Primary Process from Freud through Object Relations and Beyond

Course Instructor: Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NCPsyA
Date: April 4 – June 13, 2024
Thursdays, 8:40pm – 9:55pm ESD/EDT
Location: Virtual Participation Only

Continuing Education Information: 14.5 CE
Tuition: $450/course (can be paid in 2 installments).
Scholarships, full and partial, are available – please fill out the scholarship form below.
Registration fee: $25/course (waived for ORI’s candidates in training)

To Register for this course, please complete the Registration form


“Whatever its origin, the regression toward primary-process thinking is still the most important single structural indicator of borderline personality organization.” Kernberg, O. (1967). Borderline personality organization. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15, 641-685.

“While we catch fleeting glimpses of life in the claustrum from neurotic and normal patients, it is in work with borderline and psychotic states that the interior world is laid out for our inspection at leisure.” Meltzer, D. (1990). Chapter 5. Life in the Claustrum. The Claustrum: An Investigation of Claustrophobic Phenomena, 144, 69-95.

Far beyond the limitations of a specific idea like the claustrum, a diagnostic term like borderline, or even the primary process itself. We privilege the borderline and psychotic organization because we can observe at leisure those primitive operations we can only glimpse in neurotic or patients outside a formal diagnosis. To use such leisurely inspection in the service of our own education and our patient’s well-being, we need to formulate a concept of what it is we encounter in our observations and how to formulate interventions to meet our patients where they are.

This course will open with close readings of Freud’s concepts of primary process. Readings will include passages from The Interpretation of Dreams and various metatheory papers. The course will then look at papers from authors whose work includes a focus on the primary process in its creative, protective, and destructive functions. Such authors include Wilfred Bion, D.W. Winnicott, Donald Meltzer, Andre Green, Michael Eigen, James Grotstein, Julia Kristeva, and D.W. Winnicott.


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

  • Discuss the function of Primary Process in Freud’s First Topography
  • Discuss the concept of Primary Process in Freud’s Second Topography
  • Analyze the role of Primary Process in creating Images
  • Discuss the role of damaged Primary Process in clinical practice
  • Compare Primary and Secondary Processes
  • Compare Primary Process Thinking with Insightful Thinking
  • Utilize Clinical Interventions with Primary Process in session.
  • Compare Bion’s concept of alpha-function with Freud’s Primary and Secondary Processes
  • Discuss the atemporality of the primary process.
  • Utilize the concept of the atemporal primary process in formulating clinical interventions.



Class 1 & 2
Primary Process: An on-ramp towards Freud’s Royal Road and a leisurely inspection of the Unconscious.
We will be examining materials from:
– Ferenczi, S. (1927). The Problem of Acceptance of Unpleasant Ideas and Advances in Knowledge of the Sense of Reality; from Further contributions to the theory and technique of psycho-analysis (pp. 366-379).
– Ferenczi, S. Introjection and Transference. In First Contributions to Psycho-analysis.
– Freud, S. (1990). Chapters from The Interpretation of Dreams. CH 6: The Dream Work.
A          The work of Condensation
B          The work of Displacement
C          The means of Representations in Dreams
D          Consideration of Representability
H         Affects in Dreams
I           Secondary Revision
– Freud, S. (1990). Chapters from The Interpretation of Dreams. CH 7: The Psychology of Dream Process.
A          The Forgetting of Dreams
B          Regression
C          Wish Fulfillment
D          Arousal in Dreams
E          The Primary and Secondary Processes
F          The Unconscious and Consciousness-Reality

Class 3
Freud’s Metapsychological Thoughts on the Primary Process
Readings for this class:
– Freud, S. (1911). Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (SE), 12, 213-226.
– Freud, S. (1915). The unconscious. SE, 14, 159-215.
– Freud, S. (1912). A note on the unconscious in psycho-analysis. SE, 12, 255-266.
– Freud, S. (1923). The Ego and the Id. SE 19, 1-66.

Class 4
Affect in Psychoanalysis, Affect in Dreams
Readings for this class: same as Classes 1, 2, & 3.

Class 5
Primary Process, Primal Repression, Secondary Process Secondary Repression
Readings for this class:
– Kristeva, J., Roudiez, L.S. (trans.) (1982). Powers of horror – An essay on abjection. Ch3: From Filth to Defilement. Columbia University Press.
– Kristeva, J., Roudiez, L.S. (trans.) (2024/1987). Black sun – Depression and melancholia. Ch2: Life and Death of Speech. Columbia University Press.
– Freud, S. (1915). Repression.
– Freud, S. (1913/1950). Totem and taboo.
– Freud, S. (1922). On The universal tendency towards debasement.
– Freud, S. (1927). Fetishism.
– Freud, S. (1957). Introduction to papers on metapsychology.

