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2019 - 2020 San Francisco Yearlong Program

Jacqueline De Lon, MFT, Chairs

Psychoanalysis and the Creative Process

The creative process can illuminate states of mind, subjectivity and qualities of relatedness that are essential to the therapeutic encounter. Psychoanalysis offers insight into forces — internal and external, conscious and unconscious — that undermine or inhibit the creative process. Psychoanalysis also promotes this process as a creative endeavor in and of itself.

While the aim of the psychotherapist is not the same as that of the artist, they do share important process elements. Subjective access to impulses, rhythms, and images requires us to develop a capacity to receptively linger with a patient’s emotional and sensorial experience in a manner similar to the artist before the canvas, the poet before the page, and the composer before the first musical note of a composition.

Engaging with music, art, and poetry offers us access on an experiential level to the unformed, preverbal, inchoate, and primitive elements of experience. Making use of the artistic realms can strengthen our connection to our own subjectivity and enrich our capacities as therapists.

This yearlong course will take up the subject of creative engagement from various theoretical and clinical perspectives. We will look at the creative minds of artists and their work, while also considering the creativity of the analyst and psychotherapist involved in connecting patients with their unique sources of creativity.

Dates: Fridays, September 13, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Time: 12:00noon - 01:30pm
Sessions: 29 Sessions
Location: San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Program Fee: For SF Yearlong Program Didactic Courses only
$ 1,125.00

For SF Yearlong Program Didactic Courses AND SF Continuous Case Conference combined
$ 1,500.00

Readers and CME/CE credit fees are not included in the tuition
A Two-Installment-Plan option  is available
See Policies tab for details
To Register: Click here to register for Didactic Courses only →

Click here to register for Didactic Courses AND Continuous Case Conference combined →

Beginning our year of thinking about creativity, we will read a range of poems in order to experience how we listen to what is and isn't spoken, how we attend to resonances that occur between writer and reader, patient and therapist.

Alice Jones, MD
Fridays, September 13, 20, 27; October 4, 2019

Through a discussion of her own work with pottery, the instructor will focus on how an artist accesses her unconscious mind while working. Parallels will be made between the artistic process and how the process in psychotherapy involves access to the therapist’s unconscious. Readings and case discussion will be used to highlight these ideas.

Susan Yamaguchi, LCSW
Fridays, October 11, 18, 25, 2019
This seminar has been awarded 4.5 CME/CE credits.

Educational Objectives:
Participants will be able to

  1. identify parallels in the creative process of the artist and that of the psychoanalyst/psychotherapist that could be particularly helpful in working with non-verbal levels of communication between patiant and therapist.
  2. identify ways in which the accessing of the analyst's unconscious are crucial to the therapeutic process.
  3. identify ways in which the artist's creative process can teach about elements of experience crucial to the psychotherapist gaining access to her or his own unconscious in the clinical endeavor.

In this course, we will consider psychological presenting problems as disorders of creativity, and we will explore analytic work itself as an aesthetic process which enables creative transformations to resume evolution in the analytic field. Using readings and clinical vignettes, we will trace the progress of conscious and unconscious creative processes as they emerge in transformations of O through alpha-function, develop further through narrative function in dream-work alpha, unfold through work and play in transitional space, and call for revision later in life when we are challenged to curate what we have created.

Lee Rather, PhD
Fridays, November 1, 8, 15, 22; December 6, 13, 2019
This seminar has been awarded 9.0 CME/CE credits.

Educational Objectives:
Participants will be able to

  1. apply Bion’s concept of ‘transformations’ to move beyond a conventional binary of ‘reality testing’ and fantasy when assessing their patients.
  2. assess the power of cultural pressures to influence the personal aesthetics of transformations when they result in a persecuting imaginary realm in superego functioning.
  3. use the metapsychology of Christopher Bollas to better understand problems of personal emptiness and lack of meaning that can lead to chronic depressive states and diminished empathy.
  4. apply Bollas’ concept of ‘celebrating the analysand’ and position it in an integrative fashion with other approaches that are concerned with countertransference pressures towards reassurance and gratification.
  5. explain and deploy Ferro’s method of listening to the specific contents and idioms of a therapy session as dream-work alpha which can be responded to by the therapist within the patient's idiom in order to build clinical rapport.
  6. compare and utilize the essential aspects of Erikson’s 8 developmental stages (as illustrated in the work of Marcel Proust) with a particular focus on issues of integrity vs despair for older patients as they assess their lives within a growing awareness of mortality.

How do we create a sense of freedom and play in our work? We look for moments that allow us to feel creative, alive and spontaneous and that are able to put play in the foreground. In this course, we will explore these spontaneous rhythms by engaging with novels and clinical issues that will elucidate some of the elements that facilitate the freedom to play. We will elaborate these ideas with the work of Winnicott and Milner.

Reyna Cowan, PsyD, LCSW
Fridays, January 10, 17, 24, 31; February 7, 14, 2020
This seminar has been awarded 9.0 CME/CE credits.

Educational Objectives:
Participants will be able to

  1. describe a working understanding of the work of D.W. Winnicott and describe how he creates a clinical and theoretical structure for understanding how a child engages with their world.
  2. discuss techniques and strategies for play therapy and how to apply these techniques to work with adults.
  3. discuss writings on child treatment to develop an understanding of working in psychotherapy with adults.
  4. describe the use countertransference in clinical work to expand a sense of play and creativity between patient and therapist.

