Steven Cooper, PhD
October 20-22, 2023
Dr. Steven Cooper is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and also at the Columbia Center for Psychoanalysis and Research. He is also on the faculty at the New York University Postdoctoral Program for Psychoanalysis. He is Chief Editor Emeritus of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Consulting Editor for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and has served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and the Journal of the American Psychoanlaytic Association . Steven is the author of four books in psychoanalysis: Objects of Hope (Routledge, 2000); A Disturbance in the Field: Essays on Transference-Countertransference (Routledge, 2010, and The Melancholic Errand of Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2016). His most recent book, "Playing and Becoming in Psychoanalysis" was published earlier in 2023 by Routledge. In the last ten years he has been trying to think about Winnicott's concepts of playing in the context of contemporary psychoanalytic theory related to enactment, intersubejctivity,and performative action.
Seminar Title: Psychoanalysis as Play and the Play of Psychoanalysis
Seminar description: Winnicott’s concept of play grew out of a cluster of ideas associated with the Independent Tradition, the latter of which has important overlap and difference with contemporary developments in contemporary Independent, Bionian, and relational theory. We are still mining Winnicott’s insights regarding the analytic setting as a form of playing. Simply put, this is the purpose of this seminar.
Here, we will explore playing as a process out of which the patient’s experience of being and becoming is born. In understanding both Winnicott’s theory of play and the contemporary evolution of his theory within the Independent tradition and Relational tradition, a question I will try to foreground is how we are able to maintain the mystery and magic of play as well as the ambiguity of inside and outside that are inherent to it. In a recently published book, Playing and Becoming, I have tried to bring together my thoughts on these matters.
I will try to help you think about and find your own version of play in your work, borrowing and discarding from these traditions as fits you. Hopefully, the seminar will stimulate your thinking about new elements of play that you have not considered such as the interdependence and paradox of mourning and playing, as well as questions regarding an ethic of playing. The clinical examples that I will present and that I hope that you will present are often puzzling, paradoxical, and enigmatic in capturing places of play within the intersubjective setting of analytic work.
"Nothing human is alien to me" --Terrence
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