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Deconstructing Enactment with Karen Maroda, PhD, ABPP

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Deconstructing Enactment with Karen Maroda, PhD, ABPP

Saturday, March 13, 2021 9:00am to 11:30am
via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This Master Class has filled and registration is closed.  Please contact John Allemand (contact info below) if you would like to be added to our waiting list.

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).

How do you deal with negative feelings toward a patient? Have you found the distinctions between projective identification, countertransference, and enactment confusing at times? How have various enactments within the analytic setting proven therapeutic or rather ended poorly, leaving you uncertain as to exactly why in either case? If enactments are inevitable, are they sometimes avoidable?

In this Alliance Master Class, Dr. Karen Maroda will engage with participants in a close reading and discussion of her paper, "Deconstructing Enactment". Dr. Maroda will elaborate upon her 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.

Maroda, K.J. (2020). Deconstructing Enactment. Psychoanalytic Psycholology, 37(1):8-17. 

The concept of enactment has undergone numerous revisions since its inception in 1986 (Jacobs). Following the trajectory of terms like projective identification and countertransference, it has gone from unacceptable acting out to possibly being the most significant relational exchange between analyst and patient. It is not only seen as a joint repetition of the past, but also as a potential vehicle for changing the future. The therapeutic benefit of enactment has been heavily emphasized despite the fact that no unified theory of its therapeutic action exists, nor any body of technique to apply when it occurs. This article provides an historical review of the term's use in analytic discourse, challenges the belief that the unconscious-to-unconscious communication between analyst and patient necessitates it, and points out that many enactments do not end well. While acknowledging that enactment is inevitable, an argument is presented here for ongoing affective communication that minimizes both the frequency and intensity of enactments.


Karen J. Maroda, Ph.D., ABBP, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin and is in private practice in Milwaukee, WI. She is board certified in psychoanalysis by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis. Dr. Maroda is the author of four books, The Power of Countertransference; Seduction, Surrender and Transformation; Psychodynamic Techniques, and the soon to be released, The Analyst's Vulnerability: Impact on Theory and Practice. She also sits on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Psychology and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She gives lectures and workshops both nationally and internationally and is currently finishing a new book to be published by Routledge in 2021.




Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn the evolving history, changes in meanings, and clinical use of the term “enactment.”
  • Participants will learn the controversies regarding how enactment is used in treatment.
  • Participants will learn about the neuroscience findings that challenge our understanding of consciousness, emphasizing a more fluid system of self-awareness, along with the unlikely scenario that strong feelings can remain out of awareness.

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 conference. 

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
Contact Email:
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