2012 PSPP Annual Spring Program | "Can You Blame the Vampire?": On the Tyranny of Vulnerability - Darlene Ehrenberg Ph.D., ABPP

  • 18 Mar 2012
  • 9:15 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Chestnut Hill College at St. Joseph's Hall
  • 26


"Can You Blame the Vampire?": On the Tyranny of Vulnerability

Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg, Ph.D., ABPP


Program Description

My patient asks: “Can you blame the vampire?”  She explains: “The vampire’s dilemma is that they don’t want to kill the person, they are just hungry.”  She adds, “There is no way to undo it.  Once a vampire sucks your blood, you are a vampire forever.”  Her fear is that she is doomed to remain a “bloodsucking vampire."

How can we work constructively with individuals who cannot bear the vulnerability of desiring, and who, as they begin to  “care” or to “love” feel so desperate and so vulnerable, and whose feelings escalate to proportions that feel so unbearable and unmanageable, that they behave in ways that seem to be anything but “caring” or “loving”?  How can we help individuals who when they “love” or “care” become demanding, possessive, tyrannical, and if they feel hurt or frustrated tend to become consumed with uncontrollable rage?

Details of clinical process from analytic work with such patients will be presented to illustrate how an engagement in which a sense of adequate safety and trust can be established and can provide a chance to actually discover what happens when such individuals do begin to dare to “care.”  As such a relationship opens onto intense and volatile feelings, and begins to become “messy,” problematic or even “crazy,” the chance to experience those potentially toxic moments of engagement can be dealt with constructively and in a collaborative way, such that lapses on either side can be survived, transcended, and learned from, without the relationship being threatened, and can actually lead to greater closeness through healing “insight.”  This kind of insight in the form of a new and powerful kind of experience in relation is different from the insight that comes from an analyst’s interpretation.

This kind of process can allow for working through some of the “fallout” of early traumas, including intergenerational traumas, and the pain and rage and forms of blindness that may have evolved in response and can allow engaging in a necessary process of mourning. 

Clinical data will be presented to illustrate how this kind of process can become an important medium of and an important measure of a transforming kind of therapeutic action in analytic work.

Darlene Bergman Ehrenberg, Ph.D., ABPP

Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg, Ph.D., ABPP, is author of “THE INTIMATE EDGE: Extending The Reach Of Psychoanalytic Interaction” (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1992).  She is in private practice in New York City, and is a Training and Supervising Analyst, and on the teaching Faculty, at the William Alanson White Institute, Supervising analyst and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, at The New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis, Faculty, Mitchell Center for Psychoanalysis, as well as other institutes; on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Associate Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, consulting editor, Psychoanalytic Inquiry).   She is currently working on two new books, one on intergenerational transmission of trauma, and the other focusing on issues of desire and therapeutic action.  


Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:


1)  Deepen the work in the analytic moment
2)  Use one's own experience as vital analytic data
3)  Explain the difference between holding the patient and holding the treatment
4)  Discuss the importance of dealing with vulnerability and aggression, not one without the other
5)  Describe differences between dealing with symptoms vs. dealing with the underlying issues


Time and Place

Sunday, March 18, 2012

9:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Chestnut Hill College (Main Campus)
St. Joseph's Hall
9601 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Registration Fees and Policies

Registration online or postmarked by March 12, 2012

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

Graduate students - Free

Registration postmarked after March 12, 2012

PSPP members $105

Non-members $115

Early career professionals* $70

Retired members $50

Graduate students - Free

*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 March 12, 2012. Online registration is available at the PSPP website http://www.pspp.org/ through March 12, 2012. Following this date, participants may register for the program at the door.


This program is intended for mental health professionals with an intermediate level of knowledge and experience. It is not limited to individuals practicing in a predominately psychoanalytic mode.


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. Patricia Rice at (267) 259-6816 or email ricepg@gmail.com. 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. at (267) 254-0791 or email mjaymoses@gmail.com.  There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflict of interest. During the program, the presenter will discuss the validity/utility of the content/approach as well as the limitations of the approach and most common risk factors, if any.

Program Schedule

9:15 Registration and Breakfast

9:45  Program with Darlene Ehrenberg Begins

12:15 Lunch Break

1:15 Program Continues

4:00 Program Concludes

Continuing Education

PSYCHOLOGISTS: This program is offered for five continuing education credits (5 CEs).  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.  Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

SOCIAL WORKERS:  Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors in Pennsylvania can receive CE 's from CE providers approved by the APA.  Since Division 39 is approved by the APA to sponsor continuing education, these professionals will be able to fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending PSPP/Division 39 approved programs.

Location and Parking

Directions to Chestnut Hill College at St. Joseph's Hall- Main Campus not Sugarloaf

We are pleased to hold our program at St. Joseph's Hall at Chestnut Hill College (#11 on the campus map).  To view a map of the campus, please visit the following website: 


For directions to Chestnut Hill College Main Campus, please visit the following website or see below:


From the North and East 

Route 95/New Jersey Turnpike South to Exit 6: Pennsylvania Turnpike/Route 276 West to Exit 333: Norristown. From the exit, stay to the right to follow Germantown Pike East toward Philadelphia. Continue for four miles to the College, the entrance is on the left.

From Northeast Philadelphia

Follow Cottman Avenue/Route 73 West to Church Road and turn left. Follow to Paper Mill Road and turn left. Continue to Stenton Avenue, follow signs and bear right onto Stenton. Continue for one mile to the intersection of Stenton and Northwestern. Turn left onto Northwestern Avenue; continue past Morris Arboretum, one block to Germantown Avenue, then turn left. The College entrance is on the left.

From the West

Route 76 or 276/Pennsylvania Turnpike East to Exit 333: Norristown. From the exit, stay to the right to follow Germantown Pike East toward Philadelphia. Continue for four miles to the College, the entrance is on the left.

From the South

I-95 North to Route 476 North to Exit 19: Germantown Pike East. Exit onto Chemical Road to the traffic light. Turn right onto Germantown Pike and continue four miles to the College, the entrance is on the left.

By Train

Both the Chestnut Hill East (R7) and the Chestnut Hill West (R8) lines service Chestnut Hill from Center City Philadelphia and 30th Street Station. Chestnut Hill East also provides service from Trenton, N.J. and Northeast Philadelphia. If using Chestnut Hill East (R7), walk two blocks down Chestnut Hill Avenue to Germantown Avenue. Take the “L” Bus to the College entrance, one mile west.

Bus Directions

Enter the College at Germantown Avenue and then do either of the following:

Turn right and stop at the SSJ Green Sticker lot and unload passengers there. Alternatively, you may continue up the hill to the front of Saint Joseph Hall (Do not go into the circle) and unload passengers there and have the bus continue down the hill and park in the lower lot.

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