home pic

Farmington Hills: 248 851-3380 |  Ann Arbor: 734 213-3399

Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

40th Annual Symposium - Beyond Theory and Technique: A Guide to Working with Clinical Dilemmas

April 11, 2015
8:15 AM – 4:00 PM
The Inn at St. John’s Plymouth

While clinical dilemmas may take us easily “beyond technique,” they also take us directly into the heart of the analyst’s theory... Clinical impasses tend to occur when the analyst takes his theory, goals, and reasons for action for granted; then he and the patient can find themselves stuck in a contested analytic field. In order for an impasse to truly yield to something generative and new, the analyst must take hold of his theory as an object of interest and take responsibility for his desire as an analyst.          ---Mitchell Wilson, MD

To get free from an impasse, we need to find the part of ourselves that is stuck, unable to see how our patient has pulled us into a place where we are over identified, unable to see or feel more or differently from our patient.          ---Judy L. Kantrowitz, PhD

As a psychoanalyst or psychotherapist, we face times when we feel lost or bewildered, or even question the efficacy of our work with a patient. These are times when reliance on theories does not add enough clarity to help us guide ourselves out of clinical difficulty. The therapist or analyst must look deeply into themselves to discover personal and unique intertwining of their patient’s experience with warded off aspects of their own emotional experience. Drs. Kantrowitz and Mitchell will provide clinical illustrations in which they discuss their personal experiences and the resultant discoveries which enabled them to move their work beyond these troubling times.

Judy Kantrowitz, Ph.D. (Boston, Massachusetts)
Mitchell Wilson, M.D.
(Berkeley, California)

Discussants: Kehinde Ayeni, M.D. and Michael Shulman, Ph.D.
Moderator: Joshua Ehrlich, Ph.D.

The Inn at St. John’s
44045 5 Mile Rd.
Plymouth, Michigan 48170
(734) 414-0600


Practice Gap/Need:
In all treatments, there are times when the analyst or therapist finds it challenging to know how effectively their patient is being helped. Call these moments what you will: enactments, impasses, resistances, negative therapeutic reactions, clinical challenges, or transference-counter transference clashes. The fact is that these experiences are a common occurrence in depth psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. At these times, reaching for theory or technique is often insufficient. Rather, we are required to understand something different about ourselves and our patient. In this Symposium, our speakers will describe ways they have been able to reflect on unsettling dilemmas in order to bend their listening, technique, and even theories, to help patients heal from emotional suffering.

Education Objectives:
By the end of the day, participants in this Symposium will be able to:
1) Describe when and how clinical impasses or clinical interferences occur
2) Evaluate how your clinical theory is influencing the way you listen and work with your patients
3) Identify specific personal desires that have become embedded in your choice of theory
4) Determine how your personal desires are affecting your interactions with a patient and are contributing to the clinical interference
5) Identify the warded-off aspects of yourself that are fueling the impasse or dilemma, and derive methods to respond to these dissociated self-experiences to further the clinical process.

About the presenters:

Judy Kantrowitz, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and a Clinical Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of three books: The Patient's Impact on the Analyst (1996), Writing about Patients: Responsibilities, Risks, and Ramifications (2006), and Myths of Termination: What Patients Can Teach Psychoanalysts about Endings (2014). Dr. Kantrowitz has written several papers on the patient-analyst match, outcome of psychoanalysis, and on impasses in analysis. She has served three times on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and is currently on the board of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. She is in private practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Brookline, MA.

Mitchell Wilson, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. He has been awarded the Heinz Hartmann Memorial Lectureship at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute in 2002, the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association Journal Prize in 2003, and the Karl A. Menninger Memorial Award in 2005. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA), and on the Editorial Board of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly. Dr. Wilson has published widely on a variety of topics that cohere around a theory of ethics and the psychoanalytic process. His most recent papers include “The Flourishing Analyst, Responsibility, and Psychoanalytic Ethics” in JAPA 2012; “Desire and Responsibility: The Ethics of Countertransference Experience” in the Psychoanalytic Quarterly 2013, “Maternal Reliance: Commentary on Kristeva” in JAPA 2014. He is in private practice in Berkeley, CA.