Workshop is led by Dr. David P. Celani
Date: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 9:30am – 4:30pm EDT
Location: Virtual participation only!
Virtual participation is conducted via audio/video or audio mode only
To Register for this workshop, please complete the Registration form
Continuing Education Information: 8.25 CEs for APA, NYS Psychologists (from Amedco);
6.5 CEs for NYS Social Workers & NYS Psychoanalysts (from NAAP)

See details here


This workshop will demonstrate how Fairbairn’s Structural Theory can be used for both diagnosis and treatment. Fairbairn understood how sensitive the infant and child is to parental lack of empathy as he was completely dependent on his object for the satisfaction of all his human needs. Parental failures have to be ignored, forgotten, minimized or – in extreme cases – dissociated, as the child cannot tolerate conscious awareness that his parents are uncaring, indifferent or worse, malicious, toward him.

Fairbairn developed a structural theory of the unconscious that grouped similar intolerable, yet real events that the child had experienced into self and other categories, which remained out of awareness. They had to remain unconscious as the child had to create the illusion that he was cared for and living in a safe environment, otherwise he would feel abandoned and exposed, without any help, to a unknown world. Over time, memories of similar repeated emotional abandonments coalesce in the individual’s unconscious and  form sub-personalities which  remain hidden from the conscious ego. These structures, which are grouped memories of intolerable parental failures, which include the indifferent or neglectful parent and the target of the indifference, which is the rejected, humiliated fearful and angry child. The relationship between these two ego structures, or sub egos  ( the rejecting parent ego structure takes on, through internalization,  the characteristics of the actual indifferent parent  is expressed in a powerful agenda. The internal representation of indifferent parent is to hold on to the view that the child had disappointed them, been a failure, a burden or refuses to be obedient. The internal structure representing the child feels angry, ashamed of himself, neglected and motivated to change the parent’s mind about him.

Fairbairn recognized that  no child can live without the illusion of being loved, even if the family contains no tenderness or empathy. The child develops a second sub ego, called the libidinal ego, that imagines that they have a loving parent, if only they (the child) knew how to find this assumed love. The libidinal ego has a very different agenda, which is to find the source of love and support in their  rejecting parents. This gives the child a continuous source of hope for the future. The libidinal ego  is the operative dynamic in both the borderline personality and the battered woman syndrome.

Each diagnostic disorder has unique configuration of self and other relationships in the individual’s unconscious. The actual relationship that was experienced in childhood is stored and reenacted in their interpersonal relationships in the external world. This workshop will help the attendee understand the developmental relationship in the patient’s inner world that is being replayed in the transference.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Morning Session: 9:30am – 12:45pm
Topics covered:
1) Review of The Work of W.R.D. Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory on the impact of early rejection of the child’s legitimate needs and the resulting undermining of the normal process of emotional development.
2) Understanding the four unconscious structures: how they relate to each other, and to the Central Ego.

Lunch: 12:45pm – 1:20pm

Afternoon Session: 1:20pm – 3:50pm
Topics covered:
3) The four diagnostic groups and how to differentiate them using Fairbairn’s structural model.
4) How to develop a clinical narrative that focuses on parental failures without provoking defensiveness in the patient.

General Q & A: 4:00pm – 4:30pm

Readings in preparation to this workshop (mandatory for those obtaining the CEs) – will be sent to the registered participants in PDF formats:
a) Dr. Celani’s workshop handout “Fairbairn’s Metaphor of Human Mind” (15 pages);
b) Celani, D. P. (2010). Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory in the Clinical Setting. Intro Chapter (17 pages); Chapter One (40 pages); Chapter Two (32 pages).


