Neo-Kleinian Thought and Developmental Mourning Theory

10-week certificate course with Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NPsyA, D.Litt

When: 4/03/14-6/05/14 (10-weeks; Thursdays, 8:15pm -9:30pm)

Where: VIRTUAL or IN-PERSON participation (- 115 East 9th Street, 12P, NYC, 10003)

This course will focus on the critical developmental process, which becomes the essence of clinical work: that of “developmental mourning” (Kavaler-Adler,  In depth clinical cases will be read and discussed, each of which illustrates a unique journey, at the core affect and potential self level.  The voice of the analysand is heard in each case study in vivid subjective and evolving evocative terms, as well as the voice of the analysand in dialogue with the psychoanalyst.

Vivid transformations in each person’s life will be seen throughout these studies, which are related to two main books:  Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Kavaler-Adler, 2003, Routledge, NAAP Gradiva Award 2004), and The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies (Kavaler-Adler, 2013, Karnac)Life changes include commitment to marriages and to new modes of creative and self expressive work.  The developmental mourning process is seen to evolve a creative self, a spiritual self, and an erotic self, which all become expressed through a core integrated self structure, as mourning proceeds.  The demon-lover complex is seen as a pathological mourning state out of which the developmentally blocked and/or traumatized patient evolves.

The later part of the course will focus on papers by two British Neo Kleinians, who are extremely well known for their work with very difficult character pathology:  Hanna Segal and Betty Joseph.  Their papers on “The Symbolic Equation” and “Psychic Pain” illustrate how the psyche gets arrested in character pathology, and how the pain can be endured and faced, so that symbolic functioning can evolve and can allow for the development of relatedness and the contact and connection with newly internalized others that can support creativity, along with relatedness.  Dealing with profound resistances to self-integration and separation-individuation will be discussed.

Course Syllabus:

The book for the first 5 classes: Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2003; 2004 Gradiva Award from NAAP) – by Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler

1st week’s reading:   “Case of June; part 1.”

2nd week’s reading: “Case of June; part 2 and 3.”

3rd week’s Reading:  “Case of Phillip; Part 1.”

4th week’s Reading: 1) “Case of Phillip; Part 2” and 2) chapter on Oscar in another Kavaler-Adler book, The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies (Karnac, 2013)

5th week’s reading: Case of Jane, the artist, “The Divine, the Deviant, and the Diabolical,” in Kavaler-Adler’s Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change…

The next three week’s readings are in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s book:   The Anatomy of Regret…:

6th week’s reading:  “Case of Anastasia, Part One:  Mourning Regret and Failures in Mothering.”

7th week’s reading:  “Case of Anastasia, Part Two: Negative Transference and Regret.”

8th week’s reading:  “Case of Alicia: “From Crime to Regret.”

9th week’s reading: “Towards the Experiencing of Psychic Pain” – by Betty Joseph (from Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change: Selected Papers of Betty Joseph; Routledge, 1989).

10th week’s reading:   “The Symbolic Equation” by Hanna Segal.

To register, follow the link HERE.

For more information, call the administrator at 646-522-1056 or write to

For a taste of the topic, please watch this short educational video: