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Reading Here and Now
Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy
Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman

a conversation with
Karen J. Maroda

The Analyst's Vulnerability – Impact on Theory and Practice

a conversation with
Karen J. Maroda

January 23rd, 2022 - 7:30pm (Israel Time; UTC+2)

"We become analysts to prove, in part, that we are not destructive—that the pain in our families was not our fault. We survive and assuage our guilt in doing so by spending our days attempting to connect with others emotionally" -  Karen Maroda

In The Analyst's Vulnerability – Impact on Theory and Practice, Karen Maroda posits that why we became therapists, how we build our theories, and how we practice is significantly shaped by our own most deep, personal, and shaping vulnerable experiences.

She describes analysts' motivations for treatment and the gratifications they naturally seek, including her own. Maroda asserts that an enduring blind spot arises from clinicians' ongoing need to deny what they are personally seeking from the analytic process, including the need to rescue and be rescued. "We re-live our pasts as we treat our patients," writes Maroda, "deriving both pleasure and pain as we revisit emotional terrain that can be achingly familiar. In addition, we often favor theoretical approaches and interventions that sometimes fall too easily into either a repetition of our own pasts or defense against experiencing that repetition".

The book consists of two parts. Part I is devoted to the therapist's motivations, vulnerabilities, needs, sacrifices, and gratifications. Part II examines how therapists' traits and histories become part of the fabric of their theories and interventions. For example, Maroda discusses therapists' avoidance of conflict, their preference for enactment over direct intervention, their misapplied confidence in mirror neuron theory, and how they create views of therapeutic action.

In this conversation, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman will discuss with Karen Maroda the numerous related issues that include: our fear of harming; our tendency toward passivity rather than action; our ambivalence about technique; our need to see ourselves in an overly-positive light; the personal nature of our theories; and the impact of gender within the transition from classical to relational analysis.

We will also try to find out why it is important to be reflective about our own vulnerability and what self-reflective work we can do to meet our unconscious motivations and needs in our daily work with patients.  Throughout our talk, we will use clinical examples from the book.

We will also explore with Karen Maroda the main clinical ideas she describes in her seminal previous books and the personal journey through which her ideas were developed.

Karen J. Maroda, Ph.D., ABBP, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin and in private practice in Milwaukee, WI. She is board certified in psychoanalysis by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis.  The author of four books, The Power of Countertransference, Seduction, Surrender and Transformation, Psychodynamic Techniques, and The Analyst’s Vulnerability, as well as numerous journal articles and book reviews.  She also sits on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Psychology and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She gives lectures and workshops both nationally and internationally.

Link to the book 20% Discount Available for Participants - enter the code FLR40 at:

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