Webinar Series with Avedis Panajian, PhD ABPP & Michael P. Sipiora, PhD
This is a 10 part series meeting online once per month on Saturdays throughout the 2023-24 year.
The historical intersections and rich theoretical dialogue between psychoanalysis and phenomenology reach back to the beginnings of these approaches in the early 20th century. This course will continue that conversation with a focus on psychotherapy practice. Speaking from a Heideggerian perspective, Dr. Sipiora will develop a phenomenological basis for a non-dualistic, non-causal, non-speculative appreciation of psychoanalysis’ clinical insights. Emphasis will be given to phenomenology’s descriptive engagement with concrete experience and its understanding of the relational structures that comprise human existence. Dr. Panajian will present psychological understandings of existential themes—such as meaning, intentionality, reflection, and openness—that take into account Freud’s insistence on the need for the unconscious in any adequate understanding of existence. The unconscious is the alien, the strange foreigner in us. It is utterly different from consciousness; it follows none of its laws, always remaining unfamiliar and contradictory in nature. Freud enlarged human personality to include depths. The complexity of his determinism gives the opportunity for liberation. What psychoanalysis lacks is a model of health in approaching patients. Model of illness destroys human potentials and leads to social conformity. Real encounter is needed. A phenomenology of psychosis that includes its proliferation of paradoxes and paradoxical transferences, needs the psychoanalytic model of Freud, Klein and Bion. Dr. Panajian will describe and clarify the relationship between the psychotic, non-psychotic aspects of personality that appear within both daily life and in relation to the analyst. Countertransference is explored as a way to reach the subjective experience of the psychotic patient. Given phenomenology’s insistence on the radically worldly character of existence, particular attention will also be paid to the relationship between personal symptoms and social disorder.