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From Symptom to Meaning in the Out-Patient Treatment of Psychosis: An Ethic of Speech in Psychoanalysis with the Psychotic Subject

Presenter: David Downing, Psy.D., ABPP

Monday, September 11th, 2017, 7-9 PM
Christian Theological Seminary Counseling Center, 3rd floor parlor
1050 W. 42nd St., Indianapolis, IN 46208

Program Description

Psychoanalysis with psychotic patients is well-suited to elucidate and address the unique vicissitudes of the psychotic process, afforded by the free associations of the patient, as well as the psychoanalyst’s distinctive receptivity and potential for various acts of freedom, uniquely afforded by the not-to-be repeated moment-to-moment unfolding of unconscious processes worded within the bi-personal field of the psychotherapeutic pair.  Each participant therefore avoids the traps of other contemporary treatments of being conjoined in a conspiratorial process of suppression and de-linking that collapses enquiry into rote prescriptions and proscriptions for correct thought and bio-behavioural management and control.  Such pressures inevitably lead to further enactments:  to provide any number of palliatives, such as medication, active suggestion, correctives, educative exhortations, et cetera, as demanded by manualised, so-called evidence-based approaches.  Such instrumentalities leave no space for the importance of ‘mind’, or the dynamic unconscious. They negate the wording of self-experience in the patient’s own idiom to the psychoanalyst who embodies an ethic of desire for self-discovery and knowledge.

The author of this chapter, like other  practitioners in this text, is confronting head-on the specious arguments in favour of paradigms which have privileged the “damaged brain” (complete with “irrational thoughts” that must be debunked and removed) above all other explanatory paradigms and with this, a “physico-chemical-genetic machine” over an experiencing subject – one who submits him- or herself passively for cognitive and behavioural adjustment – better adaptation and fit to society’s norms.  Through clinical vignettes, the author articulates his efforts to approach the construction of meaning within the neo-reality that resides in the wake of psychotic collapse, and his efforts to maintain an ethic for the elucidation of a savoir of the patient.  The establishment of a space wherein the Question is privileged, and may be asked, reaching like an arc over the hole left by the subject’s act of foreclosure, is a central element of this psychoanalytical journey, opening the possibility of finding meaning as material is brought into the field of speech.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to articulate basic elements of Freudian-Lacanian theories in relation to the psychoanalytical treatment of psychosis.

2. Participants treating psychotic subjects will be able to incorporate aspects of psychoanalytical praxis into their own clinical work.

3. Participants will be able to delineate aspects of the out-patient milieu they may need to construct in order to sustain out-patient clinical work with psychotic individuals.

About the Presenter

David L. Downing, Psy.D., ABPP, is a board-certified psychoanalyst-psychologist. He received his certificate in psychoanalysis from the Center for Psychoanalytic Study, in Chicago, in 1994. He is the President-Elect of Section I (Psychoanalyst Practitioners), Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the APA, past-President of the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis, of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), as well as many other psychoanalytical societies and organisations.  He is a Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) Representative to the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Co-Chairperson of Division 39’s Committee on Graduate and Undergraduate Education and Training. He is on the editorial board of the journal Psychoanalytic Psychology, and the Journal for the Advancement of Scientific Psychoanalytic Empirical Research (JASPER)He is the former Director of Graduate Programs in Psychology, and is tenured, full Professor at the University of Indianapolis, School of Psychological Sciences. He is also a former Dean of the Center for Psychoanalytic Study in Chicago, as well as training and supervising psychoanalyst. Dr Downing is interested in the psychoanalytical treatment of severe psychopathology; psychoanalytical perspectives on the arts and humanities; and applied analyses of culture, professional trends, and organisations. He also has an abiding interest in emerging trends in accreditation, licensure, teaching/supervision of professionals-in-training, and health-care policy. He maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytical psychotherapy, consultation, and supervision in both Chicago, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States.

Schedule and Format
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The presentation will begin promptly at 7:30 PM with the introduction of the presenter. Light snacks and drinks will be provided, with networking beforehand from 7-7:30. The meeting will end at 9:00 PM.

Fees, Policies and Participants
Fees are included in membership dues for ISPT Members. Guests are welcome free of charge. The fee is $30 if non-members wish to pursue CE credit. It is the policy of ISPT to encourage multidisciplinary learning. This seminar is appropriate for the intermediate level of knowledge in the area of psychoanalysis. Enrollment is intended for psychologists and other mental health practitioners, graduate students and all who are interested in psychoanalysis.

Non-Member CE Credit


Continuing Education
This program is offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. The entire meeting must be attended in order for attendees to receive certificates. Upon completion of an evaluation form, a certificate will be provided. This serves as documentation of attendance for all participants. Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39.

Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to APA Ethical Guidelines. Participants are asked to be aware of need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them.