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"More Than One Can Live”: Reconceiving Harm and Reparation in the Intersubjective World

posted Aug 18, 2021, 8:00 PM by Houston Psychoanalytic Society
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
"More Than One Can Live”:
Reconceiving Harm and Reparation in the Intersubjective World

Presented by Jessica Benjamin, PhD
Saturday, September 25, 2021
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Central Time
(includes a 15-min break & 45-min. lunch)


Live via Zoom
*Pre-Registration required for Zoom invitation

Registration Fees
Active Members: FREE
Friend Members: FREE
Student Members: FREE
Non-members: $200

The lecture will juxtapose the intrapsychic idea of reparation, based on understanding the unconscious anxieties of harming the love object, with the intersubjective ideas of repairing rupture and restoring recognition. That is, it aims to use and also reformulate the Kleinian idea of reparation of the internal object. Researchers have noted a process beginning in infancy of rupture and repair, generating the experience of a lawful world of secure attachment. Jessica Benjamin calls this the moral Third.

In the absence of intersubjective repair the child may interpret her need for acknowledgment and soothing as destructive (destabilizing) to the needed other. This formulation allows us to see how enactments in the analytic relationship become governed by mutual fear of harming. Fear of harming and being injured drives the doer-done to complementarity involving both partners. Acknowledgment of fears and injury arising in enactment are therapeutically essential and strengthen the moral Third. We also consider the social implications of modifying the doer-done to complementary relation via the experience of two minds recognizing each other.

These ideas will be further explored as Dr. Benjamin conducts a live case consultation with clinical material provided by Tyson Davis, PsyD.  

  1. Identify anxieties related to the belief that one's own needs are destructive.
  2. Describe how emotional safety is influenced by recognition of distress and the dynamic of rupture and repair including therapeutic acknowledgment.
  3. Explain how therapists and patients can extricate themselves from enactments based in dissociation.
Jessica Benjamin, PhD is best known as the author of The Bonds of Love (1988), which is translated into many languages, and of “Beyond Doer and Done To: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness” (2004), the basis for her recent book, Beyond Doer and done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third (2018). In addition, she is the author of  Like Subjects, Love Objects (1995); and Shadow of the Other (1998). Her article “Beyond Doer and Done To: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness” has been one of the most frequently cited articles on PEP web for many years. She has been one of the leaders in the relational movement in psychoanalysis since its inception. She teaches and supervises at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis as well as at the Stephen Mitchell Relational Studies Center of which she is a co-founder. She also initiated and participated in a series of workshops for mental health and community professionals in Israel/Palestine called The Acknowledgment Project.
Tyson Davis, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Austin, Texas. He operates from a relational psychoanalytic framework. His practice focuses on providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy for individuals, couples therapy, and consultation for clinicians. Dr. Davis completed his doctorate at Biola University and earned a certificate in Adult Psychoanalysis from the Institute of Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia (IRPP). 

Tronick, E. (1989). Emotions and emotional communication in infants. American Psychologist, 44: 112-119.

Benjamin, J. (2004). Beyond doer and done to: An intersubjective view of Thirdness. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 73: 5-46

Winnicott, D. W. (1971) The use of an object and relating through identification. In Playing and Reality. New York: Penguin.
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
1302 Waugh Dr. #276
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 429-5810

Houston Psychoanalytic Society is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Houston Psychoanalytic Society maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Houston Psychoanalytic Society, through co-sponsorship with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, also offers approved CEs for social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

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 American Psychoanalytic Association, Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Houston Psychoanalytic Society. 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 a maximum of 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies* whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. 

*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company.
-Updated July 2021-