margaret Yard HERE.

For more information about the conference - please write to Dr. Inna Rozentsvit, ORI Administrator, at admin@ORINYC.org or call 646-522-1056.

Is this seat taken?


May I sit down?


Is that interesting? Well…

Cyberspace, huh?


Ever wondered if we were in it?

I beg your pardon.

Do you think we are, you know, inside it?


Well, we wouldn't know, would we?

We wouldn't know what?

We wouldn't know we were inside it or not.

Why not?

That tree over there could be a cyberimage.

I don't think so.

But you can't say you know this for sure.

I have no problem saying I know it for sure.

A man with no doubt?

I didn't say that.

Well how can you be certain we are not cyberpeople?

I would know by now.

How would you know?

I would have found out.


This is a silly conversation.

Actually, it is rather philosophical.

I have never liked philosophy.

- 7 -

So, you wouldn't even care to know if you actually exist or not.

I didn't say that.

Perhaps you aren't equipped to think this out.

That's nonsense.

Well, what form of knowledge do you use to think?

My intuition.

What's that?

My sense of things.

Your sense of things?


What if your sense of things was that you were an onion.


What if you felt you were an onion?

That's preposterous.

No, it's simply evidence of an intuition.

But it's stupid.

But if you were an onion it would be correct.

But I am not an onion.

How do you know you're not an onion?

Because I don't feel like one.

How would you know how it felt to be an onion?

Because if I were an onion I would know.

You are claiming that an onion is conscious of itself?

I didn't say that.

Well you did.

No I did not.

I'm sorry, but you said you would know if you were an onion.

I would feel it.

How could you feel you were an onion without thinking?

Maybe I would bring tears to my eyes.

No, I think you would bring tears to my eyes.

If I were an onion, I would be a human onion.

A human onion?

Of course.

How could you be both human and an onion at the same time?

Well you brought up cyberspace.


I could be both human and cybercreature.

I don't think so.

Why not?

- 8 -

Because that's not possible.

I thought anything was possible.

Where'd you get an idea like that?

Well, why not?

That's irresponsible thinking.

I thought you were a philosopher.

I'm not, but what has that to do with this?

You chastened me for not liking philosophy.

One must think philosophically.

Isn't this a philosophical question?

It is not proper philosophy.

Why not?

It's just a loose idea.

What's that?

It's an idea without thought.

How is that possible?

It hasn't been thought through.

Why is it not a thought?

To qualify as a thought it has to go through thinking.

How do you know this?

My training.

As what?

I am a thinker.

How do you know that?

It comes with being me.

And me?

You disown philosophy.

You said you are not a philosopher.

But I believe in it.


If you believe in something it licenses you.

To do what?

In my case, to be a thinker.

That's crazy.

If you believe you are an onion you have certain licenses.

Such as?

You could claim vegetable knowledge.

What's that?

The knowledge a vegetable possesses.

But they don't think!

- 9 -

Not like you or I, but they think vegetably.

Why would I want to think like a vegetable?

It would bring you certain advantages.

Such as?

Much of the earth is vegetation.

What could I do with this knowledge?

You could vegetate.

That's a curse.

You don't appreciate the art of vegetation?

You are diminishing me.

To vegetate is to meditate.

Vegetation meditation?

Like Zen.

I can Zen it?

If you get into vegetation.

Is this a virtual conversation?

It could be.

Because I don't feel there is anything real about this.

I don't think y shou wor y.

What is happening?

Th th ng a out cy sp ce.

What is happening to your wording?

I bevet at I my

What is happening to your nose?

I dot watt

You are disappearing.



- 10 -

Article Citation: Bollas, C. (2007). Cyberspace. Psychoanal. Rev., 94:7-10


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