Core Self Development and /or Disruption through Separation-Individuation Process:

Normal and Character Disorder Development

2nd Trimester of the One-Year and Two-Year Certificate Programs in Object Relations Clinical Theory and Technique;

2nd Trimester of the Full Training in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (can be also taken as an individual

post-graduate certificate course; no pre-requisites; with 12.5 hrs of post-graduate training certificate)

Course Instructor:  Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, D. Litt., NCPsyA (read about the instructor @ www.kavaleradler.com )

Course calendar: 1/14/16-3/24/16 (Thursdays, 8:35pm - 9:50pm EST, following the Group Supervision class held in the same office, 7:10pm - 8:25pm EST)

In-person and Virtual participation

In-person location: 115 East 9th Street, 12P; NYC, 10003. Link for virtual participation will be provided after the registration is completed. For those who live in time zones that do not allow the real time virtual participation, course can be taken by reading the materials and viewing the videos of the class, with further note taking, and submitting the notes to the instructor for review.

Tuition: $450/ 10-week course; Registration: $25/course (waived for candidates in training).

Special scholarships for undergraduate/graduate students, retired practitioners, as well as for group registration, are available. Inquire by email to Admin@ORINYC.org or at 646-522-1056.

Separation-Individuation is a primary criterion for core authentic, autonomous and related self development.  It covers a linear range in terms of Margaret Mahler’s developmental theory, derived from the first major studies in infant and child research.  The primal developmental era of separation-individuation occurs in the second year of toddler life, and travels through differentiation, the practicing period and its “love affair with the world,” and culminates with the rapprochement phase, from 18 to 36 months of life, when mother and child re-encounter each other after the developmental parting that needs to be initiated by the child in its ventures out into the world, and away from mother.  Overlapping with Freud’s anal stage, issues of control and power struggles can occur when the mother can’t let go of the child and the child rebels.  This might become a neurotic dilemma or a full neurosis.  However, there are those who don’t make it that far developmentally, and due to critical disruption of mother attunement and mother-child bonding in this era, which reaches a traumatic level (of the mother blocking the child’s autonomy or abandoning the child emotionally), and evolves into the “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” bind of the character disorders (e.g., narcissistic, borderline, and schizoid conditions).  The child is damned if he/she moves away into autonomous functioning (if a borderline mother withdraws emotional contact, connection, empathy and relatedness), and she is also damned if she moves towards mother to avoid this abandonment, and suffers all the addictions that come from returning compulsively to a regressive symbiosis with the mother who will now only be there if the child merges in with her needs and abandons its own developmental strivings.

In order to take a look at both healthy self and relationship development, as well as the tragedy of impaired development from these critical phases of separation-individuation, this course will offer readings and related discussion from seminal American object relations theorists: Margaret Mahler, James Masterson, Jeffrey Seinfeld, Althea Horner, and Susan Kavaler-Adler.  Kavaler-Adler’s longer case studies will offer a close up view of the clinical resolution of separation-individuation failings and trauma.  Shorter clinical examples, along with basic theory will be seen in the other four theorists’ writings.   Some role-playing of patients with two-year-olds, still emotionally pressuring them from the inside of them, and from their internal world will bring all discussions to the alive “in vivo” clinical moment, with the course instructor playing the role of the analyst, to demonstrate, spontaneously, the clinical technique.



WEEK #1:

The assigned readings are: three chapters from the book The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individuation, by Margaret S. Mahler, Fred Pine, and Anni Bergmann (1975):

Chapter 3: The Forerunners of the Separation-Individuation Process;

Chapter 4: The First Subphase:  Differentiation and the Development of the Body Image

Chapter 5: The Second Subphase: Practicing (total pages: pp. 41-64).

Learning Goals:

Participants will analyze how the infant evolves into linear advances in psychological functioning, along a continuum from symbiosis to the early phases of differentiation and separation-individuation.

Participants will see how they can apply the knowledge of symbiosis versus beginning separation-individuation to their practices.  They will define “practicing” in the separation-individuation subphase, which becomes a regressive mode of operation for narcissistic character disorder.


