Education & Events

The Unconscious Today with Howard Levine, M.D.

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The Unconscious Today with Howard Levine, M.D.

Friday, May 19, 2017 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:00am to 12:00pm
University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St
Seattle, WA 98105
Sponsored by: 

During this weekend long conference, Dr. Levine will focus on an issue of central concern to many therapists: How do we think and talk with patients about powerful emotional and mental states that are not easily put into words, yet dramatically impact their lives? These unrepresented feelings and experiences - affect storms, impulsive behaviors, substance abuse, perversions, severe narcissistic disturbances, and psychosomatic states - can be understood as somatically inscribed, without psychic awareness. Dr. Levine will present a contemporary perspective on how unconscious processes operate at these times, and how we can help our patients construct mental representations that will organize and modulate their emotional experiences.

Dr. Levine has been an important voice in bringing contemporary thought to some of the foundational ideas of psychoanalysis. He has a unique gift for linking theoretical concepts and clinical material in a way that makes the ideas accessible for clinicians of varied backgrounds.  Drawing on major figures in the British and French traditions, notably Wilfred Bion and Andre Green, as well as on analysts closer to home, he will shed a contemporary light on the idea of unconsciousness.

Friday evening's presentation will focus on the issue of psychic representation and the unrepresented, that is, what has not been or cannot be represented in the mind, and will draw implications for analytic technique and the analyst's listening. This paper will include an extended case vignette.

During the first part of Saturday morning, Dr. Levine will apply psychoanalytic thinking to the understanding and treatment of somatic conditions. In this paper he will reformulate the problem of psychosomatics, using the perspective of unrepresented states, and he will develop his transformational model of psychoanalysis. He will present a contemporary view of the notion of construction, focusing on how it can be used in treating psychosomatic disorders. During the second half of the morning, we will hear clinical case material presented by a local clinician. Dr. Levine will comment on the material and lead us in discussing it in light of the questions we have been examining.

In preparation for this conference we will offer a pre-conference seminar focusing on Dr. Levine's ideas about representation and the unstructured unconscious on Thursday evening, May 11, 2017, at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, 4020 E Madison St, Ste 230, Seattle WA 98112. In preparation for this seminar, participants are asked to read Dr. Levine's paper “The Colourless Canvas:  Representation, Therapeutic Action and the Creation of Mind” (International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 93:607-629), available to registrants from the SPSI administrator. Katherine Weissbourd, Ph.D. and Shierry Nicholsen, Ph.D. will lead the discussion. (To register for the Pre-Conference Seminar on May 11th please see the separate event listing).

Contact Person: 
Peggy Swenson
Phone Number: 
(206) 328-5315
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