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Thinking Here and Now –

Conversation  with Innovators in Psychotherapy (zoom)

Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman hosting

A conversation with:
Joyce Slochower

Winnicott from a Relational Perspective

A conversation with:
 Joyce Slochower

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

Winnicott's notion of "holding" poses a great challenge to the relational approach.  The relational emphasis on analytic mutuality collides with the vision of a passive, regressed patient held by a parental analyst in a highly asymmetrical relationship.

Joyce Slochower’s relational holding model bridged the gap between relational and Winnicottian thinking.  She theorized holding’s intersubjective element while also explicitly addressing patients’ need for alone experience and privacy within relational space. "Central to a relational take on holding" writes Slochower "is the assumption that holding isn’t something we do “for” or “to” our patient; it’s an experience that’s co-created by the analytic dyad. Nor is holding limited to work around dependence; the need for holding can emerge around hate, narcissism, or intense reactivity to injury with all kinds of patients.  We hold when we do our best to bracket (i.e., set aside without disavowing or dissociating) those aspects of our subjectivity that would disrupt our patient’s (partially illusory) sense of us" (2021, 168).

Here are some of the questions that will be discussed:

Is there a place for regression in relational therapy?

Does “holding” foreclose the analyst’s separate subjectivity?

What is holding’s effect on painful affect states like shame?

When and how does holding evolve in the direction of mutuality?

What do we do when a patient's demanding neediness feels suffocating?

What constitutes therapeutic action from a Relational-Winnicottian perspective?

Slochower will illustrate these themes using clinical vignettes

Joyce Slochower Ph.D., ABPP, is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Hunter College & the Graduate Center, CUNY.  Joyce is faculty and supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program, the Steven Mitchell Center, the National Training Program of NIP (all in New York), the Philadelphia Center for Relational Studies in Philadelphia and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco.  She is on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Ricerca Psicoanalitica and Psychoanalytic Perspectives and is on the Board of the IARPP.  Joyce has published over 100 articles on various aspects of psychoanalytic theory and technique.  Second Editions of her two books, Holding and Psychoanalysis: A Relational Perspective (1996) and Psychoanalytic Collisions (2006), were released in 2014 by Routledge.  Her forthcoming book: Elephants Under the Couch: Psychoanalysis and the Unspoken will be released by Karnac.  She is co-Editor, with Lew Aron and Sue Grand, of “De-idealizing Relational Theory: A Critique From Within” and “Decentering Relational Theory: A Comparative Critique (2018, Routledge).  She is in private practice in New York City where she sees individuals and couples, runs supervision and study groups.

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