Co-sponsored by St. John’s University’s Psychology Department and the Office of Postgraduate Professional Development Programs

The Therapeutic Action of Working with Erotic Transference: Object Relations Views and Contrasting Perspectives

Date: Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 (9:30am – 4:30 pm)
Location: St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, 101 ASTOR PLACE, NY, NY 10003
VIRTUAL PARTICIPATION will be offered (for those who are not able to attend in person).

Keynote speaker: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, DLitt, NCPsyA
Discussants: Margaret Yard, PhD, APRN and Stephanie Teitelbaum, LCSW-R, NCPsyA
Moderator: Eva Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP

To Register for this conference, please complete the Registration form
Continuing Education Information:

6 CE hours from NASW-NYS
(check the covered professions below)

6PDU hours from ORI
(for educators, legal professionals, psychoanalytic candidates in training) 


This conference will focus on the therapeutic action of work with Erotic Transference from various object relations perspectives, distinguishing erotic from eroticized transference, and resistance from the transitional use of the analyst as an erotic object on multiple levels of development, as well as on multiple levels of unconscious conflict.

The clinical journey we take is accompanied by historical precedent and historical dilemmas. Going back to Sigmund Freud’s (1915) “Observations on Transference Love,” we see the challenge laid before us, as Freud struggled with erotic transference as a resistance vs. a conduit for the deepest unconscious desires and conflicts to emerge. The two disparate courses that the erotic transference can take oppose one another; if erotic transference is a resistance, it fails to be a conduit for unconscious desires. But when the erotic transference is a conduit for unconscious desires, it allows those desires to be understood within the course of psychoanalytic treatment, reducing all forms of resistance.

Today we explore the terrains of pre-Oedipal phenomena and of developmentally arrested character disorders that Freud only had a glimpse of. So when we focus on an evolution of Erotic Transference in treatment, we look with new eyes. We look at protosymbolic enactments that can be converted into symbolic level engagement. We look at primal affect states, primal trauma, and at a rich internal world of fantasy that Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, and the later Kleinians led us into. We also look at the healing and transformation of primal trauma as spoken of by many British and American object relations theorists, including the current theorists speaking on our conference panel. When we look with new eyes, we also see contrasts between object relations theory and ego psychology, and between object relations theory and relational psychoanalysis perspective. In the papers presented at this conference, clinical work will be examined, to draw these contrasts and to illustrate the actual work with erotic (including homoerotic) transference. The theory related to the clinical examples will be explicated.

Susan Kavaler-Adler will be our keynote speaker. In her paper, she presents case examples that illustrate both the role of the analyst as a transitional erotic object, and the role of mourning as a developmental process that can lay the groundwork for a symbolic level erotic transference, which can be successfully navigated towards self-integrative growth and therapeutic action. She offers cases of lesbian homoerotic transference and homoerotic transference in heterosexual women, along with the case of character transformation through erotic transference work in male patients with a female analyst. She also critiques some work and theorizing of relational school theorists.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler has been publishing articles and cases in book chapters on working with erotic transference for three decades. Her studies on this topic have appeared in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Psychology journal, in her 2003 book “Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis” (NAAP 2004 Gradiva® Award), as well as in an edited book (by J. Schaverien, 2006) “Gender, Countertransference, and Erotic Transference.

Our two discussants will respond to Susan Kavaler-Adler’s paper, from their own object relations theory vantage points. Stefanie Teitelbaum will comment through the lens of Donald Meltzer’s writings on the sexual states of mind and the geography of the internal mother. Margaret Yard will comment on Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s paper from the position of child’s development vulnerabilities in child abuse situation as the base for sexualized & erotic transference.

Stefanie Teitelbaum:

Donald Meltzer’s SEXUAL STATES OF MIND and THE CLAUSTRUM contain, among other gems, his own originality and his creative amplifications of Freud, Klein and Bion. I will explore the erotic linking of the patient and the analyst in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s keynote address through the vertexes of Meltzer’s geography of the mental apparatus.

Geography of the inner mother and experiences of geographic confusion will be also discussed, as well as the developmental and protective functions of a container/contained conception, with the genital area as the container.

Margaret Yard:

Traditionally, the development of an erotic transference has been viewed as a negative clinical event fueled by the analyst’s countertransference reaction. Dr. Yard will explore this subject on two levels: (1) a neglected aspect as seen in the relationship between childhood seduction and the development of an erotic transference, based upon actual sexual abuse in childhood as a causal factor in the enactment of erotic transference in the clinical interaction within treatment. (2) erotic transference and relational forms of mourning and loss, vulnerability and co participation in affect regulation, in keeping sexual tension within useful analytic limits.

In Memoriam: Dr. Lewis (“Lew”) Aron

During the last month’s preparation to this conference, we’ve learned about untimely death of Dr. Lew Aron, a distinguished psychoanalyst and teacher, and an open-minded and giving colleague, collaborator, and friend. In 2010, Dr. Aron was a guest speaker at our annual conference, Psychoanalysis and Spirituality, when he presented his memorable paper, “Going out to meet You, I found You going toward me: Transformation in Jewish mysticism and contemporary psychoanalysis.” During the conference, we will gather as a community to remember Lew and will see his image coming alive during viewing some segments of his 2010’s speech.

SILENT AUCTION: THE CHARLES STREET COLLECTION (paintings by Sandra Indig) – will benefit the scholarship fund of the Object Relations Institute, to fulfill its mission of furthering psychoanalytic education for ALL. For more information, follow the link to PAY IT FORWARD AUCTIONS™ HERE.


