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September 28, October 19, and November 9 and 30

Saturdays: 15h-17h (Lisbon Time) - Online with recordings and automatic subtitles for Portuguese, Spanish, and many more languages.

Chaos and Pathological Organizations of the Personality

by Antonio pérez-sánchez


"I consider that psychopathology is an expression of different ways of defending oneself against possible chaos, or rather catastrophic anxieties.  But the recognition of the imminence of chaos is experienced by different manifestations that we could encompass in the expression psychic pain. So my programme will include different ways of responding to psychic pain. And these responses must involve the opposite of chaos. If chaos means disintegration, fragmentation, annihilation etc., the response must be some form of organisation, however pathological it may be, that 'avoids' or dampens psychic pain. So I will describe some forms of pathological organisation to cope with psychic pain." - Antonio Pérez-Sánchez, 2024

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ANTONIO PÉREZ-SÁNCHEZ is a psychiatrist, training, and supervising analyst at the Spanish Psychoanalytical Society (SEP). Past president of SEP (2008–2011). He has written on technical issues in psychoanalysis and on topics such as envy, psychic truth, forgiveness, time, Bion, the body in the analytic session, transsexuality, etc. He is the author of five books. His last two books are The Psychotic Organization of the Personality (2018) and Interview and Indicators in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (2019, 2ª Edition in Spanish and English in 2014). He is chair of the Sponsoring Committee of the IPA for the Portuguese Study Group, Núcleo Português de Psicanálise, and chair for the European Union of the IPA - Interregional Encyclopaedic Dictionary (IRED).


SEMINAR 1 - September 28, 2024

In the first seminar, we will study the nature of psychic pain. Based on Bion's idea of whether there is a capacity to suffer psychic pain or just to feel it, it is possible to distinguish between a psychotic part of the personality and a non-psychotic part. Although both will be present in every personality, it will depend on the kind of link/splitting between the psychotic and non-psychotic part of the personality to give rise to different forms of pathological organizations.
I summarize the pathological organization in four big areas organized according to the defensive resources used to get rid of the unbearable emotional experience: acting out, i.e. externalizing what it has not been possible to internalize, putting out of mind, either in action or in the body; distorting reality by passing it off as good when it is destructive (perversion); searching for a space or a system to escape from that reality, either by creating a "refuge" to protect oneself or a world apart, as happens in psychotic patients who are delusional.
In the following sessions, we will study some of these pathological organizations in the face of chaos and psychic pain.

SEMINAR 2 - October 19, 2024

In this seminar,  I will focus on one specific organization, where a 'primitive body' acts as a manager of emotional life. We will see how a primary traumatic external reality can lead to a pattern of object relations that hinders the introjection of experience, and requires the body to establish an alternative space to the mind. This primitive mental state alternates with more evolved ones. Tuning the countertransference to each of these mental levels is a necessary and difficult task in order to carry out the interpretative work in such a way that the interpretation does not become an external reality that can be rejected (as traumatic), nor is it "accepted" as an "embodied" reality, dissociated from the mind.

Another aspect that we will study is the construction of identity in this type of pathological organization in which the primitive body predominates. Here we will study an idea based on the assumption that the construction of identity lies in the interaction between projective and introjective identifications. When there are difficulties in the interaction with the object, in order to avoid the unbearable painful reality, they lead to distortions in the perception of the object and, consequently, to inadequate identifications. From this perspective, the analyst's task is to point out such inadequate identifications in the analytic relationship, allowing the patient the opportunity to reconstruct his or her identity in a way that is more in line with his or her own psychic reality. The involvement of the primitive body in the construction and organization of identity is explored. It is illustrated with the clinical vignette of an eating disorder.  

SEMINAR 3 - November 9, 2024

This session will describe the psychopathological foundations of the psychotic organization of the personality. In particular, pathological splitting, with its derivative in the splitting of the bodily self; pathological projective identification, omnipotence and omniscience. On the other hand, the clinical consequences of these psychopathological bases will be studied, both with respect to the personality itself (limitations in the capacity for symbolisation and delusional thinking) and in object relations with the development of psychotic transferences.

SEMINAR 4 - November 30, 2024

The whole session will be devoted to the presentation of various moments of the psychoanalytic process with a schizophrenic patient. I will try to show how, under certain circumstances, it is possible to treat a psychotic patient with a psychoanalytic method, without (nearly) any modification. One of the important things is to show how the psychotic patient establishes a strong transference, i.e. a delusional relationship with the analyst, which needs to be interpreted in order to help the patient achieve a better contact with reality. We will see different transferential vertexes, with the quality of being intense, fleeting and changing. I will also show the emergence from the psychotic organisation to the extent that there is a greater acceptance of the conflictuality of the analytic relationship, a greater introjection of the analyst's life aspects, and a greater acceptance of the failure of the logic of madness.


Chaos and Pathological Organizations of Personality by Antonio Pérez-Sánchez - Online Seminars with Recordings

​​Registration Fee: 250 Euros

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