2nd Trimester of Year 2 of the Two-Year Certificate Program in Object Relations Clinical theory and Technique; and 2nd Trimester of Year Three of the Full Training in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. This course can be taken also as a separate certificate course, with or without the Group Supervision class. It earns 12.5 hrs of post-graduate training certificate.

Course calendar:

1/12/17 - 3/16/17; Thursdays, 8:35 - 9:50pm


Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NPsyA, D.Litt


115 East 9th Street, 12P; NYC, 10003 - or Virtual participation


$450/ 10-week course


This course will offer readings, lectures, and discussions of all the psychodynamic mental operations and psychic phenomenology related to the whole human continuum of schizoid phenomena, including schizoid personality disorder.  The course instructor, Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler , is an object relations psychoanalytic theorist who has published cases on well known schizoid artists and writers (Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte), as well as on patients with schizoid phenomena in clinical treatment.

With readings by the classic British object relations theorists Ronald Fairbairn and Harry Guntrip, as well by more current American theorists, such as Jeffrey Seinfeld, James Masterson, Thomas Ogden, and Susan Kavaler-Adler, this course offers various fundamental and critical perspectives to open up the clinician’s consciousness to the traps, impasses, and developmental arrests related to treating people with schizoid personality disorder and those with more moderate schizoid dynamics.  This course will also help open the clinician’s consciousness to the slow and gradual psychic change and psychic integration process that takes place at a profoundly primal core-self level.

Within this course, we will look at the “need/fear dilemma” of the schizoid, and at the “in and out solution,” as well as at the “schizoid compromise” and the desperate need for contact and connection in the sealed-off person. This person usually lives through intellectual permutations of internal world self and other object constellations, and through related fantasy and dream imagery, while simultaneously feeling suffocated and empty. A schizoid person desperately craves the connection with others and the outside world, but  he/ she is frightened about devouring and destroying the other with his/her own "vacuum cleaner" "sucking" needs. 

We will look also at the attempt of a schizoid to live life vicariously through vivid and sophisticated psychic fantasy, as can be seen in the literature; e.g., in writings of Henry James and Emily Dickinson.  We will look at an arrested psychic structure of a schizoid personality that cannot psychically digest the others. This results in attempts to "swallow" others whole, as in a form of psychic anorexia and psychic bulimia, when psychic internalization is not possible. Then, psychic incorporation and “living through identifications” is the fate of an affectively isolated and often literally withdrawn individual, who looks at others in the world as if peering through a window, always on the outside, looking in at the others, who seem so alive, involved, and connected. 

Creating oneself and others through stories in one’s mind (based on preverbal mother and self primal incorporations) becomes a world of illusions that is often mistaken for reality in the schizoid personality. When living in the world is aborted, one can live a “living death” in “alabaster chambers” as Emily Dickinson did at her most withdrawn and regressed times, and yet create some of the world’s most profound literature and poetry. 

Course Syllabus:

Class #1


Fairbairn, R. W. D. (1952). Schizoid factors in the personality. In R. W. D. Fairbairn, Psycho-analytic studies of the personality (pp. 3-27). London: Routledge. (Original work published 1940)

        Learning Goals:


Participants of this class will be able to:  a) Analyze how the schizoid personality was formulated in the classical text by R. Fairbairn, and to describe schizoid phenomena in participant’s current practice.  b) Analyze how the manifest behavior of detachment in a schizoid person reflects an internal state of primal maternal deprivation, seen in patients in current practice.

Class #2


Fairbairn, R. W. D. (1952).The repression and the return of bad objects. In R. W. D. Fairbairn, Psycho-analytic studies of the personality (pp. 59-81). London: Routledge. (Original work published 1943)
Kavaler-Adler, S. (2004). Anatomy of regret: A developmental view of the depressive position and a critical turn toward love and creativity in the transforming schizoid personality. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 64(1), pp. 39-76.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Contrast how the repression and return of bad objects can be clinically appreciated as the internal world phenomena in the schizoid patient, as opposed to working with a borderline patient, who continually externalizes this phenomenon. b) Analyze how the schizoid patient in the clinical article emerges from a state of detachment, into relatedness, and the stages of rage and grief affect that play a developmental role.

