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Thinking Here and Now
Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy

Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman


A conversation with

Robert Stolorow


Robert Stolorow

The conversation will take place on Sunday,

18.09.22, 20:30-22:15 (Israel Time; UTC+3,
1:30-3:15 PM New York time)

and will be available via ZOOM.

Participation fee: 17$ or 15€

For more than four decades, Robert Stolorow (with his collaborator George Atwood ) has been engaged in the idea that psychoanalysis is a form of phenomenological inquiry. This inquiry is has profound implications in the realm of trauma. Influenced by the personal loss of his late wife Dede in 1991,  Stolorow, influenced by Martin Heidegger's philosophy, came to see that human existence, stripped of its sheltering illusions, is inherently traumatizing. He uses the Heideggerian perspective to convey the idea we are always already traumatized. Because of our finitude and the finitude of those we love, trauma is built into the structure of our existence. Even if we haven't been previously traumatized, any trauma brings us face to face with the traumatizing dimension of finite human existence itself. The goal of therapy is to integrate the trauma psychologically so that it doesn't have to be evaded by dissociative and other pathological defenses. Trauma becomes part of who one is and what one's world is, rather than having to be kept defensively sequestered. The goal is not recovery; the goal is integration.

In this conversation, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman will discuss with Robert Stolorow the implications of phenomenology to psychotherapy. Among the subjects: How should the therapist cope with alienation and loss of meaning of traumatized patients? what does it mean to enter fully into the patient's world and feel her suffering, and how does it differ from Kohut's empathy? Do psychotherapists need to be open to their traumatic loss for the transformative experience to happen? How can we help the patient integrate her trauma?


Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., Ph.D. is a Founding Faculty Member and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles; a Founding Faculty Member at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, New York City; and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the author of World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (2011) and Trauma and Human Existence: Autobiographical, Psychoanalytic, and Philosophical Reflections (2007), and coauthor of The Power of Phenomenology: Psychoanalytic and Philosophical Perspectives (2018), Worlds of Experience: Interweaving Philosophical and Clinical Dimensions in Psychoanalysis (2002), Working Intersubjectively: Contextualism in Psychoanalytic Practice (1997), Contexts of Being: The Intersubjective Foundations of Psychological Life (1992), Psychoanalytic Treatment: An Intersubjective Approach (1987), Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology and Contextualism (2014[1984], 2nd ed.), Psychoanalysis of Developmental Arrests: Theory and Treatment (1980), and Faces in a Cloud: Intersubjectivity in Personality Theory (1993 [1979], 2nd ed.). He is also coeditor of The Intersubjective Perspective (1994) and has authored or coauthored more than two hundred articles. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Harvard University in 1970 and his Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy from the Psychoanalytic Institute of the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, New York City, in 1974. He also received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California at Riverside in 2007. He holds diplomas both in Clinical Psychology and in Psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and he is a Fellow in the Divisions of Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He received the Distinguished Scientific Award from the Division of Psychoanalysis in 1995, the Haskell Norman Prize for Excellence in Psychoanalysis from the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis in 2011, and the Hans W. Loewald Memorial Award from the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education in 2012.

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