2017 ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE OBJECT RELATIONS INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY AND PSYCHOANALYSIS

Co-sponsored by St. John’s University’s Psychology Department and the Office of Postgraduate Professional Development Programs
Co-sponsored with The Advanced Clinical Education Foundation of The New York State Society for Clinical Social Work

The Dark Side of Creativity: Compulsions, Blocks, and Creations

Date: Saturday, March 18th, 2017 (9:15 am – 4:30 pm)
Location: St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, 101 Astor Place, NYC, 10003
VIRTUAL PARTICIPATION will be offered (for those who are not able to attend in person) – via Gotomeeting platform, with minimal technical requirements

Case Presenter: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, D.Litt, NCPsyA
Discussant: Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW-R, NCPsyA and Jack Schwartz, PsyD, LCSW
Moderator: Eva Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP

To Register for this conference, please complete the Registration form

CONFERENCE DESCRIPTION:

The Dark Side of Creativity is a topic that addresses the compulsion to create in those who live perpetually in a haunted internal world, after suffering early pre-oedipal trauma that prevents them from mourning and healing in their work. Their self, and the creative process, which defines them, become victim to the demon lover complex, which can be explained, in object relations terms, as a pathological mourning state, in which one is addicted to eroticized bad objects due to the lack of sufficient good object internalization during the first three years of life (when the self is first forming).

The repetition of trauma (rather than the resolution of mourning) has detrimental effect, when it is contrasted with creative people who reach the oedipal stage without primal trauma. The other side of the Dark Side of Creativity is related to blocks to creativity that can also involve trauma, but where repression is a major factor, beyond the splitting and dissociation that are seen in cases of the compulsion to create.

KEYNOTE PAPER: The Dark Side of Creativity: Compulsions, Blocks, and Creations. Presenter: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, D.Litt. Contact hours: 2.0

Abstract: This paper presents the interplay of the compulsion to create and the demon lover complex in well-known women artists and writers who have suffered primal preoedipal trauma (such as Emily Dickinson, Edith Sitwell, Emily Bronte, and Sylvia Plath), and who manifest a developmental arrest that undermines a capacity to mourn primal loss without treatment.  This contrasts with those who have a free motivation to create, and a capacity to mourn and heal themselves within their creative work (such as Charlotte Bronte and Suzanne Farrell). Poetic and biographical material will be offered to describe this contrast.

On the other side of the dark side of creativity spectrum is the syndrome of writing blocks. The last part of this paper offers some case process from a four times a week psychoanalytic patient, who gradually resolves a major block to creative self-expression, in writing, through mourning trauma, primal losses, and disillusionments within the holding environment and “container” of an object relations psychoanalytic treatment process. The point is made that repression plays a dominant role in creative blocks, while splitting and dissociation play the main role in compulsions within the creative process, where addiction to an eroticized internal “bad” object is symptomatic of a pathological state, consequent to primal trauma.

PRESENTATION 1: Talking colors: Seeing words/ Hearing images. Embracing the Double-Edged Sword of Creativity: Interpenetration of the Word and the Image. Presenter: Sandra Indig, LCSW-R, LP, ATCB

Abstract: Why does one do anything? Why does the desire to create beauty and truth seem to demand an unmeasurable price, and sometimes endless suffering, crippling illness, addiction, and even one’s life? This presentation on the dark side of creativity discusses familiarity with struggle, conflict, and accepting responsibility for stepping outside of the acceptable and predictable norm of behavior, striving to create an alternative reality, which is often helpful in clinical work. In order to facilitate the projection of internalized bad objects, the book Talking Colors includes the use of free association and empathic listening; making that which had been unthought – thought and unlived – lived. The magical transformation from the silent, non-verbal, shamed, blocked person/ patient to more accessible self-representation facilitates a creative process capable of embracing the dark side of creativity and its vicissitudes: symptoms/ pain/ pathology. By recognizing and accepting the dark side of creativity and its vicissitudes, the use of words and images in treatment vs. compulsive investments in unproductive thinking and loyalty to “bad objects” result in an increased plasticity in behavior in both, patient and analyst/ artist.

