34th Annual Forum Conference - "Power and Innocence"
It is the aim of the Forum, our annual conference and spring meeting, to share the experience, training, and expertise of the psychoanalytic community. The 34th annual Forum will take place on April 13, 2024, and we are excited to welcome presentations on topics of interest to our members. This year’s plenary is from Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. The title of the presentation is “Post-Hegemonic Democracy: The Be(Com)ing of the Human and Civilization.”
About the theme:
The conference theme this year is Power and Innocence, inspired by Rollo May's book Power and Innocence: The Search for the Source of Violence. While written over 50 years ago, May’s message is powerfully relevant to our experience today.
Psychological power, according to May, encompasses initiative, personal authority and self-affirmation. From the child crying out for touch to the moment that child recognizes, "I matter!" power solicits assertion and aggression. Yet where power demands, authentic innocence invites. Like a child in play, innocence is the space of wonder, imagination, and awe. On the other hand, innocence can be disguised as pseudo-innocence, which is characterized by a willful ignorance, amnesia, or the wearing of blinders.
Inherent to human experience lies this tension between power and innocence in all their forms. We are prone to resist these forces and often attempt to control them, within and without. But when these drives are not acknowledged or engaged, they can lead to powerlessness and violence, intrapsychically and socially.
As therapists, we grapple with these themes every day- both in the office and in our own personal relationships. We encounter these dynamics on a larger scale when we tune into the latest social media post or breaking political news. This year, we are inviting Forum submissions to help us dig deeper into the psychodynamics of power, innocence and violence.
How do you engage your own or your patients’ sense of power, powerlessness and aggression? How do these themes appear in the unconscious, in the transference or countertransference? How might these ideas help us navigate our shared world of differences, diversities and social realities? Where do you participate in pseudo-innocence, or revel in child-like play? Given these themes are constantly at work in ourselves and society, what is our responsibility as mental health practitioners? Come join us and see where your imagination takes you!
Plenary Session: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D
Post-Hegemonic Democracy: The Be(Com)ing of the Human and Civilization
Rollo May points out the maxim, of which we are seeing so very much today, that it is not power that corrupts, but rather powerlessness, whose experience is coped with by disdain and violence toward those who are wrongly identified as the cause of one's powerlessness. Yet, these symptoms "are still manifestations of positive interpersonal needs." It is, then, the liberation of those needs that societal, and intrapsychic constructiveness can come about.
This of course goes far beyond our traditional and contemporary conceptualization and practice of politics. Likewise, it goes far beyond what has become the dominant treatment totalities of our time.
Insofar as most psychotherapy today aims to help patients live comfortably within existing society, it encourages and is premised upon a continued notion of adaptation to power, both societally and individually. But to hear a person, or group of persons from a register of their symptoms trying to express the human quest, as we might call it, we must be able to abandon any effort to "adjust" them to oppressive culture and instead free them to be subversive subjects within any hegemonic society, to free them to constructively and generatively live through the life drive that which had been, in their symptom, a death drive experience, a jouissance in Lacanian terms, into the life drive of generative enjoyment. As Lacan put it, "Jouissance must be given up, so that it can be obtained on the inverse ladder of the law of desire."
Lacan, J., (2006b). “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious” . Écrits, The First Complete Edition in English, translated by B. Fink in collaboration with H. Fink and R. Grigg. New York / London: Norton & Co., p. 671-702.
Bollas. C. (2024). Essential Aloneness: Rome Lectures on DW Winnicott. New York: Oxford University Press.
Guattari, F. (1989). The Three Ecologies. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
- To understand what are the attributes of "the capacity of the psychoanalyst" from both Lacanian and Winnicottian perspectives.
- To be conversant with "the end of analysis."
- To have a practical conceptualization both of traditional, contemporary psychotherapy and partisan politics on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of the subversiveness of psychoanalysis and its twin, with the struggle for democracy.
Fees: $170 for Alliance members, $200 for non-members, $115 student non-members, $105 Alliance student members (all rates are $10 less before February 1, 2024 and all rates will increase by $10 after March 29, 2024)
Refund Policy: Refunds less a $35 handling fee will be given up until one week before the presentation.
Accommodations: The Alliance strives to host an inclusive event that enables all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability, to comfortably attend and access presentation materials. So we can better meet your needs, please let us know at least two weeks in advance if you have a special accommodation request.
Financial Need: If you are experiencing financial need and would like to discuss reduced admission, please let us know within two weeks of the event.
This presentation has been approved for a total of 5.50 CE’s for licensed mental health counselors and associates, marriage and family therapists and social workers by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work.