Class #3


Fairbairn, R. W. D. (1952). Endopsychic structure considered in terms of object-relationships. In R. W. D. Fairbairn, Psycho-analytic studies of the personality (pp. 82-132). London: Routledge. (Original work published 1944)

This class will include a current clinical case discussion. The case will illustrate how the split-off ego structures of “libidinal ego and antilibidinal ego” of the endopsychic (internal world) are experienced by the patient, and how they play an important part in the clinical dialogue.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Contrast the enactment of the libidinal and antilibidinal ego psychic structures in the schizoid patient and the borderline patient. b) Analyze how these split-off parts of the self are re-owned and integrated into the central ego or central self, rather than persisting to create an empty core vacuum.

Class #4


Guntrip, H. (1969). The schizoid personality and the external world. In H. Guntrip, Schizoid phenomena object-relations and the self (pp. 17-48).  New York: International Universities Press.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze the schizoid character in terms of vivid clinical examples that highlight Ronald Fairbairn’s original theory on the schizoid character. b) Contrast Guntrip’s “regressed ego,” which has an emphasis on withdrawal from the world as a core phenomenon (not just a manifest symptom) – with Fairbairn’s endopsychic structure, which emphasizes holding on to the bad primal object in the internal world.  c) Analyze whether there be two dissociated ego parts, as Guntrip proposes: one clinging to the bad object in the internal world, and one withdrawing from any object, in hopes of rebirth into another mother’s (and analyst’s) womb.

        Class #5


Masterson, J. (2000). The personality disorders: A new look at the developmental self and object relations approach. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker and Co., Inc. Read sections on “The Schizoid Disorder”; “Differential diagnosis—Between Personality Disorders”, and “Differential Diagnosis, Defensive Focus” – pp. 72 to 138.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze the updated psychic structure of the schizoid personality (utilizing J. Masterson’s readings). b) Contrast the schizoid psychic structure with both the borderline psychic structure and the narcissistic personality structure.

Class #6


Seinfeld, J. (1991). Empty core: An object relations approach to psychotherapy of the schizoid personality. Newvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

Read sections on: Direct Interpretation of Schizoid Obsession (pp. 53-73) and Confrontation of the Schizoid Patient (pp. 143-173).

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze how to understand the schizoid obsession in relation to the schizoid “empty core” – lack of self. b) Contrast Seinfeld’s techniques of interpretation vs. confrontation with the schizoid patient.

Class #7


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2013).The compulsion to create: Women writers and their demon lovers. New York: ORI Academic Press. Originally published by Routledge (London, 1993, re-published by Other Press (New York), 2000. Read Chapter 11: Emily Dickinson: Muse and Demon.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze the schizoid personality in the most celebrated American poet, Emily Dickinson, looking at the muse/demon god as the antilibidinal ego, and at the child self as the libidinal ego. b) Analyze how the muse turns into a demon (“The metallic god who drills his welcome in”), repeating the primal trauma of the preoedipal psychic arrest related to a schizoid mother.

Class #8


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2013).The compulsion to create: Women writers and the demon lovers. New York: ORI Academic Press. Originally published by Routledge (London), 1993, re-published by Other Press (New York), 2000.   Read  Chapter 12: Emily Dickinson’s Breakdown: Renunciation and Reparation.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze Emily Dickinson’s schizoid character experience during a breakdown period, when she could describe the schizoid splits in her own psyche. b) Analyze the poet’s breakdown and her detached look at the potential subjective experience.

Class #9

This class is experiential, and includes: a) Instructor’s case presentation. b) Role-play representing clinical work with a schizoid patient.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze how the instructor intervenes with the despair of a schizoid patient, by helping the patient experience the internal world enactment of primal trauma, on a feeling level. b) Analyze how the student who plays the schizoid patient is manifesting the behavior of a schizoid personality.

Class #10


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2013). The anatomy of regret: From death instinct to reparation and symbolization in vivid case studies. London: Karnac. Read Case of Sharon.

Learning Goals:

Participants of this class will be able to: a) Analyze the owning of aggression in the schizoid character (in Case of Sharon), as she faces a profound regret, as a result of developmental mourning process, which allowed patient’s transition into the depressive position. b) Utilize interpretation of patient’s dreams and contrast patient’s owning of aggression (and the development of subjectivity) – with the schizoid emptiness and split-off hunger and aggression.

For Registration Form, click HERE.

For more information, please contact ORI administrator Dr. Inna Rozentsvit at admin@orinyc.org or call 646-522-1056.

