Presentation at the 39th Annual IAPSP International Conference, Boston, Oct. 23/16

On Sunday, October 23 I will be giving a presentation at the 39th Annual IAPSP (International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology)  International Conference: “Critical Clinical Moments in the Treatment Process”. The conference will take place at the Omni Parker House in Boston, from Thurs. October 20th – Sun. October 23rd, 2016.


I will present a paper entitled “Relational Annihilation: Patient and Psychotherapist Meeting Each Other in Shared Intergenerational Transmission of Genocidal Trauma”. This paper describes the ways in which sharing the same (historical-personal) trauma legacy was helpful in creating a unique sense of intersubjective attunement and “mutual fittedness” in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a son of Holocaust survivor parents.

The presentation will demonstrate the “telescoping” of parental trauma through unconscious processes, manifested in dissociated identifications and split-off self-states in the children of trauma survivors, both patient and therapist. The presentation will discuss how disavowed self-states associated with vulnerability, shame and voicelessness were enacted and came into focus at significant moments in the psychotherapeutic encounter.

This presentation will aim to highlight critical moments in the therapy, in which personal co-constructions of trauma-associated relational pattern in patient and in therapist were powerfully activated and intersected. The presentation will discuss how such co-created interactions around issues of annihilation of the self and/or the other lead to changes in both patient and therapist.

        Irit Felsen

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