Continue the same book: 

Chapter 6: The Third Subphase: Rapprochement (pp. 76-108).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to recognize and analyze the behavior and psychodynamics of rapprochement as the critical subphase of separation-individuation.

Participants will be able to recognize and analyze the dynamics of the rapprochement subphase and its place in understanding borderline and narcissistic character disorders.


Continue the same book: 

Chapter 7: Consolidation of individuality and the Beginnings of Emotional Object Constancy (pp. 109-120);

Chapter 9: on Donna (pp. 138-152).

Learning Goals:

Participants will analyze how the self is formed, in part at least, through the internalization of relationship with the separation-individuation stage mother, which builds in self and object constancy.

Participants will identify and analyze the pathways of the ego functions development, through internalization and “low keyedness” affect that contains the psyche – a very important aspect of clinical work.


The readings are from James Masterson’s (1981) book, The Narcissistic and Borderline Disorders (total pages: 129-182):

Intro to: The Borderline Personality Disorder (129-130);

Chapter 7: A Revision and Update of Developmental Theory (pp. 131-139); 

Chapter 8: The clinical Picture: The Borderline Triad (pp. 140-144); 

Chapter 9: Therapeutic Alliance, Transference Acting-Out, Transference (p. 141-164); and

Chapter 10: Transference Acting Out and Working-through (p. 165-181).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to analyze how the developmental theory of separation-individuation informs the treatment of borderline personality (character) disorders, and will be able to offer two examples from their own practice.

Participants will be able to provide one or two examples of the different phases of resistance, transference, and work-through work with borderline character disorders, taken from readings or own life and practice.


Continue the same book by James Masterson:

Chapter 6: Narcissistic Psychopathology of the Borderline, and the False Self (pp. 98-127)

Chapter 11: The Role of Mastery of the Talionic Impulse (pp. 182-193);

Chapter 12: Termination (pp. 194-216) - elective reading; and 

Chapter 13: Reflections (pp. 219-233).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to analyze the developmental issues related to termination and other treatment concerns.  This can be applied directly to their clinical work.

Participants will be able to analyze the technique of “confrontation” and “communicative matching” as they are defined and applied to treatment by James Masterson and other object relation practitioners.


Continue the same book by James Masterson (pp. 50-97), with chapters on Narcissistic personality (character) disorder:

Chapter 3: The Clinical Picture: Case History and the Intrapsychic Structure (pp. 50 – 55);

Chapter 4:  Psychotherapy of the Narcissistic Character Disorder: Testing Phase (pp. 56-63); and

Chapter 5:  The Beginning of the Working through Phase (pp. 64-97).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to actively apply to practice the different technique of working with the Narcissistic and Borderline personality disorders.

 Participants will be able to experience and analyze how the Testing Phase of treatment differs from the Working-through phase, as Masterson has defined it.


Readings are from Althea Horner’s book, Dealing with Resistance in Psychotherapy (pp. 1-33):

Chapter 1: The Core Relationship Problem as Resistance (pp. 1-14);

Chapter 2: Constructing the Developmental Hypothesis (pp. 15-26); and

Chapter 3: Countertransference Resistance and Therapeutic Impasse (pp.27-33).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to analyze Althea Horner’s descriptions of the core relationship problem and how this leads to a developmental hypothesis to be applied to treatment.

Participants will be able to analyze how their own countertransference can be a resistance, and how in some cases can create therapeutic impasses, particularly with character disordered patients, who had arrests in the separation-individuation phases of their development.


Readings are from Susan Kavaler-Adler’s book, Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis.

Cases of developmental mourning that are offered in this book, illustrate both the progression through separation-individuation and from the paranoid-schizoid to the depressive position.

This week, The Case of June will be read and discussed (pp.  81-148): 

Chapter 6:  Finding a New Identity through the Mourning of Loss and Guilt, Primal Rage, and

Poignant Regret (pp. 81-109);

Chapter 7: A Mournful and Spiritual Journey: Spiritual and Sexual Evolution (pp. 110 to 139); and

Chapter 8: June’s Evolution in Later Years of Treatment: Transformation through Mourning in Developmental, Transference, and Life Changes (pp. 140-148).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to analyze and experience the clinical journey of the patient (June), and how the separation trauma that was resolved through developmental mourning, to facilitate such process in their own clinical work.

