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White Society Colloquium: Embodiment and the Perversion of Subjective Desire

Date: Apr 7, 2017 7:30 pm
Speaker: Andrea Celenza, Ph.D.
Discussant: Alice Sohn, Ph.D.

Andrea Celenza will discuss how perverse scenarios can be identified, understood and responded to in clinically useful ways to facilitate transformation from the one-person universe of a perverse mode of relating to two person and 3-dimensional experience.  Perversion and perverse scenarios are understood as modes of relating, rather than discrete behaviors. The manner in which perverse modes truncate psychic experience will be discussed at length, including the ways in which perverse scenarios seek to reduce, control and ultimately destroy the perceived dangerous subjectivity of the other or the perceived dangerous subjectivity located within one’s own body.

The case of a young woman, Laura, is used to illustrate ways in which subjective positions and affective (embodied) states can be defended against as a characterological and perverse mode of relating.  A schematic is offered that depicts various subjective positions (The Embodied Subject, The Reflective Self or “I,” The Subjective Object or “Me,” The Objectified Self or “It,” and Unconscious Processes or “Not Me.”)  Powerpoint slides will be used to illustrate the schematic, the subjective positions and their interpenetration.  A modification illustrating a perverse mode of relating depicts the Embodied Subject as dissociated.

Andrea Celenza, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Faculty at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School.  She is Co-Director (with Martha Stark, MD), of a blended, online program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy sponsored by William James College.  As part of this program, she offers an on-line course, What, Where is Psychoanalysis? Classic Concepts, New Meanings, which traces a trajectory of psychoanalytic theorizing from the intrapsychic to the intersubjective.  

Dr. Celenza is the recipient of several awards and has authored two books:  Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory and Academic Contexts (2007) and Erotic Revelations:  Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios (2014).  Dr. Celenza is in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Alice Sohn, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in New York City.  She is a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute, where she is on the faculty of the psychology internship program.  Dr. Sohn is also an Executive Editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and a member of the Editorial Board of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly.
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