JOHN LENNON, MICROWAVE OVENS, AND THE
ENACTED DIMENSION OF ANALYTIC PROCESS
Presenter, Gil Katz, Ph.D.
The concept of “enactment” continues to occupy a prominent place in today’s psychoanalytic thinking and practice. Despite being a central concept within and across all psychoanalytic theories and traditions, it continues to have no agreed upon definition. While the word “enactment” suggests an episodic or discrete event, and discussions in the literature tend to emphasize the behavioral component of the phenomenon, its essence is an underlying, dynamically meaningful, unconscious process. Within what I call the enacted dimension of analytic process, a part of every treatment, a new version of the patient’s early conflicts, traumas, and formative object relationships is inevitably created, without awareness or intent, in the here-and-now of the analytic dyad. Within this “play within the play,” repressed or dissociated aspects of the patient’s past are not just remembered, they are re-lived. When these actualizations become available for conscious reflection, they form the basis for genuine and transforming experiential insight.
1) Discuss the concept of enactment and review its historical evolution.
2) Describe the enacted dimension of analytic process—the continuously evolving second dimension of analytic treatment that exists alongside of and interwoven with the treatment’s verbal content.
3) Distinguish Contemporary Freudian and Relational/Intersubjective perspectives on enactment, in particular the relationship between enactment and analytic technique and the different meanings of the concept “co-creation.”
4) Illustrate the centrality of the enacted dimension in the treatment of patients with a history of trauma, abuse, and early object loss via clinical vignettes.
5) Demonstrate support for these ideas from current research in cognitive neuroscience.
About the Presenter(s)
Dr. Gil Katz, is a Faculty member, Fellow (Training and Supervising Analyst), and former Dean of Training at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR), and a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology, Faculty member, and Supervising Analyst in the Contemporary Freudian Track of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis where he is the chair of its Faculty-Curriculum Committee. He teaches courses on interaction and enactment in psychoanalysis at both institutes.
Dr. Katz has written widely on the topic of enactment, most recently a book entitled: The Play within the Play: The Enacted Dimension of Analytic Process. In addition to enactment, he has written on such subjects as the analytic usefulness of working within the metaphor, the parallel process phenomenon in analytic supervision, and analytic understandings of father-son rivalry in biblical tales. He is in private practice in New York City.
Reema Zahr, MA, LPC is a fifth-year candidate in the advanced psychoanalytic program at the New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis. She holds a graduate degree in applied clinical and counseling psychology. Her professional experience includes working as a therapist in a community mental health agency, serving as a Head Start in-home service provider and classroom teacher, and interning as a group counselor and case manager in a partial hospitalization program for adult psychiatric and dual diagnosis patients. Reema has a private practice in Teaneck, New Jersey, where she works with individuals and couples, specializing in play therapy and creative expression with children and adolescents.