At the end of this educational activity, its participants will be able to:

  • Analyze Fairbairn’s developmental model with its focus on the child’s absolute dependency on his parental objects for all his psychological needs.
  • Discuss the child’s intolerance of knowing about or accepting the reality of parental neglect or abuse that leads to the use of the dissociative defense to keep the child secure.
  • Distinguish the conscious and unconscious components that compromise Fairbairn’s structural theory.
  • Utilize their knowledge of the dissociative defense and the splitting defense, to understand the creation of inner sub-personalities. [This explains why many patients express extreme and often opposite views of reality often during the same session as the therapeutic process proceeds.]
  • Discuss the specific patterns between the internalized structures that eventuates into the Hysterical personality disorder and how they are different from the patterns in other diagnostic groups.
  • Apply Fairbairn’s structural model to the developmental histories of Obsessional disorders.
  • Discuss how Fairbairn’s structural model explains disguised parental cruelty formed a powerful rejecting object structure that dominates the individuals sense of self in Obsessional disorders.
  • Analyze how the splitting defense is the basis for the Borderline personality disorder that shifts from one sub-ego or part-object to another when threatened by loss.
  • Discuss how the extreme rejection of the child during his development eventuates into an Narcissistic disorder that is difficult to reach because of interpersonal isolation.
  • Discuss how to expand the patient’s conscious awareness to the previously dissociated aspects of his childhood relationships to his parents, in the context of a supportive relationship to the therapist.
  • Discuss how to establish the situation when the patient forms a growth-promoting attachment to the therapist as an alternative to his/her dysfunctional family.


  • Armstrong-Perlman, E.M. (1991). The allure of the bad object. Free Association,2, 343–356.
  • Diaz, J. (2017, November 20). Waiting for Spider-Man. The New Yorker, 17.
  • Du Plessix-Gray, F. (1995). Starving children. The New Yorker, 51.
  • Celani, D.P. (1996). The illusion of love: Why the battered woman returns to her abuser. Columbia University Press.
  • Celani, D. P. (2007). A structural analysis of the obsessional character: A Fairbairnian perspective. American Journal of Psychoanalysis67(2), 119–140.
  • Celani, D. P. (2010). Fairbairn’s object relations theory in the clinical setting. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Celani, D. P. (2014a). A Fairbairnian structural analysis of the narcissistic personality disorder. Psychoanalytic Review, 101, 385–409.
  • Celani, D. P. (2014b). Revising Fairbairn’s structural theory. In G. Clarke & D. Scharff, (Eds.), Fairbairn and the object relations tradition(pp. 397–409). London: Karnac.
  • Celani, D.P. (2016). Fairbairn’s theory of change. Psychoanalytic Review,103(3), 341–370.
  • Celani, D.P. (2020). Applying Fairbairn’s Object Relations theory to the psychological development of Anders Breivik. Psychoanalytic Review, 107(4), 337–365.
  • Fairbairn, W.R.D. (1952). Psychoanalytic studies of the personality.  London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Fairbairn, W.R.D. (1958). On the nature and aims of psycho-analytical treatment. International Journal of Psychoanalysis39, 374–385.
  • Goodwin, D.K. (1994). No ordinary time. Touchstone, New York, NY.
  • Greenson, R.R. (1971). A dream while drowning. In: Explorations in Psychoanalysis, (pp. 415–423), 1978. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.
  • Harrison, K. (1997). The kiss. New York: Random House.
  • Kopp, S. (1978). An end to innocence: Facing life without illusions. New York: Bantam books.
  • McLaughlin, J.T. (1998). Power, authority, and influence in the analytic dyad. In O. Renkck, O. Ed, Northvale Knowledge and Authority in the Psychoanalytic Relationship(pp.189–222). NJ: Jason Aronson.
  • Mitchell, S.A. (2000). Relationality: From attachment to intersubjectivity. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
  • Odgen, T.H. (1990). The Matrix of the Mind: Object Relations and the Psychoanalytic Dialogue. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson.
  • Odgen, T.H. (2010) Why Read Fairbairn. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 91, 101–108.
  • Ogden, T. H. (2019). Why read Fairbairn? International Journal of Psycho-analysis, 91, 101–118.
  • Porter, K.A. (1948). The necessary enemy. In The Collected Essays and Occasional Writings of Katherine Anne Porter(pp.182–186). Houghton Mifflin, 1970.
  • Schafer, R. (1998). Authority, evidence, and knowledge in the psychoanalytic relationship, In O. Renick (Ed.),  Knowledge and Authority in the Psychoanalytic Relationship(pp.227–244). Jason Aronson, 1998.
  • Seinfeld, J. (1990). The bad object. Northvale, NJ: Aronson.
  • Skolnick, N. J. (2006). What’s a good object to do? Psychoanalytic Dialogues16(1), 1–27.
  • Skolnick, N.J. (2014). The analyst as a good object: A Fairbairnian perspective. In G.S. Clarke & D.E. Scharff, Fairbairn and the Object Relations tradition(Chapter 19). Routledge.
  • Fairbairn and the Object Relations tradition (Chapter 19). Routledge.


