Entering Night Country: A Traveler’s Guide
The 2017 Fall Academic Lecture
None of us will escape the experience of personal loss, illness, aging or mortality. Yet, psychoanalysis seems to shy away from the discussion of these core human experiences. Existential vulnerability is painful to us all, but when we fail to explore the topic of mortality – our own and our patient’s – we foreclose a vital opportunity. Our avoidance of the existential, within the context of our professional identities, personal realities, and therapeutic relationships, continues to shape practice and theory. T.S. Eliot wrote: “In the end is my beginning.”(1) How might we understand the end, prepare for the inevitable and include the reality of death in the work we do and in the trajectory of our lives? How might we utilize death as a “facilitating elixir”, or embrace the presence of death as another “third” in work, and in life. Facing these questions can be the difference between a robotic and numb existence, or one of vibrancy and meaning. Finding our common humanity in the existential, whether in the ancient stories, with each other, or in our work, means mourning the loss of our own omnipotence. But the awareness of our shared fate may also facilitate life’s great purpose: to embrace desire, to intensify courage, and together, to discover the treasures of life and love.
(1) Eliot, T. S. (1943) East Coker: Four Quartets
Stephanie Brody, PsyD (Presenter) — Psychoanalyst Member, Training and Supervising Analyst, and Faculty, BPSI; Editor, BPSI Bulletin; Clinical Instructor in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Clinical Associate (part time). Attending Psychologist, Pavilion Unit–McLean Hospital.
Sherri Mello, MD (Discussant) — Fourth year Candidate in Adult Psychoanalytic Training Program, Member of the Ethics Education and Case Development committees, BPSI. Private Practice in Belmont, MA.
Andrew Bush, MD (Discussant) — Fifth year Candidate in Adult Psychoanalytic Training, Candidate Representative to the Joint Curriculum Committee, BPSI. Private Practice in Arlington, MA.
Lucinda DiDomenico, MD (Discussant) — Psychoanalyst Member, Co-Chair of the Academic Lecture Committee, BPSI; Supervisor, Tufts Medical Center Psychiatry Dept. Private practice, Newton Centre, MA.
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:
- Identify aspects of existential awareness in the practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
- Discuss the concept of death as a “facilitating elixir” in life and in the clinical process.
- Describe death as another “third” in the psychoanalytic/psychotherapeutic process.
Brody, S. (2009) On the edge: Exploring the end of the analytic hour. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19: 87-97.
Brody, S. (2016) Entering Night Country: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Loss and Resilience. Routledge, NY.
Ogden, T. (2014) Fear of breakdown and the unlived life. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 95: 205-223.
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Presentation; 8:00 pm – 8:15 pm: First Discussant; 8:15 pm – 8:30 pm: Second Discussant; 8:30 pm – 8:40 pm: Response from Presenter; 8:40 pm – 9:00 pm: Discussion and Q&A.
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 2 hours of CE.
Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Social Workers: Please contact The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Instiute’s Administrative Office at email@example.com or 617-266-0953.
Please note: Per NASW requirements, social works must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
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Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled, must submit their request in writing via email to Drew Brydon at firstname.lastname@example.org. For fee-based events, a request for cancellation (and refund using the original form of payment) must be received no later than 48 hours in advance of the event. Requests received later than 48 hours prior to the event will not be processed or accepted. All approved refunds are subject to a $10.00 administrative fee. If BPSI cancels and event, all registrants will receive a full refund of fees paid (no administration charge) no later than two business days following the scheduled date of the event, using the original form of payment.
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