The Use of the Self in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Contemporary Perspective

This workshop will focus on the various ways in which contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapists use aspects of their own personalities to facilitate change in their patients. In contrast to traditional relational thinkers, the instructors will stress the importance of considering the mental organization of the patient in formulating treatment strategies. The need to help the patient modify the ways in which his or her mind works rather than just internalizing the therapist’s ways of thinking and functioning will be emphasized. The instructors will demonstrate how the latest developmental findings offer theoretical constructs and ways to understand the interplay of minds in the office that have direct implications for therapeutic action. Techniques such as self disclosure, transference-countertransference enactment, and action communication on the therapist’s part will be shown to be easily integrated with traditional emphases on interpretation. Using such techniques can help certain patients transform their concrete mental organizations to verbal, symbolic ones. Clinical examples from both the instructors’ practices as well as examples offered by attendees will be used to clarify these ideas.


Saturday, February 20, 2010 - 9:00am to 12:00pm
8:30 AM - Light Breakfast



4455 Morena Boulevard, Suite 202
San Diego, CA 92117
United States
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$35 for SDPC Members
$50 for Non-members
$20 for Students

Educational Objective(s)

  • Explain the importance of helping a patient learn to reflect on his or her own mind in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
  • Develop differential ways of using oneself as a psychotherapist to promote such self-reflection.
  • Describe the difference between promoting internalization of the therapist's mind and promoting change via self-reflection.

Presenter Information

Tara Robbins, Ph.D. is a member of the SDPC Psychotherapy faculty and maintains a psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice, treating children, adolescents, and adults in La Jolla.

Alan Sugarman, Ph.D. is a training and supervising child, adolescent, and adult psychoanalyst at SDPC, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD. He, too, practices in La Jolla.