2010 Annual Conference: Psychoanalysis and Spirituality

When: Sunday, April 11, 2010
Where: Lafayette Grill, 54 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013-4009
Moderator: Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
Presenters: Dr. Lewis Aron and Dr. Jeffrey Rubin
Discussants: Dr. Jeffrey Seinfeld and Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler

Dr. Lewis Aron: Going out to meet You, I found You coming toward me: Transformation in Jewish mysticism and contemporary psychoanalysis...

With its goal of enhancing and revitalizing human experience, and in its primary concern with felt meaning, significance, and purpose, contemporary psychoanalytic theory deconstructs the sharp division between religion and psychoanalysis. Freud’s Enlightenment ideal of science saw it as liberating the individual from the illusion of religion. Psychoanalysis offered Truth as replacement for regressive fantasy. Religious belief was “a lost cause,” a “childhood neurosis,” and Freud paid homage only to “Our god Logos—Reason,” arguing that religion was the only worthy “enemy.” Both science and rationality on the one hand and religion and spirituality on the other are
more complex and multidimensional than Freud envisioned. In this presentation we will consider mysticism and psychoanalysis through the lens of a personal anecdote.

BIO: LEWIS ARON, Ph.D. is the Director of the New York University, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He has served as President of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association; founding President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
(IARPP); founding President of the Division of Psychologist-Psychoanalysts of the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA). He is the co-founder and co-chair of the Sandor Ferenczi Center at the New School for Social Research, and is an Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society. Dr. Aron has
received the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA) Distinguished Service Award and the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) Leadership Award. He holds a Diplomate in Psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and of the Academy
of Psychoanalysis.

Dr. Aron is the author of “A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis” (The Analytic Press, 1996). He is the Editor (with Adrienne Harris) of “The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi” (TAP, 1993), the Editor (with Frances Sommer Anderson) of “Relational Perspectives on the Body” (TAP, 1998), the Editor (with Stephen Mitchell) of “Relational
Psychoanalysis: The Emergence of a Tradition” (TAP, 1999), the Editor (with Adrienne Harris) of “Relational Psychoanalysis II: Innovation and Expansion” (TAP, 2005), and the Editor (with Melanie Suchet and Adrienne Harris) of “Relational Psychoanalysis III: New Voices” (TAP, 2007). His most recent work, co-edited with Libby Henik: “ Answering a Question With A Question: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought” is to be published this year by Academic Studies Press. He was one of the founders, and is an Associate Editor of “Psychoanalytic Dialogues,” and he is the series editor (with Adrienne Harris) of the “Relational Perspectives
Book Series,” published by The Analytic Press. Dr. Aron is in private practice in New York City and in Port Washington, Long Island, N.Y.

Dr. Jeffrey Rubin: Psychoanalysis and Meditation: Partners in Healing.

We live in a universe in which psychoanalysts meditate and meditators—including Buddhist teachers—avail themselves of therapy; and there is a burgeoning interest in the potential interface between them. In this presentation we’ll explore why psychoanalysis and meditation need each other—how each not only supplements
blind spots in the other, but makes it richer than if pursued alone—and how to integrate them. After exploring the way meditation cultivates heightened attentiveness, refines sensory clarity, lessens self-criticism, and increases affect tolerance; thereby deepening psychoanalytic listening; we’ll examine how psychoanalytic
understandings of unconscious communication and meaning illuminates and transforms the near-sightedness of meditation. In the concluding section, Dr. Rubin will delineate meditative psychotherapy, his own integration of meditation and psychoanalysis. Meditative exercises and clinical material will illustrate his theoretical reflections.

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 (drjeffreyrubin.com).

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis: Moderator

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.

Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler will discuss Dr. Aron’s moving presentation, and will bring a lot of clinical examples from her book Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis, which was distinguished by the National Gradiva Award (2004) of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.

BIO: Susan Kavaler Adler, PhD, ABPP, NPsyA, D.LItt -Founder, Executive Director, Senior Training Supervisor of the Object Relations Institute, Object Relations theorist in the British Object Relations tradition; author of The Compulsion to Create; The Creative Mystique; Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change, and over 50 articles and book chapters.

Dr. Jeffrey Seinfeld will discuss Dr. Rubin's intriguing paper and clinical cases from the perspective of Shaolin Chan, Tai Chi, and object relations theory. He also will discuss the connection between therapeutic aspects of Buddhism and psychoanalysis, as described by Rubin.

BIO: Jeffrey Seinfeld, MSW, PhD is a Professor at The Silver School of Social Work, NYU; Author of The Bad Object; The Empty Core; Containing Terror, Rage & Despair: An Object Relations Approach to Psychotherapy; Interpreting & Holding: The Paternal and Maternal Functions of the Psychotherapist; A Primer on the Negative Therapeutic Reaction, and other books and articles. He is a Scientific Faculty member of the Object Relations Institute.

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