Participants will be able to analyze how developmental mourning allows for the evolution of the creative, erotic, and spiritual parts of the developing personality, as self integration and separation-individuation both proceed.


Continue the same book, by Susan Kavaler-Adler (pp.149-192):

Chapter 9: The Case of Phillip, Part 1: Seven Generations of Grief (pp. 149-169); and

Chapter 10: The Case of Phillip, Part 2: Spiritual Evolution (pp. 160-192).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to identify and to analyze how developmental mourning allows for a separation-individuation process that opens up spirituality, and how it travels through spiritual dimensions.

Participants will experience and analyze how grief affects, accompanied by the analysis of fantasies and dreams, allow for a full three dimensional self integration process, which overlaps with separation-individuation. 


Continue the same book, by Susan Kavaler-Adler, The Case of Laura (pp. 193-241): 

Chapter 11: The Case of Laura, Part 1: Mourning as the Poetry of Female Eroticism: homoerotic evolutions of a homosexual woman within developmental mourning (pp. 193-21); and

Chapter 12: The Case of Laura, Part 2: Strands and Cycles of Mourning and Unrequited Love (pp.220-241).

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to analyze the experience of developmental mourning in the case where homoerotic transference is prominent in this process, showing a separation-individuation process in which a bisexual woman finds her feminine side, and becomes self integrated, creative, spiritual, and erotic in a more differentiated way.

Participants will be able to analyze how a protosymbolic to symbolic evolution took place through the working with transference and mourning within a developmental journey. Regression from symbolic functioning to the presymbolic in transference regression will be seen to resolve into increasing capacities for symbolization, and thus for creativity, spirituality and love.  Reaching the core vulnerable child self is illustrated in transference work.


To register: E-mail: admin@orinyc.org  or Fax your request @ (718) 785-3270;  Call 646-522-1056 (ORI administrator).

Please, send your registration forms and payment (checks and money orders only) to: ORI Administrator; 75-15 187 Street; Fresh Meadows, NY, 11366-1725.

Cash is only accepted at the door. Credit cards / PayPal payments are accepted - by phone, email, or in person.

   http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/   Visit ORI's YouTube Channel, ObjectRelations2009, to view the highlights of our Annual Conferences:

       Thumbnail  2013 Conference - on Countertransference, Regret, Aggression, and Their Vicissitudes

         Self-Sabotage - from Jungian, Kleinian, and Fairbairnian Perspectives  2012 Conference on Self-Sabotage: Jungian, Kleinian,  and Fairbairnian Perspectives.  

  2011 Annual 20th Anniversary Conference on Dialectics of Mortality and Immortality: Time as a Persecutory vs. a Holding Object

2010 Annual Conference on Psychoanalysis & Spirituality

2009 Annual Conference on Eroticized Demonic Object

Visit ORI's YouTube Channel, ObjectRelations2009, to view NEW mini-video series "The Object Relations View"

Intro to the Object Relations Thinking and Clinical Technique - with Dr. Kavaler-Adler (part 1).

Projective Identification (part 2)

Time as an Object (part 3)

Self Sabotage - (part 4)

        Fear of Success (part 5)

        Mourning, Developmental vs. Pathological  (part 6)

        Bad Objects and Loyalty to Bad Objects (part 7)

        Demon-lover Complex  (part 8)

        Psychic Regret (part 9)

        Klein-Winnicott Dialectic  (part 10)

        Depression: The Object Relations View (part 11)

        Anxiety: The Object Relations View (part 12)

        Eating Disorders: The Object Relations View (part 13)

        Narcissism: The Object Relations View (part 14)

        Female Creativity and the Internal Father (part 15)

        Psychic Dialectic: The Object Relations View (part 16)

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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.

Please note - NEW - Mail correspondence to: ORI Administrator, 75-15 187 Street, Fresh Meadows, NY, 11366-1725
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