May 1, 2014 @ 12:00 am – 1:30 am
Hebrew College, Berenson Hall
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre
MA 02459
Victoria Vacaro
617-266-0953 ext. 105


Berenson Hall, Friedman Building,

Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA





On Transgressive Sexuality’s Potential to Evoke

Unrepresented Mental States






This presentation extends Botella & Botella’s (2005) and Levine’s (2012) work on figurability and unrepresented states to the domain of sexuality, and specifically, transgressive sexuality. Transgressive sexuality operates within an economical regime of escalating excitations, pushing against the limit of what is tolerable. Its insatiable appetite for intensified stimulation can lead to a welling up of pleasure to the point of pain or exhaustion producing pleasure that is suffered. Such suffering of pleasure can override homeostatic controls and, at its apex, may result in a shattering of the ego (Bersani).

This shattering, I will propose, behaves like a portal that allows unrepresented experiential fragments to leap forward. These embodied bits are akin to Bion’s beta elements: insofar as they have evaded representation they cannot be thought with or thought about. By nature impossible to gather into language, they arrive as sensuous bodily states which can then be worked with in the consulting room. A vignette will illustrate howan analysand’s transgressive sexual encounter andthe generative dysregulation it produced made it possible for us to find a way to think and speak about previously unrepresented states.

Learning Objectives  After attending this session, participants should be able to:

1. Explain transgressive sexuality’s potential to evoke a shattering of the ego.

2. Discuss how the ego’s shattering opens up space for the experiencing of embodied unrepresented states.

3. Describe how these embodied bits can be used in analytic treatment.

Reading recommendations

1. Stein, R.A. (2008). The otherness of sexuality: excess. JAPA, 56, 43-71. PEP Web Link

2. Levine, H.B. (2012). The colourless canvas: representation, therapeutic action and the creation of a mind. IJPA, 93, 607-609. [available in the library]

3. Bersani, L. (1986). The Freudian Body (chapter 3). NY: Columbia University Press. [available in the library]


Avgi Saketopoulou, PhD is a psychoanalytic candidate at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She has taught at Yeshiva University and at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, NY. She is a recipient of the Ruth Stein Prize, and serves on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Avgi has published several articles on gender, class, race, sexuality and consent and is in private practice in NYC.  She is also the winner of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Ralph Roughton Paper Award for 2014.

Howard B. Levine, MD is on the faculty at PINE and MIP, is a supervising analyst at MIP, is on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Inquiryand on the Board of Directors of the IPA. He has authored many papers on psychoanalytic process and technique and most recently, edited (with Gail Reed and Dominique Scarfone) Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning (Karnac 2013) and (with Larry Brown) Growth and Turbulence in the Container Contained (Routledge 2013). He is a director and founding member of the Boston Group For Psychoanalytic Studies, Inc. (BGPS) and a founding member of the Group for the Study of Psychoanalytic Process (BGPS). Dr. Levine practices psychoanalysis and analytic psychotherapy in Brookline, MA.

This program is free. The target audience for this program is intermediate and advanced level mental health practitioners.  Continuing Education certification for this event is available for a $30.00 fee. Please forward your request and payment to BPSI, 169 Herrick Rd,  Newton Centre, MA 02459.

The fee is waived for BPSI trainees and members.

Continuing Education: 
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship 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 1.5 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 1.5 hours of CE.

Social Workers:  This program has been approved for 1.5 continuing education hours for relicensure in accordance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW-MA and the Boston College and Simmons College schools of Social Work.

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Inc., 169 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA  02459, does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or handicap in the admissions, administration of its educational programs, scholarship and loan programs or employment.