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Seminars, conferences and online resources for psychotherapists
Working with Splitting and Projecting:
Therapeutic Skills and Insights

With speakers Dr Amanda Jones, Dr Noreen Giffney, Marianne Adams, Dr Judith Edwards and Dr Maggie Turp

Saturday 10 June 2017

09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Dr Amanda Jones

Working therapeutically with emotionally ill mothers and the impact maternal mental illness can have on a babies forming personality and defensive processes
What can we learn from working closely with babies who are living with mothers who cannot help but use the more immature defensive processes (especially excessive projection, splitting and extreme withdrawal)? Historically, considerable psychoanalytic theory has developed in the context of extrapolating from an adult patient what the psychotherapist or psychoanalyst imagines might have occurred in the patientís early years (and this has informed theoretical ideas about ordinary infant development). This paper looks three ways so to speak: considering the adult mother and her revived baby self in the present; the actual babyís point of view through micro observation of the babyís behaviour whilst being on the recipient end of his or her motherís defensive processes); and through the íthirdí view, namely that of the therapist who interacts with the mother-baby couple by occupying different coupling positions. Introspection and examination of the therapistís own emotional experience whilst in these different positions can give clues as to how to work with the motherís use of immature defensive processes in the hope of allowing the baby to move out of a psychic "rock and a hard place".
10.50   Dr Noreen Giffney

An awful hole that must but cannot be filled: splitting, projection and evacuation in clinical practice
This presentation considers how splitting and projection occur when the ability for thinking thoughts breaks down. Clients who rely on these defences usually have limited capacity to symbolise and act out their experiences in ways that might be alarming for the therapist. Evacuating overwhelming experiences leaves the client feeling drained and empty. Therapists react by containing projections and are confused when clients terminate treatment abruptly. Early termination is often part of the repetition compulsion enacted by these clients, who continuously split, project and evacuate perceived-to-be bad parts of themselves. This includes the therapist who becomes, unconsciously, a narcissistic extension of the client.
11.40   Coffee
12.10   Marianne Adams

Mapping Beyond Certainty
This paper takes an overview of the human journey from conception to death, and considers how our own capacity and commitment as therapists to integrate those aspects of ourselves inevitably split off from consciousness, facilitates a progressively deep and unimpeded ability to see, feel and welcome those split off aspects of our client. This movement paves the way for our clients' re-introjection, integration and insight. A simple map illuminates this simple yet infinitely shape-shifting dynamic, rooted in early object relations.
13.00   Lunch (Included)
14.00   Discussion

14.20   Dr Judith Edwards

Film projection and projective identification: trauma, splitting and therapeutic interventions
When the early analysts began their project of delving into the realms of the psyche and mapping out the territory, film was in its infancy. Now film is a major cultural reference point in our lives, and as such can be used in order to illustrate the inner worlds it so powerfully depicts, from a psychoanalytic perspective. Using a particular film, Morvern Callar, directed by Lynne Ramsay (2002) to reflect on the impact of the counter-transference (the feelings generated in the clinician or observer by what is split off and 'projected'), I suggest that film, with its capacity to communicate intense emotional and pre-verbal states, can make sense of certain key psychoanalytic concepts via a direct emotional experience. The discussion will outline the way a psychological mechanism vital in normal development may then be used when at a later stage someone is confronted with situations of trauma and loss. Hopefully we can think about such radical splitting as that employed by this young woman Morvern Callar, in terms both of the aetiology it depicts and possible therapeutic interventions which may be offered to real-life 'Morverns' in the consulting room.
15.10   Tea
15.45   Dr Maggie Turp

Envy and its Vicissitudes
When envy comes into play, splitting and projection are never far behind. Defences that are activated in order to reduce the pain of envying involve spoiling the good qualities in the envied other, such that they can no longer be appreciated or enjoyed. At the same time, the envier loses touch with his or her own good qualities and is correspondingly depleted. The workings of envy, including the operation of splitting and projection, will be explored in this talk through presentation and discussion of extracts from the film version of the novel Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. The book/film has a simple storyline that drives the plot forward while remaining primarily concerned with the inner life of the central character 'Barbara'. Through engagement with the film material, the audience will be invited to reflect on the spoiling nature of envy, the factors that precipitate envy and fan its flames, and defences against envy such as idealisation, denigration and over-close identification with the envied object. You will be invited to consider how one would work with such dynamics with specific clients or patients.
16.35   Discussion
17.00   End

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Self-funded: £140
Self-funded x 2: £230
Organisationally-funded: £210
CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:40 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15:10 Tea
17:00 End