PRESENTATION 2: The Dark Side of Creativity in The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers and The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity. Presenter: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, D.Litt.

Abstract: These two books by Kavaler-Adler, The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers and The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity, speak about the dark side of creativity in very vivid terms, by offering the psychobiographical histories of well-known brilliant and prolific women writers and artists.

The Compulsion to Create contains in-depth studies of such authors as Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte, Edith Sitwell, Charlotte Bronte (higher level contrast), Virginia Woolf, as well as shorter studies of Sylvia Plath and Anais Nin. A clinical case of a developmentally arrested artist, who moves into self-integration (and depressive position growth) through successful object relations treatment, can be seen at the end of this book.

The Creative Mystique offers the theory about the creative process and psychic health, in terms of the love-creativity dialectic. It also contains in-depth cases of many brilliant and well-known artists, followed by two clinical cases. The artists in this book are Camille Claudel (Rodin’s muse), Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Anna O., Anne Sexton, Diane Arbus, and Suzanne Farrell of the New York City Ballet, who had Balanchine as her demon lover, yet never succumbed to the demon lover complex due to her oedipal stage level of full self- and whole object development. Like Charlotte Bronte, Suzanne Farrell could mourn on her own, within her creative work. The others just repeated their primal trauma in brilliant new elaborations in their work, illustrating the pathological mourning arrest that drove the compulsion in their work, based on their demon lover addiction. The author’s theory of developmental mourning vs. the demon lover complex is demonstrated throughout the in-depth psychobiographical studies that are so rich in the literary and creative work of the women artists.

DISCUSSION PAPER 1: W. R. Bion’s Alpha Function, Transformation, No-Things, and Nameless Dread: Creativity in Its Presence and Absence in Darkness and Light in Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler’s “The Dark Side of Creativity.” Discussant: Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NCPsyA Contact hours: 1.5

Abstract: My patient, a creative and creatively blocked woman, lives in a field horror in which she is unrelentingly conscious of a lack of creativity in her personal relationships, her life’s work and her thinking. I use Bion’s term nameless dread to refer to a state of horror when the thinker who thinks the thought is absent and unable to access the creative force of alpha-function to think and name emotional experience.

“The individual who is able to transform such (an) emotional experience, by virtue of his alpha-function, into material that can be stored, communicated and finally published must belong to the category we loosely call ‘genius’.” W.R. Bion

The work of the negative, the creativity born in an encounter with absence of an object, depends on alpha function – an object itself – to name the dread. My patient is painfully aware that her dreams have lost their creativity. Perhaps within this quote of Bion lies a hint of her longing for and murderous envy of celebrity; an unconscious fantasy of feeding on the alpha function of talented others. This discussion will weave threads of Margot’s analysis, Bion’s theories and Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s presentation of the Dark Side of Creativity.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2: Fixing a Hole, the Catalytic Effect of Trauma, Loss, Pain and Suffering in the Search for the Creative-Reparative Motif: A Discussion of Creativity in Its Presence and Absence, in Darkness and Light, in Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler’s “The Dark Side of Creativity.” Discussant: Jack Schwartz, PsyD, LCSW, NCPsyA      Contact hours: 1.5

Abstract: The formative years of an individual are often fraught with a precarious quest toward the object attachment.  Early and prolonged impoverishment, deprivation and suffering can be at the core of most psychological disturbance but paradoxically the wellspring of creative endeavors.   Obsessions, compulsions and creativity are inexorably linked by the idea that all represent a form of search. The actualization of the search or at least the attempt at actualization of that search is the creative gesture, as seen in art, film, writing, music, painting and self-expression, especially in the realm of psychoanalysis. This presentation will expand on Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s thesis of the dance between dark and light in the creative process.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

