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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Psychoanalysis and Symptoms – A Conundrum?

Robert Hooberman, Ph.D. (Ann Arbor)
Psychoanalyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Council

Discussant: Barry M. Miller, M.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Saturday, April 28, 2012
2:00 - 4:00 PM

2 CME and CE Credit Hours
Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute
32841 Middlebelt Rd.
Farmington Hills

Practice Gap/Need: This paper addresses the current controversy on the effectiveness of psychoanalysis on symptom relief and provides suggestions on how psychoanalysis can make inroads on both internal structures and their external manifestations, symptoms - all in the context of an integrative approach.

Psychoanalysis has long struggled with what seem to be conflicting goals - to alleviate immediate patient suffering (symptoms) and to promote an approach that emphasizes resolution of long-standing conscious and unconscious patterns. Symptoms are most usefully approached in the same fashion as Freud did with transference reactions - as useful data to deepen the treatment. Symptoms, whether transient, enduring or emergent in the therapy, are best viewed as with dreams - as repositories of long forgotten memories, as indications of not yet identified intensities within the therapeutic relationship, as windows into fantasies and as compromise formations and handled as we do with the dreamwork, via the associative method. Ample case material will be used for illustration.

Learning objectives:

Upon completing this presentation, participants will be able to:
1) Demonstrate an understanding of how incorporating disparate psychoanalytic theories can offer a more comprehensive approach in treating both symptoms and long-standing patterns.
2) Illustrate that crucial components of psychoanalytic practice are to assist patients in both gaining access to an enlivening unconscious as well as to interpret unconscious content.
3) Demonstrate that the analytic process can feel perilous for both participants and that defenses against anxiety of the intensity of the analytic relationship can short-circuit possibilities for gains.

About the presenter:
Robert Hooberman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst practicing in Ann Arbor and works with adolescents, adults and couples. He is former President and former Director of Training for The Michigan Psychoanalytic Council. Dr. Hooberman is the author of four books, the most recent being: Forgiving, Forgetting and Moving On: Living a Less Conflicted Life. He is a Visiting Faculty member of the Southeast Florida Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.