Stoller Memorial Lecture with Ofra Eshel

January 23, 2021, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

This meeting will take place online via Zoom. Once you register, you will receive an email with the link and more information.

*** Registration will close at 4:00 PM the day before the event. No registrations are possible after this time.

The New Center for Psychoanalysis is pleased to present the

2021 Robert J. Stoller Lecture


Ofra Eshel

Beyond “Perversion - The erotic form of hatred” (Robert Stoller, 1975):
Into the depths of deadness, emptiness and despair, and the emerging need for love in the analysis of severe fetishistic-masochistic perversion

Part I. Pentheus Rather than Oedipus: A theoretical-clinical context, begins with a review of the main developments in psychoanalytic thinking on perversion over the last hundred years, starting with Freud's early writing (1905) on the subject. This is followed by Dr. Eshel's own understanding of perversion and its treatment, which is based on the psychoanalytic treatment of patients with severe sexual perversions. She uses the term “autotomy” to describe perversion formation as an “autotomous,” massive splitting defense in the service of psychic survival within violent, deeply traumatic, early childhood situations. Thus, a compulsively enacted “desire for ritualized trauma” ensues — a last-ditch attempt to prevent, by its corporeality and intensity, a collapse into dread, psychic deadness, and annihilation. Rather than an oedipal world, severe perversion is rooted in the world of Pentheus, Euripides's most tragic hero — a world dominated by a mixture of a mother's madness, devourment, destruction, and rituals of desire. From this perspective she addresses the difficult question: Is perversion treatable? Dr. Eshel emphasizes the importance of the analyst’s abiding “presencing” and “withnessing” or interconnectedness with the perverse patient, which gradually creates a new, alternative experiential-emotional reality within the patient’s alienated world. This is followed by two clinical vignettes that illustrate the genesis of her thinking on perversion. 
Part II.  The Analysis, presents the years-long, difficult analysis of the severely fetishistic-masochistic patient described earlier. The cessation of his perverse practices in the third year led to an extreme collapse into profound devastation, emptiness, psychic death, and violent, suicidal despair. Working within this collapse in analysis enabled the deep reason for the patient’s breakdown in early life to unfold. And, most importantly, it engendered the crucial possibility that had never been experienced before, of reliving the patient’s unbearable breakdown and deadness — this time patient-with-analyst t(w)ogether — and experientially coming through it differently. Yet it still remains without an ending of love.  
10:00 - 10:15 am   Welcome and introductions
10:15 - 11:30 am    Ofra Eshel: theoretical presentation
11:30 - 11:45 am   Q&A & discussion with the participants
11:45 am - 12:15 pm   Break
12:15 - 1:45 pm   Ofra Eshel: clinical analysis
1:45 - 2:00 pm   Q & A & discussion with the participants


Learning Objectives:

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

  • Summarize the psychoanalytic understanding of perversion and its changes over the last hundred years: Freud's classical drive model and its vicissitudes, the object-relations model (Stoller, Socarides Khan, Ogden, and French theories of perversion), and the Kohutian Self-psychology model
  • Explain the understanding of perversion and its treatment by regarding perversion formation as an “autotomous,” massive splitting defense in the service of psychic survival within violent and deeply traumatic early childhood situations
  • Discuss the reliving of the early breakdown and deadness in the treatment experience with the analyst as described in this analysis of the severely fetishistic-masochistic patient
  • Assess the patient’s longing to experience and feel, within the psychoanalytic treatment, a core capacity to love that has been subjected to annihilative destruction or hatred


Photo of Ofra EshelOfra Eshel is a faculty member, training and supervising analyst of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA); vice-president of the International Winnicott Association (IWA); founder and head of the postgraduate track "Independent Psychoanalysis: Radical Breakthroughs" at the advanced studies of the Program of Psychotherapy, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Her papers have been published in psychoanalytic journals and books and presented in national and international conferences all over the world. She is in private practice in Tel Aviv, Israel. 


Photo of Ofra Eshel's book

“Ofra Eshel offers a radical change in the way we conceive of the analytic endeavor, a change that opens new possibilities for everyone... She discusses and clinically illustrates what it is to be there with the patient so thoroughly that a new subjective entity and depth of experiencing emerges...” --Thomas Ogden


Target audience: Experienced mental health professionals

3.25 CE/CME Credits

Registration: Free, with CE/CME credit


This Conference was made possible by the Leonard J. Comess Israel Teaching Fund, the Stoller Lecture Fund, and the New Center for Psychoanalysis.
Conference Coordinator: Dahlia Nissan Russ, PsyD, LCSW

Conference Committee: Peter Loewenberg, PhD; David James Fisher, PhD; Meiram Bendat, JD, PhD; Rina Freedman, PsyD; and Committee Chair Dahlia Nissan Russ PsyD, LCSW

Program Subcommittee: Michael Gales, MD, Heather Silverman, MD, co-chairs; and Thomas Brod, MD



"How do I get my CE/CME Credit?"

  1. Pre-Register below
    • If you are registering for the first time you will receive a welcome email. You must follow the directions in this email to complete your registration in order to access your certificates. 
  2. You will receive an email with an evaluation 2 days after the event
  3. Complete the evaluation
  4. Wait 2 business days
  5. Download your Certificate on the NCP website



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 3.25 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.


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