09:15 am – 09:45 am – Registration; coffee & breakfast
09:45 am – 10:00 am – Introduction
10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Morning session: Case presentation and Q&A
12:00 – 01:30 pm – Working lunch
01:00 – 04:30 pm – Afternoon session: Discussion and Q&A

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

KEYNOTE PAPER: The Dark Side of Creativity: Compulsions, Blocks, and Creations. Presenter: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, D.Litt.  Contact hours: 2.0

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, its participants will be able to: 1) Identify the nature of trauma related to the compulsion to create; 2) Analyze and discuss the cases of those who can’t mourn in their creative work due to pre-Oedipal trauma; 3) Discuss and contrast the situations involving those with blocks to creativity, who can mourn in treatment, with those traumatized artists who create compulsively, but are unable to mourn.

PRESENTATION 1: Talking colors: Seeing words/ Hearing images. Embracing the Double-Edged Sword of Creativity: Interpenetration of the Word and the Image. Presenter: Sandra Indig, LCSW-R, LP, ATCB 

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, its participants will be able to: 1. Analyze and discuss the equal value of visual mentalization and verbal expression in understanding of symbolic mental life; 2. Apply understanding of vicissitudes of creativity in clinical practice (symptoms, pain, and pathology).

PRESENTATION 2: The Dark Side of Creativity in The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers and The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity. Presenter: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, D.Litt.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, its participants will be able to: 1. Identify and discuss representations of primal trauma and pathological mourning vs. developmental mourning in creative work; 2. Discuss and apply the concepts of the demon lover addiction and love-creativity dialectic in clinical practice.

DISCUSSION PAPER 1: W. R. Bion’s Alpha Function, Transformation, No-Things, and Nameless Dread: Creativity in Its Presence and Absence in Darkness and Light in Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler’s “The Dark Side of Creativity.” Discussant: Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NCPsyA     Contact hours: 1.5 

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, its participants will be able to: 1) Define and discuss Bion’s concepts of “alpha-function” and “transformation” as they relate to creativity; 2) Describe Bion’s concept of “no-thing” – as it relates to motivation to create – in their own clinical work; 3) Analyze Bion’s concept of “nameless dread” as it relates to an absence of capacity to create thought.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2: Fixing a Hole, the Catalytic Effect of Trauma, Loss, Pain and Suffering in the Search for the Creative-Reparative Motif: A Discussion of Creativity in Its Presence and Absence, in Darkness and Light, in Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler’s “The Dark Side of Creativity.” Discussant: Jack Schwartz, PsyD, LCSW, NCPsyA      Contact hours: 1.5

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, its participants will be able to: 1. Identify and discuss the dynamic of the link between psychic suffering and creativity; 2. Analyze the notion of reparative motif as seen in the creative artists/ intellectuals, such as Orson Wells, Hitchcock, Picasso, Freud, Shakespeare, and Springsteen; 3. Discuss a psychoanalytic object relations model and creativity as a both a quest and signifier of an attempt at object merger and integration.

SHORT BIO’s

Susan Kavaler-Alder, Ph.D., ABPP, D. Litt., NCPsyA) is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has been in practice in New York City for 40 years.  She is the founder and executive director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ORI), as well as the training analyst and senior supervisor and faculty at ORI. Dr. Kavaler-Adler is a prolific author, with 5 published books and over 60 journal articles and edited book chapters.  She has won 15 awards for her writing in the field, including the Gradiva Award form NAAP in 2004. Her five books are: “The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers” (Routledge 1996, Other Press 2000, ORI Academic Press 2013); “The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity” (Routledge 1996, ORI Academic Press 2014); “Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis” (Routledge 2003); “The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies” (Karnac, 2013); “The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: New Transformative Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory” (Karnac 2014).  For more information, visit www.kavaleradler.com.

