East Bay Yearlong Extension Program

East Bay Yearlong Extension Program

by David Socholitzky, Ph.D., Chair


At the beginning of Louis Malle's film, "Vanya on 42nd Street", a group of actors enter a vacant theater carrying cups of coffee. Two of them sit down at a table and begin to chat about the vicissitudes of their daily lives. A few moments later, before we have fully noticed any shift in tone or content, we suddenly realize that the conversation has seamlessly turned into the first scene of the play.

Meetings of our East Bay Yearlong Committee (Diana Fuery, Sunny Kuegle, Mike Levin, Susan Yamaguchi and I) are much like this. We come together over brunch each Fall; catch up with one another; joke; talk about notable films, music, books, papers, presentations. At some point in the conversation we notice that we’ve been tossing out possible program ideas, and by the end of the meal a few potential topics for the following year's program have been generated.

The theme of our current program is "Therapeutic Action, Psychic Change and Barriers To Change." Courses over the year will be developing a number of approaches to these issues, focusing on barriers to change from within patient and therapist as well as within the dyad. We examine some specific conceptualizations of obstacles to therapeutic action: Those that can be attributed to particular problems of the therapist--narcissistic anxieties or the defensive use of theory; the impact of unresolved mourning upon both participants; concepts of psychic retreat and pathological organization and the difficulties inherent in work with primitive fantasies and emotions. We also look at some precursors of the capacity for inter subjective relating in infant-caretaker interaction.

Instructors this year are Sue von Baeyer, Margot Beattie, Mitch Wilson, Georgine Marrot t and Jeanne Harasemovitch. Susan Yamaguchi and I also offer a nine-week Case Conference.

We've made one structural change in the program this year based upon suggestions from last year's group, who asked that we reduce the class size in order to encourage the development of a coherent work group over the course of the year. Reports from faculty and attendees so far suggest that this change has done what we had hoped it would.

The Committee would like to thank all of the current and past instructors who have responded so generously to our requests for participation. The care and effort each of you has given the program is the reason it has been a successful one for so many years.

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