Education & Events

Vitalizing Enactment: A Relational Reconsideration with Amy Schwartz Cooney, PhD

Vitalizing Enactment: A Relational Reconsideration with Amy Schwartz Cooney, PhD Date: 2022-10-08 09:00 to 11:30
97 days remaining

Vitalizing Enactment: A Relational Reconsideration with Amy Schwartz Cooney, PhD

Saturday, October 8, 2022 9:00am to 11:30am
Via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

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. Amy Schwartz Cooney will lead participants in a close reading and discussion of her 2018 essay, “Vitalizing Enactment: A Relational Exploration”.  Dr. Schwartz Cooney 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.

Schwartz Cooney, A.  (2018).  Vitalizing enactment: A relational exploration.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28(3): 340-354.

Drawing from her extensive work with deeply disturbed children, Alvarez (2012) theorized a form of intervention termed “vitalization”, in which the analyst actively reaches out to contact and “reclaim” her most inaccessible patients, engaging them in the world of emotions and relationships.  In this paper I consider Alvarez’s ideas through the lens of Relational thought, reconceptualizing vitalization as a unique form of enactment that can draw the analytic dyad from deadened impasse into enlivened contact.  In vitalizing enactment, embryonic affects, hopes, and longings find expression and are potentiated for patient and analyst alike.  This is a view of enactment as a progressive and creative lived experience, rather than an unconscious collision to be survived and symbolized.  I contextualize vitalizing enactment in relation to Alvarez’s original formulations as well as to relevant contemporary theories and present a clinical vignette to illustrate this paper’s themes.

Dr. Amy Schwartz Cooney is a faculty member at the NYU Post-Doctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (Relational Track).  She is Board Director/Faculty/Supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies and is also Faculty/Supervisor at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies.  She is Joint Editor in Chief of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and is Co-Editor with Rachel Sopher of Vitalization in Psychoanalysis: Perspectives on Being and Becoming (Routledge, 2021), a volume to which she also contributed a chapter.  She is particularly interested in the application and integration of object relational perspectives in the contemporary psychoanalytic conversation.  Dr. Schwartz Cooney is in private practice in New York City.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will understand the historical development and underpinnings of the concept of Vitalization in psychoanalysis and be able to theorize this concept comparatively as a unique form of therapeutic action. 
  • Students will understand the idea of Vitalizing Enactment and be able to apply it in their clinical work with a range of patients. 
  • Students will understand the way clinical interventions can be generative as lived experience, facilitating thoughtful consideration of the role of symbolization/interpretation in psychoanalysis.
  • Students will understand the imperative of “ground level contact” for psychic transformation.

Recent Publications:

  • Cooney, A. S.  (2021).  Polemics and play: Reflections on Cooper and the development tilt.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(3): 389-395.
  • Cooney, A. S., & Sopher, R.  (Eds.).  (2021).  Vitalization in psychoanalysis.  New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Cooney, A. S.  (2020).  Through a glass darkly: A discussion of “The analyst’s necessary nonsovereignty and the generative power of the negative”.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 30(2): 139-145.
  • Schwartz Cooney, A.  (2018).  Vulnerability, resilience, and surviving destruction: Discussion of “The analyst’s experience of trust and mistrust”.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28(6): 748-754.
  • Schwartz Cooney, A.  (2018).  Reaching out, making contact, and forging ahead: Reply to Jody Messler Davies and Rachael Peltz.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28(3): 371-377.
  • Schwartz Cooney, A.  (2017).  “Going too far” or shifting the paradigm?: An intergenerational response to Dr. Slochower’s relational heroines.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3): 300-306.

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 $35 handling fee will be given up until three weeks 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
Contact Email:
Browse our list of classes and find one that best fits your needs
Ongoing development of a new generation of clinicians
Specifically designed for students and those in their first decade of practice
Aids to help you with your classes