Sandra Indig LCSW-R/LP, NCPsyA, ATCB is a psychoanalyst/ psychotherapist in private practice in NYC. She was trained at New York University (MSW) and at the Washington Square Institute for Psychotherapy and Mental Health (training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis). Sandra Indig is a contributing author to an edited book, Art, Creativity and Psychoanalysis: Perspectives from Analyst-Artists, Routledge, as well as the author of her own book of poems and paintings, Talking Colors: Seeing Words/ Hearing Images, published by MindMend Publishing, an imprint of the ORI Academic Press. Indig is an artist and an active member of many art societies (The American Alliance of Museums, American Art Therapy Assoc., NY Artists’ Circle); curated numerous exhibits (including three for the NYSSCSW); as well as serving as chair of the Committee for Creativity and Neurobiology, NYSSCSW.  Sandra was twice a nominee of NAAP Gradiva Award for contributions to art and psychoanalysis. For examples of her art work and writing go to www.sindig.com

Stefanie Teitelbaum, MSW, B. Music – is the Supervising and Training Analyst, Faculty of NPAP, ORI, and IEA; also former IEA Education Director; former staff psychotherapist at the Lower East Side Service Center, Drug-Free Out-Patient Program. Currently, in private psychoanalytic practice in New York City. Papers published in the American Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Other/Wise (an on-line peer reviewed journal of IFPE) and The Psychoanalytic Review. Stefanie Teitelbaum is the former Opera Singer and Member of the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn.

Jack Schwartz, PsyD, LCSW, NCPsyA had graduated from the New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis, where he is a Faculty Member, Lecturer, Control Analyst, and Membership Chair. He holds degrees from Farleigh Dickinson University, Yeshiva University (where he received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award), and International University. He served as the Senior Forensic Psychologist in Passaic County New Jersey for over 15 years, specializing in criminal investigations, expert witness, probation, and child custody issues. Dr. Schwartz maintains a full private practice in Northern New Jersey, working with children, adolescents, couples and adults. He regularly lectures at national conferences on Dream Analysis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Resilience, Pornography Addiction and other matters related to the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He was the senior editor and contributor to the highly regarded NJ Society of Clinical Social Work (NJSCSW) newsletter The Forum.  Dr. Schwartz has written a novel Our Time is Up, and a paper (published in the peer-reviewed publication, MindConsiliums) on Freud’s Irma Dream, that has led to a Gradiva nomination and a multi- media presentation on the origins of psychoanalysis.

CONTINUING EDUCATION:

*For psychoanalysts/ psychotherapists: This full day educational activity is eligible for 6.5 contact hours in post-graduate psychoanalytic education / training.  ORI is a chartered by NYS Department of Education to provide post-graduate training in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

*For social workers: This full day conference is approved for 5.0 contact hrs/ NYS CEUs by the ACE Foundation of NYSSCSW (provider # 0056)

To receive CE certificates for the actual hours attended – please request them at the time of registration or any time prior to beginning of the conference. CE certificate fee: $25 (in addition to the registration fees). No fees charged for PD (Professional Development) certificates from ORI.

REGISTRATION AND FEES:

____ Early Bird registration (before March 7th, 2017) – $100 regular/ $55 students

____ Pre-registration discount (March 8th – March 14th, 2017) – $110 regular/ $65 students

____ Registration after March 14th, 2017 – $125 regular/ $75 students

____ Registration at the door – $135 regular/ $85 students

To receive CE certificates for the actual hours attended – please request them at the time of registration or any time prior to beginning of the conference. CE certificate fee (in addition to the registration fees): $25. No fees charged for PD (Professional Development) certificates from ORI.

SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for retired or disabled practitioners, need-based or/and those who live outside of USA.

You can request scholarship using this form

CANCELLATION POLICY:
Refund in full is offered for cancellations made before March 20th, 2017. No refunds for cancellations made on or after March 20th, 2017 (but credit can be applied for any of the workshops offered at ORI in 2017 or further on).

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