09:15 am – 09:45 am – Registration; coffee & breakfast
09:45 am – 10:00 – Introduction
10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Morning session: Keynote speech and Q&A
12:00 – 01:00 pm – Lunch
01:00 – 04:30 pm – Afternoon session: Discussions 1& 2 and Q&A


I. for Susan Kavaler-Adler’s keynote paper:

  • Analyze various modes of clinical work with erotic transference;
  • Contrast object relations erotic transference work with erotic transference work from a relational perspective;
  • Define the developmental progression and therapeutic action of object relations work with erotic transference, when the analyst allows herself to be used as a transitional erotic object within the course of a developmental mourning process;
  • Contrast cases where the analyst is needed as a transitional erotic object to those where the transference immediately leads to associations back to the primary parental attachment, recorded with its erotic components in the unconscious.
  • Compare clinical process of heterosexual erotic transference, lesbian homoerotic transference, and homoerotic transference in the heterosexual woman.

II. for Stefanie Teitelbaum’s response/ discussion:

  • Analyze erotic transference from the perspective of Meltzer’s sexual states of mind.
  • Discuss the protective functions of a container/contained, with the genital area as the container.

III. for Margaret Yard’s response/ discussion:

  • Identify and evaluate 3 differences in conceptualizing and treating erotic transference from a relational point of view.
  • Identify and evaluate erotic transference as an enactment in the clinical treatment based in some cases upon specific clinical histories of childhood seduction or sexual trauma.


Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, D.Litt., NCPsyA is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, who has been in practice in Manhattan for 45 years. She is a Fellow of the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis, and is the Founder and Executive Director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  She is a Training Analyst, Senior Supervisor and active faculty member at the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, a NYS Board of Regents chartered psychoanalytic training institute.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler has an honorary doctorate in literature, and she is a prolific author, with published six books and over 70 articles and book chapters in the field of object relations psychoanalytic theory. Six of her seven published books are related to clinical Object Relations theories. They are: Developmental Mourning, Erotic Transference, and Object Relations Psychoanalysis (IPBooks, 2023); The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: Transformative New Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory (Karnac, 2014); The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies (Karnac, 2013); Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2003; Gradiva® Award from NAAP, 2004); The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity (Routledge, 1996; ORI Academic Press 2014; Gradiva® Award nomination); The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers (Routledge, 1993; ORI Academic Press, 2013). Dr. Kavaler-Adler received 16 awards for her psychoanalytic writing. She is also on the editorial board of the International Journal of Controversial Conversations (IJCC). In addition, Dr. Kavaler-Adler conducts ongoing groups in her practice, such as a monthly writing group, a monthly online experiential supervision group, and a monthly “Mourning, Therapy, and Support Group” with guided visualization. More information can be found at https://kavaleradler.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. Read more about Stefanie Teitelbaum at https://orinyc.org/faculty-and-staff/stefanie-teitelbaum-lcsw-npsya/

Margaret Yard, PhD, APRN, BC – is the Asst. Professor, Lehman College, CUNY, Faculty, Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, Alumni Program in International Trauma Studies, Columbia University, Alumni Adult Psychoanalytic Program and Analytic Group Therapy Programs, Post Graduate Center for Mental Health, Past President Post-Graduate Psychoanalytic Society, Co-Chair Educational and Training Programs, Faculty for Psychoanalytic Training, Object Relations Institute and Washington Square Institute. She is a faculty and training supervisor for Chinese American Psychoanalytic Association (CAPA) and teaches psychoanalysis in Beijing and Singapore. She is a Chair of the Province Review Board for Dominican Fathers and Brothers of the Affirming and Protecting Children and Young People Program as well as consultant for contemplative monastic communities for nuns in the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church. Read more about Dr. Margaret Yard at https://orinyc.org/faculty-and-staff/margaret-yard-phd-aprn-bc/



Certificates for post-graduate training in psychoanalysis and/or psychoanalytic psychotherapy (6.0 hrs) will be available, as per request. Please request them at the time of registration. Please note that you will be able to claim only actually attended hours, in person or virtually.

  • NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Social Workers.
  • NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Mental Health Counselors.
  • NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists.
  • NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Psychoanalysts.
  • This activity is pending approval by the NASW-NYS for 6.5 contact Continuing Ed hours for the following professions:
    NYS Licensed Social Workers: Provider ID #0014
    NYS Licensed Psychoanalysts: Provider ID #P-0029
    NYS Licensed Mental Health Counselors: Provider ID #MHC-0053
    NYS Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists: Provider ID #MFT-0037

RE: CEUs for mental health professionals licensed in other states:

1. Please check with your licensing boards if the CEUs approved by NASW-NYS are accepted by them to fulfill the requirements for licensure renewal (if any).
2. Re: Contact hours for professional development (e.g., for educators and various psychotherapists and community & corporate organizations’ leaders) –

FYI: Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis is chartered by NYS Department of Education to provide post-graduate training in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Credits for post-graduate educational activities issued by the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis are accepted by most of professional and licensing institutions through USA and overseas. However, some specific continuing/ post-graduate education requirements can be determined by various licensing boards, and if you are planning to use the credits for your license renewal, please check with your licensing board.

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.


____ Early Bird registration (before March 1st, 2019) – $130 regular/ $65 students
____ Pre-registration discount (March 1st – March 20th, 2019) – $140 regular/ $70 students
____ Registration after March 20th, 2019 – $150 regular/ $75 students
____ Registration at the door – $160 regular/ $80 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

Refund in full is offered for cancellations made before March 23, 2019. No refunds for cancellations made on or after March 23, 2019 (but credit can be applied for any of the workshops offered at ORI in 2019 or further on).

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