David P. Celani, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who practiced for more than twenty-five years in Burlington, Vermont. In treatment, he focused on his patients’ “attachment to bad objects”, which manifested through their inability to separate from parents, friends, or marital partners who demeaned, criticized, or abused them. Celani now presents workshops throughout the United States on Object Relations theory. His books with Columbia University Press include Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingThe Illusion of Love: Why the Battered Woman Returns to Her Abuser, and Leaving Home: How to Separate From Your Difficult Family.



  • Nachträglichkeit: Theoretical And Clinical Considerations – Eva D. Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP (12.0 CE)
  • Application Of Fairbairn’S Structural Metaphors For Diagnosis And Treatment Of Personality Disorders: Hysteric, Obsessive, Narcissistic, And Borderline – Dr. Dr. David P Celani (8.25 CE)

Accreditation Statement

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Amedco LLC and Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis (ORIPP). Amedco LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Psychologists (APA) Credit Designation

This course is co-sponsored by Amedco and Horizons Media, Inc. Amedco is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amedco maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 20.25 hours (for both courses); 8.25 hours for this course.

The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Counselors: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, ME, MO, NC, ND, NH, NE, NJ, NM, NV, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY
MI: No CE requirements
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for MFTs: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, MD, ME, MO, NE, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OK*, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Addictions Professionals: AAK, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NY (outstate held), OK*, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI, WY
* OK accepts APA credit for live, in-person activities. For all ethics and/or online courses, an application is required.
MA / MFTs: Participants can self-submit courses not approved by the MAMFT board for review.
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Social Workers: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, ME, MN, MO, NE, NH, NM, OR, PA, VT, WI, WY

New York Board for Psychology (NY PSY)
Amedco is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0031. 8.25 hours (20.25 hours for both of the 2022 Trauma Series at ORI courses).

National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) 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. #P‑0019. 6.5 hours.

National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) 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 #SW-0168. 6.5 hours.

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 April 14th, 2022)
$50 regular/ $35 grad students & candidates/ $15 undergrad students.
If CEs are requested – please use the “regular” registration option. There is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid prior or on the day of the conference).

Regular registration (from April 14th – til May 14th, 2022 – before 6pm EDT)
$60 regular/ $45 grad students & candidates/ $20 undergrad students.
If CEs are requested – please use the “regular” registration option. There is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid prior or on the day of the conference).

Registration ‘at the door’ (after 6pm EDT/NYC time on May 14th, 2022)
$70 regular/ $55 grad students & candidates/ $25 undergrad students.

Please Note: If CEs are requested — there is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid on the day of the conference or in advance).
If you are requesting the CEs, please register as a licensed practitioner and pay the “regular” fee for attending this educational event.

SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for retired or disabled practitioners, or need-based or/and those who live outside of the USA.
You can request scholarship using this form

Full refund before the date of the event.
No refund from the day of the event, but full paid tuition will be applied to any further ORI events.


Thank you for your interest in this educational event!
By using this Registration form you will allow us to remind you (via email or phone) about completing your registration by making the payment.