2011 PSPP Annual Spring Program | Analytic Self Care: Does Gender Matter? Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.

  • 26 Feb 2011
  • 8:45 AM - 3:30 PM
  • Bryn Mawr College - Wyndham Alumnae House
  • 50


Analytic Self Care: Does Gender Matter?

Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.

Program Description

In this talk, I will bring together two deep interests. Several years ago, I began to write and speak about the problems of analytic vulnerability and analytic self care. As the field changed its focus on analytic subjectivity and countertransference, it began to feel more and more important to me to examine how analysts practice self care alongside patient care. Many aspects of our two person psychologies make the dilemmas of practice, of practicing with uncertainty, and of our visibility (accurate and inaccurate) to patients, highly stressful. This is particularly true of candidates and young analysts. But self care and analytic vulnerability are difficult matters for everyone.

In thinking about the analyst’s vulnerability, I have found myself thinking of the long history of many analysts as caretakers. This includes some of our most revered figures: Winnicott, McLaughlin and Ferenczi all describe histories in which caring for a parent preceeded professional doctoring.

Work in neuroscience and work on embodiment give us clear information that not only are minds entwined in treatments but bodily life as well. I am interested in the impact of what we might call secondary traumatization upon the analyst’s being.

All these factors have made me mindful of how much our subjectivity enters and is transformed by our work. In this presentation, I will be linking self care with questions of gender.

For several decades I have been immersed in the study of gender and its vicissitudes. I think of gender as softly assembled, as socially constructed and as a kind of ‘radioactive’ construct drawing into itself many aspects of life and culture and history that can seem arbitrary or fluid or highly contested.

Here I want to bring these two areas together.  In this presentation, I intend to review the question of analytic vulnerability and ask if gender – in the analyst or the patient – interacts with our difficulties in self care as mental health professionals.  Clinical examples will aid in this exploration.

Learning Objectives

  1. To understand the historical development and current understandings of the concept of countertransference, the analyst's responsiveness and reaction, conscious and unconscious, to the clinical work and the patient.
  2. To become aware of the manifold issues of ethical practice, boundary violations and patient care in standard psychoanalytic practice.
  3. To build a sound appreciation and understanding of the way current work in neuroscience and analyses of bodily reactivity can help us understand the deep impact of clinical work i.e. to understand secondary traumatization in the analyst and its management.
  4. To learn about contemporary ideas regarding gender development and gender identity as these ideas enter and shape how analysts practice.
  5. To develop models for individual and collective self care in analytic communities and institutions.

Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.

Adrienne Harris, Ph.D. is Faculty and Supervisor at New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She is an Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and of Studies in Gender and Sexuality and is on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Inquiry and American Imago.  She publishes in the areas of gender and development. She co-edited The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi with Lewis Aron. They also edited Relational Psychoanalysis, Vol. 2 and the upcoming Relational Psychoanalysis, Vol. 3: New Voices (with Melanie Suchet).  Adrienne and Muriel Dimen edited Storms in Her Head: Freud and the Construction of Hysteria.  Her book Gender as Soft Assembly was published in 2005 by TAP.  She is in private practice in New York City.

Time and Place

Saturday, February 26, 2011

8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Bryn Mawr College

Wyndham Alumnae House

101 North Merion Avenue

Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Registration Fees and Policies

Registration online or postmarked by February 14, 2011

PSPP members $95
Non-members $105
Early career professionals* $60
Retired members $40

Graduate students $30

Registration online or postmarked after February 14, 2011

PSPP members $105

Non-members $115

Early career professionals* $70

Retired members $50

Graduate students $30

*Early career professionals are those within three years of receiving their professional degree.

Fees are listed per person.  Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible.  Refunds in full, less a $10 administrative fee, will be made with written request up to 24 hours before the program.  Division 39 and PSPP are committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in their continuing education activities.

Registration closes on February 22, 2011. Online registration is available at the PSPP website http://www.pspp.org/ through February 22, 2011. Following this date, participants may register for the program at the door.


This program is intended for mental health professionals. The instructional level is intermediate. PSPP and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in strict conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. If you believe that a violation of ethics has occurred during this presentation, of if you have concerns about such issues as handicapped accessibility, distress with regard to program content or other complaints, please contact Dr. Joseph Schaller, 610-995-0189.  Participants with special needs will be accommodated if possible. For any questions or other concerns regarding access, confidentiality, privacy or other issues, please contact Jay Moses, Ph.D., 267-254-0791 or email mjaymoses@gmail.com.

Program Schedule


8:45 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:15  Program with Adrienne Harris Begins

12:00 Lunch Break

1:00 Program Continues

3:30 Program Concludes

Continuing Education


This program is offered for 5 continuing education credits (5.0 CE). Participants must attend 100% of the program. Upon completion of a conference evaluation form, a certificate will be issued. 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 and Social Workers. Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

Location and Parking

Directions to the Wyndham Alumnae House

On the campus of Bryn Mawr College

We are pleased to hold our program at the beautiful and historic Wyndham Alumnae House at Bryn Mawr College.  You might like to take a look at this lovely facility via the website: http://www.brynmawr.edu/wyndham.

From Center City Philadelphia: Take I-76 west (Schuykill Expressway) to the City Avenue exit 339 (Route 1 South). Once on City Avenue, travel about 2.5 miles and turn right onto Lancaster Avenue (Route 30 West). Travel about 4 miles to reach the center of Bryn Mawr. Turn right onto Morris Avenue; a gas station will be on your right and a Starbucks on your left. Follow Morris Avenue as it curves left under the train-track bridge then bears right. Cross Montgomery Avenue (at the traffic light). Make the first left on Yarrow St., then the first right on North Merion.  Wyndham House is on the right and there is ample free parking on both sides of the building.

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