Class 6
Summary of part 1, Analysis of the two topographical models.

Readings for this class:
Green, A.  Chapter 5 – Affect and the Two Topographical Models, in The fabric of affect in the psychoanalytic discourse.


Class 7
Extending and Revising Freud’s Thoughts on Primary Process, Theory and Practice

Readings for this class:
Lewin, B.D. (1954). Sleep, narcissistic neurosis, and the analytic situation. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23(4), 487-510.
Marty, P. & de M.Uzan, M. (1963). Operational thinking (Chapter 22). In Reading French psychoanalysis (pp. 449-458).
Noy, P. (1969). A revision of the psychoanalytic theory of the primary process. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 50(2), 155–178.
Fosshage, J. (1983). The psychological function of dreams: A revised psychoanalytic perspective. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 6(4), 641-669.

Classes 8-9
Primary Process, alpha function in Damaged Dreaming & in the Absence of Dreaming
Summary of Part 2
Readings for this class:
Klein, M. (1991). The emotional life and ego-development of the infant with special reference to the depressive position.
Meltzer, D. (1981). The Kleinian expansion of Freud’s metapsychology. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 62, 177-185.
Bion W. (1961). Learning from experience. Karnac.
Civitarese, G. (2014). The inability to dream in They and Dark City. In The necessary dream: New theories and techniques of interpretation.
Eigen, M. (2001). Damaged bonds. Routledge. CH 3: Damaged Dreamwork. CH4: The Undreamable.
Eigen, M. (2004). Psychic deadness. Routledge. CH 12: Primary Process and Shock.
Ogden, T. H. (2009). Chapter 4: On Talking-as-Dreaming. Rediscovering Psychoanalysis: Thinking and Dreaming, Learning and Forgetting, 63, 14-30.
Grotstein, J. S. (2007). A beam of intense darkness – Wilfred Bion’s legacy to psychoanalysis. Karnac. Excerpts.


Class 10
Primary Process, Creativity and Symbolization and Course Summary
Readings for this class:
Deri, S. K. (1984). Symbolization and creativity. International University Press. Selected pages, including CH 8: Winnicott’s Creativity.
Freud, S. (1911). Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning. [Freud on creative artists.]

– Eigen, M. (1993). Freud: Wish and history. In The Psychotic Core.
– Eigen, M. (2004). Primary process and shock (CH 12). In Psychic Deadness.
– Green, A. (1999). Chapter 5: Affect and the Two Topographical Models. The Fabric of Affect in the Psychoanalytic Discourse 37, 157-203.
– Grotstein, J. (2007). A beam of intense darkness. Selected chapters.
– Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The theory of the parent-infant relationship. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 41, 585-595.


Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NPsyA – is a Graduate of NPAP. She is a member, supervisor, training analyst, and on the faculty of NPAP, IEA and ORI. Stefanie Teitelbaum serves on the advisory board of the Psychoanlaytic Review. She has been practicing psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in New York City since 1993. She is also a former staff psychotherapist at the Lower Eastside Service Drug-Free Outpatient Program. Her psychoanalytic papers have been published in The Psychoanalytic Review, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis and Otherwise – The On-Line journal of IFPE.


Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis
2024 Spring/Summer Training at ORI
April 4, 2024 – June 22, 2024
Live Online

Joint 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. Amedco Joint Accreditation #4008163.

Psychologists (APA) Credit Designation

This course is co-sponsored by Amedco and Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis.  Amedco is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Amedco maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  23.0 hours.

The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Counselors: AK, 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, WI, WY

MI: No CE requirements.
*OK: Accepts APA credit for live, in-person activities but not for ethics and/or online courses.
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for MFTs:
AL MFTs: Credits authorized by NBCC or any other state licensing agency will be accepted.

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 Addictions Professionals: AK, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NY (held outside NY ONLY), OK*, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI, WY
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Social Workers:

New York Board for Social Workers (NY SW)
Amedco SW CPE 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 #0115. 23.0 hours

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. 23.0 hours

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. 5.5 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. 5.5 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.


Tuition: $450/10-week course/trimester (can be paid in 2 installments)
Registration fee: $25/course (waived for ORI’s candidates in training)

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.
To apply for your scholarship, please go to the registration form below.

Full refund until the 1st session.
75% refund before the 2nd session.
50% refund before the 3rd session.
No refund from the day of the third session, but 50% of the full paid tuition will be applied to any further ORI events.