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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

An Afternoon With Donnel Stern: From Unformulated Experience to Relational Freedom

Donnel Stern, Ph.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute, New York City
Adjunct Clinical Professor and Clinical Consultant New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Saturday, May 3, 2014
2:00 – 4:00 PM
2 CME and CE Credit Hours
Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute
32841 Middlebelt Rd.
Farmington Hills

Practice Gap/Need and Course Description: Since the early 1980’s, Donnel Stern has created an important body of work that began with the exploration of “unformulated experience” in analytic work. Dr. Stern’s thinking has evolved over the years to encompass processes of dissociation and enactment, the place of hermeneutics and constructivism in psychoanalysis, and, most recently, “relational freedom,” which he views as central to therapeutic action. Dr. Stern’s presentation will introduce clinicians to the breadth of his ideas and explore the evolution of key concepts in his thinking, using an extended clinical example to make these ideas come alive.

Following the presentation, attendees will be able to:
1. Discuss Dr. Stern’s foundational concept of “unformulated experience” (mentation characterized by lack of clarity and differentiation) and how unformulated experience underlies defense but heralds intriguing new possibilities for the patient.
2. Describe Dr. Stern’s idea that therapeutic action in treatment depends “relational freedom,” a clinician’s openness to allowing himself or herself novel, unbidden experience.

About the presenter: Dr. Stern is the author of Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination in Psychoanalysis (1997); Partners in Thought: Working with Dissociation, Enactment, and Unformulated Experience (2010); Relational Freedom and the Interpersonal Field (in press); and numerous articles and book chapters. During the last year, he has taught and lectured in Israel, Norway, Japan, Chile, the US, and Canada. He founded and edits the book series Psychoanalysis in a New Key at Routledge. He is on the Board of Directors of the IARPP, has been Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and is or has been on the editorial boards of JAPA, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Psychoanalytic Psychology, and The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. He maintains a private practice in New York City.