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Thinking Here and Now –

Conversation  with Innovators in Psychotherapy (zoom)

Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman hosting

A conversation with:
Otto Kernberg

Special Guest: Frank Yeomans, MD, PhD President, International Society of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

A conversation with:
 Otto Kernberg

February 26, 2023 , 7:30-9:15 PM (Israel Time; UTC+2)

Dr. Otto Kernberg is one of American psychoanalysis's most important and influential figures.

Kernberg's first contribution is conceptualizing personality disorders along dimensions of structural organization and severity (neurotic, borderline, and psychotic. Kernberg's remarkable ability to sketch the inner world of borderline and narcissistic patients with such precision has changed psychodynamic diagnostics.

His second contribution, the development of transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), was first intended to treat people with personality disorders and later expanded to treat diverse distress. According to Kernberg, patients with severe personality disorders have the syndrome of identity diffusion, a chronic, fixed internal split reflecting the lack of integration of the concept of self and the concept of significant others.

The therapist helps patients become familiar with the dissociated and split off affect states and representations of themselves and of others that constitute their fragmented internal world. Kernberg advocates that "technical neutrality" is the optimal position to make interpretations. The method has been empirically proven effective in the treatment of severe disorders.

In this conversation, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv Beiman will speak with Otto Kernberg and Frank Yeomans about:

What allows a change in psychotherapy?

What are the central tools in TFP?

TFP is unique in that it also addresses the psychological structure. What is a structural change?

How have the integration movement and the changes that the world of psychotherapy has undergone affected TFP?

Has borderline perception changed in light of reviews suggesting that complex trauma underlies the symptoms and dynamics of the borderline personality disorder?

What is the technical neutral position and is it incongreunet with the relational approach that emphasizes the therapist's subjectivity and its importance?

Is it possible to treat personality disorders through online therapy?

How can the model of malignant narcissism and large group regresions explain political phenomena in several democratic states?

Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., is Director of the Personality Disorders Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Westchester Division, a Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York. His latest book Hatred, Emptiness, and Hope: Transference-Focused Psychotherapy in Personality Disorders was published in 2022.


Frank Yeomans, MD, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Lecturer, at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Director, Personality Studies Institute President, International Society of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy Licensure / Board Certification: New York State

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