The Square: Human Moments and Relational Aesthetics

January 12, 2019, 1:00 - 5:00 PM

The Square, directed by Ruben Östlund, is a film set in a modern art museum about the aesthetics of relationships. Largely misunderstood by critics when it was released, The Square offers a series of human encounters that psychotherapists ponder long after viewing. “We are exposed to an aesthetics of shaming, laying bare the hypocrisy, the selfishness and the wishful thinking embedded in the deep structures of 21st-century metropolitan existence. That existence is a cornucopia of delights masquerading as miseries, or perhaps vice versa.” (NY Times

The program features commentary and lectures before and after the screening and a facilitated audience discussion.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants should be able to: 

  • Describe the invisible link (represented here as “the Square”) between boundary function and integrity of social fabric; consider the therapist’s role in promoting integrity and protecting therapeutic boundaries
  • Explain the relational aspect of Aesthetic Function of the mind
  • Apply the psychodynamic understanding of “symbolic articulation” (as in the function of a Museum) to clinical experience with clients/patients
  • Define “Losing face” in psychological terms; sensitively apply awareness of “losing face” in clinical practice with clients/patients

Jeffrey Prager, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in private practice. He received his PhD in Psychoanalysis in 1983 from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute, now the New Center of Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, where he is now a Senior Faculty Member, and was formerly the Dean. He is also a Professor of Sociology at UCLA. He has published widely, both books and articles, on psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice, including his award-winning Presenting the Past, Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Misremembering (Harvard University Press).

Lynne Oliva, PsyD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst and Faculty member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and a Faculty member at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. She has a private practice in Brentwood and specializes in working with artists and writers. She is working on a book about art, desire, and the unconscious. 

Seth Alt is a PhD student in the Cultural Studies Department at Claremont Graduate University, and a member of the California Forum. Seth’s dissertation research is focused on the intersections of museums, digital technology, and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Program Coordinators:

Thomas Brod, MD (Discussion Facilitator), Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. He is a senior faculty member at NCP and co-coordinator of the Film and Mind Series. He is also on the faculty of the ISTDP Institute (Washington, D.C.).

Apurva Shah, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente in Palmdale. An Associate member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis, he is co-coordinator of the Film and Mind Series. He is also the Founding Director and Faculty at the Antarnad Foundation, a not-for-profit psychoanalytic psychotherapy training program, in Ahmedabad, India. His primary interest, and the focus of most of his publications, is the interface of psychoanalysis and culture.

Target audience: Mental health professionals and open to the public interested in psychoanalytic perspectives

Level: Every Level


3.5 CE/CME Credits

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 3.5 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 & 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.


Preregistration has closed.... Please pay at the door