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Challenging relational psychoanalysis: A critique of postmodernism and analyst self-disclosure with Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP

Challenging relational psychoanalysis: A critique of postmodernism and analyst self-disclosure with Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP Date: 2021-09-11 09:00 to 11:30
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Challenging relational psychoanalysis: A critique of postmodernism and analyst self-disclosure with Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP

Saturday, September 11, 2021 9:00am to 11:30am
via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

The class has filled.  Please contact John Allemand at to be added to the waitlist.

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 continuing education credits.  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. This presentation also meets the requirements of WAC 246-809-620 (definition of recognized categories of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists and social workers).

In this Alliance Master Class, Dr. Jon Mills will engage with participants in a close reading and discussion of his paper, "Challenging relational psychoanalysis: A critique of postmodernism​​​​​​ and analyst self-disclosure​". Dr. Mills will elaborate upon his thinking since publication, facilitate discussion, and answer questions. All participants will receive a copy of the article upon registration. In order to provide an intimate, stimulating discussion, the group will be limited to 10 participants who can directly engage with the author.

Mills, J.  (2017).  Challenging relational psychoanalysis: A critique of postmodernism and analyst self-disclosure.  Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 14(3), 313-335.

This paper is based on two lectures given at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, on February 13, 2015.  These lectures were largely derived from his book, Conundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (Mills, 2012) and serve as the focus of critique and rebuttal from five panelists who responded to his lectures delivered at the conference.  Here he provides an adumbrated critique of the adoption of postmodernism within contemporary relational theory and the excessive use of analyst self-disclosure.  Although these lectures have been merged into a formal paper, they remain mostly unrevised and represent what transpired at the conference despite being cut in length for the purposes of publication.

This journal article is now a chapter included in Dr. Mills’ newest book: Mills, J.  (2020).  Debating relational psychoanalysis: Jon Mills and his critics.  New York: Routledge. (Use discount code ADC21 to save 30% off the list price and free shipping if ordered directly from the publisher)

In Debating Relational Psychoanalysis, Jon Mills provides an historical record of the debates that had taken place for nearly two decades on his critique of the relational school, including responses from his critics.  This book hopes that further dialogue may not only lead to conciliation, but more optimistically, that relational theory may be inspired to improve upon its theoretical edifice, both conceptually and clinically, as well as develop technical parameters to praxis that help guide and train new clinicians to sharpen their own theoretical orientation and therapeutic efficacy.

Because of the public exchanges in writing and at professional symposiums, these debates have historical significance in the development of the psychoanalytic movement as a whole simply due to their contentiousness and proclivity to question cherished assumptions, both old and new. In presenting this collection of his work, and those responses of his critics, Mills argues that psychoanalysis may only advance through critique and creative refinement, and this requires a deconstructive praxis within the relational school itself.

Debating Relational Psychoanalysis will be of interest to psychoanalysts of all orientations, psychotherapists, mental health workers, psychoanalytic historians, philosophical psychologists, and the broad disciplines of humanistic, phenomenological, existential, and analytical psychology.

Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP is a philosopher, psychoanalyst, and clinical psychologist. He is on Faculty, Postgraduate Programs in Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University; Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex; and Emeritus Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis at Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto. A recipient of numerous awards for his scholarship, including 4 prestigious Gradiva Awards, Dr. Mills is the author and/or editor of over 25 books in psychoanalysis, philosophy, psychology, and cultural studies, including Debating Relational Psychoanalysis: Jon Mills and his Critics (Routledge, 2020); Inventing God (Routledge, 2017); Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics (Routledge, 2014); Conundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2012); Origins: On the Genesis of Psychic Reality (McGill- Queens University Press, 2010); Treating Attachment Pathology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); The Unconscious Abyss: Hegel’s Anticipation of Psychoanalysis (State University of New York Press, 2002); and The Ontology of Prejudice (Rodopi, 1997). In 2015 he was given the Otto Weininger Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Canadian Psychological Association.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to identify at least three key theoretical innovations of the relational school of psychoanalysis. 

  • Participants will engage in a critique of the strengths and limitations of postmodern thinking in contemporary psychoanalytic theories.

  • Participants will evaluate the merits of relational technique and self-disclosure in clinical practice.

Participants: This event is designed for graduate level students in mental health and all mental health professionals from introductory to advanced levels.  The presentation is geared for clinicians who wish to advance their knowledge and expand their skill base in psychodynamic clinical work.

Refund Policy: Refunds less a $15 handling fee will be given up until one week before the presentation. 

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 continuing education credits.  Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.  Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles for Psychologists.  Participants are asked to be aware of the 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. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to John Allemand at 253-509-8302.  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 conflicts of interest.  Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program's content.

Contact Person: 
John Allemand
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