Didactic work and research

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Clinical Applications of Relational Psychoanalysis

Areas of research and teaching:

- Comparative analysis of psychoanalytic models and the development of relational psychoanalysis

Considering the work of comparative analysis of the psychoanalytic models by Greenberg and Mitchell this seminar explores the integration of the relational and experiential dimensions into the biological Freudian model of the mind. A new psychoanalytic paradigm has emerged as a consequence with the recognition of the centrality of a subjectively acquired sense of Self.

- The structural diagnosis in the clinical process

The medical/psychiatric model has the tendency to put the subject in a passive position in respect to diagnosis. In psychoanalysis the subject is recognized has having and active role in the development of psychopathology as a reaction to developmental traumatic deprivations of the relational needs of attachment and appropriate recognition. The symptoms presented by the patient are understood as expression of the original traumatic inter subjective situation. The patient is believed to have an active role in the diagnostic process trough his discourse if recognized by the analyst capacity to listen and be surprised by the non intentional meaning of the patient’s words. and by the. The patient’s use of the therapeutic relationship through externalizations of unconscious conflicts is also an important diagnostic element and becomes an opportunity for the needed emotional corrective experience.

- The psychoanalytic method and the fundamental capacities for the development of the therapeutic relationship

The psychoanalytic method is explored in order to identify the elements that facilitates the development of the transitional space between patient and therapist, the se called “inter subjective third”. The free association technique used to deconstruct the manifest meaning is an important element of the method used to meet the patient’s need to understand and resolve the unconscious conflict. The emotional reparative experience is also an important element of the psychoanalytic technique aimed to meet the transformational needs of the Self.

- The dialectical use of relational models and the centrality of the hysterical, obsessive and narcissistic conflicts

The modern psychotherapist has the responsibility to know and use the multiple psychoanalytic models because each of them constitute a unique transformational opportunity for the patient’s Self. The distinction between actual pathology and psychopathology is considered important to properly diagnose and treat disorders based on a structural deficit in the symbolic secondary development of the mind, like somatic and eating disorders or panic attacks. The hysterical, obsessive and narcissistic conflicts are instead a clear expression of meaningful psychopathology where the development of the Self has been constricted by the unconscious relationship with the primary object.

- Trauma, dissociation and the use of enactment in the therapeutic relationship

The interpersonal/relational model of P. Bromberg and E. Levenson are explored. According to this model the mind is deeply shaped by the internalization of inter subjective experience and consequently the therapeutic process inevitably consists of a repetition of this internalized experience. The study of the interaction between patient and therapist is central to this model since the participation of the therapist in the repetition of the patient’s past difficulties is not only inevitable but considered the essence of the cure, if appropriately recognized and elaborated by the therapeutic couple. The enactment becomes the focus of this approach since it is believed that dissociated trauma can be linguistically expressed only through the unconscious communication in the therapeutic interaction of emotional and affective states that can be otherwise disorganizing for the individual mind.

- Psychoanalysis and social-constructivism

- The characters of Psychoanalysis

- The relational structure of human identity

- Winnicott and Lacan