Contributions of Ronald Fairbairn:

Ronald Fairbairn was the first psychoanalytic theorist to explicitly proclaim that from the beginning of our lives, we strive to connect with another human being, and that this striving is primal and fundamental for being a human. In contrast to any thinking about narcissism as a primary rather than a secondary phenomenon, Fairbairn was the first of the British object relations theorists to declare that the need for connection is the most basic human need, and that all psychopathology stems from early attachments to “bad” objects (primary caregivers); “bad” in terms of disruptions of and failing to support developmental growth of the human psyche.  Addiction to those “bad” objects, who abandon, abusively intrude, or attack, or those who detach from the child’s most fundamental emotional needs, becomes the cause of internal and external world repetitions of failed parenting. Loyalty to the sabotaging internal object, derived from the primal caregivers, results in perpetual self sabotage, unless successful object relations psychotherapy intervenes. 

Only the contact and connection with another human being in psychological treatment can heal the early trauma and its addictions, which repeat that trauma throughout life.  By understanding that the full pathological characters are compulsively "swallowed whole" by innocent children, who are by their very nature hungering for relationships and identifications with their parents, Fairbairn was particularly able to pin point the core causation of any character disorders that stem from trauma in the first three years of life.

He also was then able to understand that children will inevitably blame themselves for the problems of their parents, as they are totally dependent on parents, while full but dissociated parts of the parents oppose and attack their most powerful emotional and psychological needs.  No child can survive with consciousness that the early mother, and the later parents (who they are bound to by absolute dependence) are inadequate, incapable, or even seriously dangerous to their well-being.  Instead, children will turn the blame against themselves to protect the image of the parents, and to create the illusion that they are safe, when the truth would devastate them to the point of psychic self-annihilation. 

Fairbairn understood this, and spoke of the moral defense in the language of the church, as he had once studied to become a minister.  He wrote in his famous 1952 “Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality” that “…it is better to be a sinner in a world ruled by God than to live in a world ruled by the Devil.” 

Here, Fairbairn conveyed to the world that a helpless child must idealize a parent, no matter how pathological that parent is, in order to preserve a fragile sanctity based on a belief that the world is safe enough.  The child would rather be "bad," and make up reasons to attribute badness to herself or himself, than to have to face the intolerable truth that the parent is bad in the sense of being actually dangerous or seriously inadequate.  This kind of thinking overlaps with Ferenczi’s view of trauma in children, and with Michael Balint’s view of “the basic fault,” and with many others, including D. W. Winnicott, who looked at trauma disrupting early human development. 

Fairbairn also overlaps with Melanie Klein in seeing that each person carries inside an internal world of fantasy object relations, however for Fairbairn the internal object relationships are vividly created through the internalization of the actual maladies in the child’s parents, and in how the parent ignores, abandons, or abuses this child in reality.  The internalization of malignant or poor attachments then plays a major role in determining the personality of the growing child.  As Freud said in Mourning and Melancholia (1917), “the shadow of the object [i.e., a parent] fell upon the ego” of the growing child. 

Fairbairn saw an infant as a person who has wholeness within itself in the beginning, with human motivation having both energy and structure, his “libidinal ego.”   It is only due to the weakness and failures of all parenting, and particularly of parenting by parents with character pathology, that a whole being with energy and structure gets split up and divided apart, with one ("bad") part attacking or inhibiting the healthy strivings towards connection with others in the external world.     

For Course Syllabus, click HERE

For more information about Ronald Fairbairn, follow the LINK HERE.

          http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/  Visit ORI's YouTube Channel, ObjectRelations2009, to view the mini-video series "The Object Relations View"

  Join Us on FACEBOOK

  Support Our Cause on FACEBOOK: Support Mental Health Education!

To pay for the courses, please use PayPal.Me/ORINYC for PayPal payments for credit card payments:

Or, please send the checks or money orders to the address below.

Please note - Mail correspondence to: ORI Administrator, 75-15 187 Street, Fresh Meadows, NY, 11366-1725
Tel: 646.522.0387 and 646-522-1056   Fax: 718.785.3270  Email: admin@ORINYC.org and adminorinyc@gmail.com
Inquiries about psychotherapy and psychoanalysis training: DrKavalerAdler@gmail.com and /or dr.innarozentsvit@orinyc.org

Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (Training Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit educational organization. EIN # 133697333. Your donations are tax-deductible, while they help tremendously to keep down the costs of our training and to continue to offer free educational activities and events. To contribute, please use PayPal.Me/ORINYC for PayPal payments for credit card payments:

Support ORI Academic Press by using this link for purchases on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/13-3697333

Disclaimer: This site and its services, including the contents of this site are for informational purposes only. It does not
provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment.   

Copyright © 2000 Object Relations Institute, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Website created by MindMendMedia (last updated on 09/09/2017).