Course Title: To Live before Dying: The Values of Psychoanalysis (12 CE credits)
Instructor: Peter Shabad, PhD
Meeting dates (2020): February 24; March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Meeting time: Mondays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: 180 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
How have psychoanalysts viewed what it means to live a fulfilling life? How have these perspectives guided the clinical practice of psychoanalysis? How does the therapist’s personal journey through suffering and loss toward redemptive ideals inform the ideology and values of his/her countertransference? In this course, we will examine the implicit assumptions and values that undergird psychoanalytic theory and practice. Readings will include key papers by Freud and Rank, in addition to a number of my own publications.
We will begin the course by examining how core aspects of psychoanalytic inquiry – curiosity, understanding, and the talking cure – are revolutionary because they defy the superstitious fear of word magic. We will trace how Freud’s drive theory regarding suffering and growth lead directly to his recommendations for psychoanalytic technique. We will then examine Otto Rank’s critique of the ideology implied in Freud’s clinical theory. I will then delineate out my own theory of human development and the problems of reactive passivity that ensue when shame keeps individuals enclosed in their own despairing solitude. We will then discuss the importance of the therapist’s respect for the patient’s freedom of dignity as an intentional agent in his/her own life, even when that entails “resistance” to therapeutic progress. Finally, we will examine the paradoxical tension between the professional and personal within the therapist’s clinical identity, and the importance of the therapist’s use of the personal in participatory listening and witnessing the patient’s journey of suffering. Such witnessing is indispensable to the mourning that leads toward the patient’s inner freedom.
Peter Shabad, PhD is Faculty at Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis (CCP) and the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. He is Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Shabad is co-editor of The Problem of Loss and Mourning: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (IUP, 1989) and author of Despair and the Return of Hope: Echoes of Mourning in Psychotherapy (Aronson, 2001).
Dr. Shabad is currently working on a book entitled Seizing The Vital Moment: Passion, Shame, and Mourning, to be published Routledge. He is the author of numerous papers and book chapters on diverse topics such as the psychological implications of death, loss and mourning, giving and receiving, shame, parental envy, resentment, spite, and regret. Dr. Shabad is in private practice in Chicago in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy.