Stoller Memorial Lecture: Paradox & Play in Psychoanalysis--From Enactment to "Thirdness"

November 7, 2019, 8:00 - 10:00 PM

Paradox & Play in Psychoanalysis--From Enactment to "Thirdness."  This year's Robert J. Stoller Memorial Lecture with Master Clinician-In-Residence Jessica Benjamin, PhD. 

Dr. Benjamin's work has stressed an analytic posture beyond "Either/Or" to one of "Doer and Done To" in which the aim is to create a space for two minds. In relational thinking, the "doer and done to" dynamic reflects movement back and forth between "my way" and "your way," but this can be blocked by dissociation. Dr. Benjamin explains how the move from enactment to play, with its "both/and" structure, helps to move out of complementarity into "thirdness":  developmental achievement which has a trajectory beginning from the early mutual gazing of the infant to later conflicts around recognition. As such, the development of thirdness grows out of the attachment responses between mother and infant or between analyst and patient. In this movement, the ability to accept and sustain paradox plays a great role. The very tension of paradox is essential to psychoanalysis. The essential paradox of play is that it is both real and unreal.


Jessica Benjamin, PhD, is a psychoanalyst known for her contributions to psychoanalysis and social thought. She is currently a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City where she is on the faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Psychology Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Jessica Benjamin is one of the original contributors to the fields of relational psychoanalysis, theories of intersubjectivity, and gender studies and feminism as it relates to psychoanalysis and society. She is known for her ideas about recognition in both human development and the sociopolitical arena.

Peter Loewenberg, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of History and Political Psychology at UCLA. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst and former Dean of the New Center for Psychoanalysis. He was elected North American Representative on the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) Board. He Chaired the IPA China Committee, 2007-2013. He is the author of many publications, including Decoding the Past: the Psychohistorical Approach (1996) and Fantasy and Reality in History (1995). He is Editor (with Nellie Thompson) of 100 Years of the IPA (1910-2010) (2011). He was elected an Honorary Member of the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV), was the Sir Peter Ustinov Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna, and received the Nevitt Sanford Award for his professional contributions to the field of Political Psychology. He served as Chair of the Committee on Research and Special Training of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Winner of the first Edith Sabshin Award "for excellence in teaching psychoanalytic concepts" in 1999, he is also the recipient of Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Humanities, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Austrian Ministry of Education, Pro Helvetia, and Max Planck Institute für Geschichte fellowships and many other honors. 

Learning Objectives

After attending this program, participants should be able to: 

  1. Discuss the function of enactment in psychoanalytic therapy, with particular reference to the dynamic tension between repetition and repair.
  2. Utilize the conception of co-created thirdness as both differentiating and rhythmic connection to understand how we move from dissociation to connection with self and other.
  3. Assess how working with play and meta-communications, including acknowledgement, allows us to hold the paradoxical space of being both the new/needed and the old/repeating object. 

Target Audience: This conference will be informative for intermediate to advanced mental health clinicians from all disciplines.

2 CE/CME Credits


Registration: $40

NCP Members register for half-price at $20

Free for students/candidates



IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME/CE program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  

SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE and FAMILY THERAPISTS (LCSW, LMFT, ASW, IMF, LEP, LPCC, PCCI): The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency. 

REGISTERED NURSES: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is an accredited provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider #CEP1112). Registered Nurses may claim only the actual number of hours spent in the educational activity for credit.