The work of the artist and the analyst share mental attitudes that are intrinsic to their success: the ability to think metaphorically and intuitively; the capacity to oscillate between soft and sharp focus, and between context and detail; the courage to proceed in the face of ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty; and the ability to formulate and pursue a direction while remaining open to reformulation and redirection if necessary.

While artists can erase, paint out, or start over in the face of error, a therapy unfolds inexorably in time, its history not easily rewritten; its errors require repair. As psychotherapy is constituted by two interdependent subjectivities, its esthetic dimension must be subordinated to an ethic of care and recognition.

In this seminar, we will investigate the working processes of several contemporary painters—Lucian Freud (Sigmund’s grandson), Alberto Giacometti, Paula Rego, and Jenny Saville. Through the narratives of people who have sat as models for some of them, as well as through accounts of their working process by other writers, we will get a glimpse into the artists’ methods of creation and will explore both the common and distinctive mindsets of the artist and the therapist at work.

Paul Ransohoff, DMH
Fridays, February 21, 28; March 6, 13, 2020

In this seminar, we will take an in-depth look at Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, a creative utilization of the very human experience of coming to terms with intense and primitive affective states.

Papers may include Michael Parsons’ “Creativity, psychoanalytic and artistic”; Marion Milner’s, “Psychoanalysis and art”; and Kenneth Wright’s, “The search for form: A Winnicottian theory of artistic creation.” Through our reading of these papers, we will explore how we as clinicians can connect with subjective modes of experience, our own and that of our patients, and to see creative developments within the therapeutic dyad and within the patient. And, conversely, we will grapple with what can get in the way of a creative engagement between self and other, artist and artistic process, therapist and patient.

Deborah Weisinger, PsyD
Fridays, March 20, 27; April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2020
This seminar has been awarded 9.0 CME/CE credits.

Educational Objectives:
Participants will be able to

  1. discuss the development of the capacity to cope with and regulate intensive affective states from the theoretical perspective of the British Independent Tradition, including Michael Parsons and Marion Milner.
  2. apply this theoretical perspective to their clinical work with patients, including understanding the development of creative capacities within the patient and within the therapeutic dyad. Conversely, when these creative capacities to engage with self and other are disrupted, participants can apply these theoretical perspectives to the patient’s difficulties (pathology).
  3. further think about and to discuss aspects of enactment and transference/countertransference experiences related to subjective modes of experience as they arise in the clinical hour.
  4. consider what sociocultural aspects may influence the experience of the sense of creative engagement both by patients and within the therapeutic dyad.


If you have any questions about your level of preparation, please contact the San Francisco Yearlong Program Chair: Jacqueline De Lon, MFT, at 415-922-2608.

Registration Deposit

A $ 300.00 registration deposit is due upon registration. This $ 300.00 deposit is fully refundable until August 12, 2019, and the remaining balance is due in full by September 13, 2019.

Two-Installment-Plan Option

A Two-Installment-Plan option is available for this program. Tuition can be paid in two equal installments that will be processed on September 13, 2019 and January 6, 2020. SFCP must have a current/active credit card information on file to be used for the payments. To apply for the Two-Installment-Plan, one must contact the SFCP Office at 415-563-5815 to arrange for this option before September 13, 2019.

Readers Fee

Charges for reading material required for the seminars are not included in tuition. Your readers will be prepared by CopyCentral, and the readers cost are based upon copyright laws and change based on the content of the readers.  The SFCP Office will inform you when your readers are available to be purchased from CopyCentral's website.  Please note that CopyCentral may take 2 weeks to print and mail the readers to you, so we recommend you to purchase them as soon as they become available.

CME/CE Credits Fee

The credits cost per hour is $10.  SFCP has established a cap cost of $200 for credits requested per program.  The cost of CME/CE credits is separate from the tuition fee and billed individually upon the request for credits at the end of the seminar.

Refund Policy

  • There will be a full refund if one requests to drop the program on or before August 12, 2019.
  • There will be a 10% cancellation fee if one requests to drop the program on or after August 13, 2019.
  • There will be no refund of classes in progress, and SFCP will provide a pro-rated refund of tuition for classes not yet begun.

CME/CE Credits Policy and Attendance Requirement

California Medical Association LogoThe San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis is accredited by the Institute for Medical Quality/California Medical Association (IMQ/CMA) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis takes responsibility for the content, quality and scientific integrity of this CME activity.

PHYSICIANS: The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis designates this educational activity for a maximum of 4.5 to 9.0 credits as listed for each individual program, AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  This credit may also be applied to the CMA Certification in Continuing Medical Education.

LCSWs/MFTs: The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis is an entity recognized by the Board of Behavioral Sciences to provide Continuing Education Credits pursuant to Section 1887.4.3.

PSYCHOLOGISTS: Psychologists attending SFCP events approved for CME credits may report AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ toward their CE requirements. Psychologists self-certify the number of hours they have completed on their renewal form (whether online or paper).  The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

REGISTERED NURSES: The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CEP 02677) on an hour for hour basis.

Physicians, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Registered Nurses will be awarded AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ on an hour for hour basis; see the program description for the maximum of credits awarded for each program.

Psychologists participating in long-term programs (lecture series) who can demonstrate a minimum of 80% attendance for a seminar within the series, are eligible to obtain these credits by notifying the SFCP office after the seminar has ended. Seminars of 4 sessions or fewer require 100% attendance.

SFCP is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  SFCP maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

Commercial Support: None

Faculty Disclosure: All instructors and planning committee members have disclosed NO financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with commercial companies who have provided products or services, relating presentation(s) or commercial support for this continuing medical education activity.  All conflicts of interest have been resolved in accordance with the ACCME Updated Standards for Commercial Support.