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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

The Seductive Allure of the Bad Object:

The Childhood Origins of Attachments in Abusive Relationships

A 1-day seminar led by Dr David Celani

Friday 23 February 2018 - London

09.30   Registration and coffee

Fairbairn's structural model of object relations
Fairbairn was the first theorist to propose a psychoanalytic model based on the internalization of memories of actual interpersonal events experienced by the child. He assumed that internal structures were formed, layer upon layer, from memories of both of loving/supportive interactions, as well as memories of frustrating/depriving interactions. The child's complete, and absolute dependency on his needed parent (the object) makes parental failures, including indifference, neglect or actual abuse, intolerable for him to acknowledge or remember. If the child was consciously aware of these, this awareness would leave him in a state of abandonment and terror. The solution to this dilemma is for the child to dissociate interpersonal toxic events, and these now unconscious memories of the self in relation to a parent gradually structures in his inner world.
11.15   Coffee

The dynamic relationship between pathological ego structures
The Fairbairn Structural model proposes three different sets of self-and-object pairs: The first is the conscious self, called the Central Ego, which relates only to the available parts of the parent, called the Ideal Object. This self remains conscious because the helpful/supportive parent is welcomed and contains no toxic elements. The second pair of mostly unconscious self and object internalizations comes from parental failures that are intolerable to the young child, and they merge into a view of the toxic parent (the Rejecting Object) in relation to the frightened, humiliated and shamed child (The Antilibidinal Ego). Finally, the child creates hope for himself by focusing on real or imagined loving/promising aspects of the same parent called the Exciting Object, and the child experiences himself as worthy of love that seems to be just around the corner. This self was called the Libidinal Ego. These self-components relate only to their specific object, and each pair is isolated from and unknown to the other two pairs. We shall consider how to recognise and work with these aspects to provide effective psychotherapy.
13.00   Lunch

Examples of internalized structures in the hysteric, obsessive and borderline personality disorder
Fairbairn's Model assumes that each individual has experienced a unique set of developmental events, yet certain common forms of parental failure tend to produce individuals that have similar diagnoses. For instance, women who report that they experienced both rejecting and seductive paternal behavior internalize this pattern in their rejecting object structure. Their antilibidinal self will see men as rejecting, while their libidinal ego will see men as exciting, and the pattern of splitting men from exciting objects to rejecting objects will continue in their external relationships and in the transference. Children who are exposed to self-righteous cruelty during development that was disguised as "guidance" by their parents often develop an overly aggressive antilibidinal ego and contempt of others which will be repeated in their relationships with others and in the transference. Finally the borderline, who was repeatedly abandoned during development, becomes hyper-vigilant to any empathetic failure of the therapist, and will split the therapist frequently while remaining extremely dependent on him/her.
15.30   Tea

Becoming a good object for the patient
Fairbairn emphasized the role of the good object in the treatment of patients as a pathway that would allow them to break their pattern of pursuing bad (frustrating ) objects. Fairbairn assumed that the attachment to a good object would allow their stalled development to resume. This positive scenario does not account for patient resistance to the "goodness" of the object (which may seem foreign to them) nor does it factor in the patient's loyalty to his bad objects which is often based on a hope that they can "cure" the bad object and turn them into good objects.
17.00   End

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Handouts and lunch included
This event only
Self-funded: £130 (Sold out)
Self-funded x 2: £200 (Sold out)
Organisationally-funded: £200 (Sold out)

This event and the seminar Exciting Bad-Objects? on Saturday 24 Feb 2018 (Sold out)
Self-funded: £230 (Sold out)
Self-funded x 2: £390 (Sold out)
Organisationally-funded: £380 (Sold out)

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 5 hours will be provided at the event

Grange Fitzrovia Hotel
Bolsover Street

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch break
15:30 Tea
17:00 End