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Avedis Panajian: The Therapist’s Denial of the Destructive Sides of Their Personality

We are honored to partner with the Center for Object Relations to welcome back psychoanalyst Avedis Panajian, Ph.D ABPP, for another memorable exploration of the deeply human endeavor that is psychoanalysis. In this year’s visit, Dr. Panajian will explore early developmental issues that contribute to the therapist’s distorted views of herself and her patients.

Dr. O’Donnell Day, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and Internship Director at The Seattle School, helps organize and host the event every year. “Dr. Panajian had a deep influence on me, especially in the area of listening to myself as I listen to my patient,” says Dr. Day. “He is someone who continues to work with himself as he works with severe psychopathology. For students and clinicians alike, exposure to the complexity of Dr. Panajian’s work is useful and accessible, which I appreciate about him.”

The Therapist’s Denial of the Destructive Sides of Their Personality

Friday, October 20, 6:30-9:00pm

Dr. Panajian will begin by speaking to the psychotic aspects of psychotherapists and patients and exploring the ways these powerful but often neglected forces undermine therapists’ work with their patients. He will address the role training, therapy, supervision, and unhealthy lifestyle adaptations play in this neglect and how these problems can be counteracted.

Deepening his exploration of psychotic aspects of the personality, Dr. Panajian will share how trauma becomes a source of psychopathology during infancy and how major defenses are formed in its wake. He will distinguish between defenses and psychopathological organizations leading to psychotic withdrawal, sensory withdrawal, sadomasochism, and delusion. Dr. Panajian will draw on his extensive clinical experience to give these theoretical explorations an immediate and clinically-oriented context.

Saturday, October 21, 8:30am-1:00pm

Continuing the previous evening’s explorations of psychotic phenomena, Dr. Panajian will lecture on the distinction between the repressed and unrepressed unconscious processes that shape the world of the psychotic mind. Applying this distinction to clinical work, Dr. Panajian will discuss the importance of a psychotherapist’s capacity to help a patient work through the various forms of resistance they may have to recognizing and tolerating their own psychotic experience, and the myriad ways in which therapists and patients avoid a tolerant recognition of this reality. Dr. Panajian will conclude his lecture with an exploration of the challenges that a psychotherapist faces when they are afraid of being receptive to the inchoate potentials for meaning that inhere to psychotic experiences, and severely doubts their own ability to tolerate and even enjoy the mystery and immediacy of working with psychotic material.


Registration includes CEUs and posted rates apply to full participation. Registration (for a pro-rated fee) is available for those desiring to attend only Friday or Saturday. Visit the Center for Object Relations for pricing details and registration.

Avedis Panajian, Ph.D., ABPP is a Fellow of the International Psychoanalytical Association, a certified psychoanalyst, researcher, senior lecturer, and licensed psychologist in California. He has served as a board member of the Western Regional Board for Diplomates in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has chaired Diplomate examinations and served as a licensure examiner for many years for the California Board of Psychology. He has also received the Distinguished Educator Award from the California Board of Psychology.

Dr. Panajian is also a supervising and training Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of California, Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and at the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Panajian’s research interests include infantile development, trauma, and the treatment of severe emotional disorders.