The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study are partnering for the sixth year to present a two-day guest lecture seminar, September 19-20, 2014. Professor of Counseling Psychology Dr. Roy Barsness is coordinating this fall’s event, featuring guest lecturer Dr. Lewis Aron.
Dr. Aron is the Director of the New York University postdoctoral program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and was the founding president of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP). He formerly served as President of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association and is also co-author of A Psychotherapy for the People: Toward a Progressive Psychoanalysis (Routledge), a book inspired by the radical and humanistic origins of psychoanalysis.
During his Friday evening lecture, which is open to the public, Dr. Aron will present a cultural history, tracing the ways in which psychoanalysis has often associated itself with the dominant and oppressive biases of Western culture since the 1800s. Meanwhile, he notes, the field of psychotherapy has been derided by psychoanalysts as associating with more inferior, specifically feminine, themes.
Dr. Aron will engage the clinical implications of “mutual vulnerability” between the client and practitioner, emphasizing the practitioner’s inability to remain an unbiased, unaffected observer. Considering the clinical interaction, as well as the profession and discipline as a whole, Dr. Aron calls for psychoanalysis to lose itself from the biases of dominant culture. Instead, he proposes a psychoanalysis that relates more closely to psychotherapy, and embraces femininity and other attributes that have been falsely labeled as “inferior” or “weak.”
The Seattle School is committed to open dialogues about the strengths, weaknesses, and biases inherent in the disciplines of theology and psychology. Dr. Aron’s work, both fundamentally critical of and yet professing deep commitment to the discipline of psychoanalysis, is the type of critical dialogue that the The Forum at The Seattle School exists to provide. Dr. Jessica Benjamin, a colleague and a fellow pioneer in Relational Psychoanalysis, says of Dr. Aron’s influence, “I cannot imagine anyone seriously interested in psychoanalysis today, whether adherent or critic of the relational position who will not be challenged and enlightened by [Dr. Aron].”
Saturday’s workshop provides in-depth teaching and discussion with the lecturer through a series of case studies building on the previous night’s lecture. Dr. Aron will also be discussing the clinical implications of Wilfred Bion’s legacy and Donnell Sterns’ field theory in relation to modern day Relational Psychoanalysis.