Psychoanalytic Seminar/ Clinical Case Presentations

From September to April, Thursdays 2:00-4:30 hrs

Instructor: Mirta Lisso Carruthers, Licensed Clinical Psychologist (Argentina); Complementary Studies in the US - 

Psychoanalytic theory comprises a set of categories of thought based on biological concepts and working hypotheses (or provisional conjectures) built up in clinical practice. All its concepts are theoretical constructs, and any account of them in anatomical and/or physiological terms is inadequate.

The object of knowledge for psychoanalysis is subjectivity, which is also a theoretical construction. The validation of the theory is given by its internal consistency; an empirical view is inappropriate because psychoanalysis does not claim to describe "facts" or 'truths’.

The objective for this seminar is to provide a theoretical instrument useful for giving coherent organization to psychological phenomena. My theoretical approach is based on Freud's work, integrated with concepts from post-Freudian authors, such as W. Bion, D. Winnicott, D. Maldavsky, N. Neves, J. Lacan, R. Spitz, M. Klein, and J. Piaget. My purpose is to trace a conceptual continuum taking advantage of the complexity of the psychoanalytic theory.


Theoretical Concepts

I.  Introduction

1) Clinical goal proposed by the theory. 2) Theoretical assumptions. 3) Differences between theory and technique. 4) The foundation of psychoanalytical thinking

II. Psychoanalytical concepts

1) The psyche: physical maturation and psychic development. 2) Instinct, somatic process, drive and inner/outer stimuli. 3) Psychic functions: perception-consciousness system; consciousness; affect; mental representations; perception and memory; fantasy. 4) Complemental series. 5) Asymptomatic style of personality.


III. Trauma (Regression to intrasomatic psychic organization)

1) Principles that regulate psychic functioning. 2)  Traumatic experience. 3) Restorative process. 4) Repetition. 5) Types of trauma. 6) Different attempts to dominate trauma.


IV. Unfolding of the Psyche:  Phases of Psyche Development  

a. Intrasomatic stage (pre-libidinal)

1) First orientation in the world. 2) Defense. 4) Ruling principle. 5) Father's function during this phase. 6) Arrest/pause in development / drive's fixation and psychopathology

  b. Oral phase  

Primary oral sub-phase

1) Sensory (diacritic) system and emotive (coenesthetic) system. 2) Opening of erogenous zones. 3) Autoerotism. 4) Type of association between representations: by simultaneity. 5) Affect development. 6) Autoerotic trauma. 7) Arrest/pause in development / drive's fixation: stile of personality and psychopathology. Paranoia.

Secondary oral sub-phase

1) Externalization of the object. 2) Narcissism. 3) Primary identification. 4) Drive's    aim. 5) Craving investiture. 6) Affect development. 7) Transitional object. 8) Arrest/pause in development/drive's fixation: style of personality and psychopathology.   


c. Anal phase

    Primary anal sub-phase               

1) From passivity to activity. 2) Kinetic unification and body representation. 3) Affect development. 4) . 5) Defense: disavowal. 6) Psychic places.


Secondary anal sub-phase

1) Acquisition of the 'No'. 2) Type of association: by nomination. 3) Fraternal complex. 4) Affect development. 5) Drive's fixation and psychopathology.

d.   Phallic phase

Urethral-phallic phase   

1) Drive's aim. 2) Phallus and power. 3) Castration complex: collapse of maternal omnipotence and representation of sexual difference. 4) Visual image. 5) Affect development. 9) Drive's fixation and psychopathology.


             Genital-phallic phase

1) Drive's aim. 2) Visual overabundance. 3) Oedipal complex: collapse of paternal omnipotence and representation of an exogamic order. 4) Reality principle. 5) Affect development. 6) Drive's fixation and psychopathology.


The syllabus is color coded and it will be explained in class.

Last updated January, 2013