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Dyads, Triads, and the Impingement of Racism: A Case Presentation with Two Commentaries

April 8, 2022 — 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The panel will begin with a presentation of the analysis of a woman, the daughter of immigrants. The case presentation will focus on the impact of the patient’s early family dynamics with a focus on both dyadic- and triadic-level concerns. That is, those deriving from infancy and those related to infantile sexuality as defined by Freud. It will also focus on the patient’s relationship with race and her experience of racism, particularly in the context of the transference to her White analyst.

The first discussant will assert that the story, as it unfolds in the work with her analyst, is organized around profound trauma from the patient’s early life. The discussant will highlight the ways that this patient is separated/dissociated from her body, as though the physical size of her body grounds more concretely her more fragile internal emotional self—the hidden baby self.  The discussant will also explore the early dyadic roots in the relationship between the patient and her mother and the turbulence that disrupted any containment and safety in her childhood.

The second discussant will explore the ways that race and racism are elaborated upon in unconscious fantasy. This discussion will look at the ways that the meanings ascribed to race are utilized in the mind to construct unconscious narratives articulating the full range of intrapsychic and interpersonal experience. On one hand, there is the influence of the familial context as it interacts with the bodily, the mental and the infantile. On the other hand, there is the experience of being othered and devalued on the basis of race and ethnicity in the extra-familial environment. The interweaving of both of these central aspects of the patient’s self-representation and unconscious conflicts will be elaborated in this case.


Justine Kalas Reeves is a child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst in Washington, DC, and also a TA/SA at the Contemporary Freudian Society.  Dr. Kalas Reeves teaches at CFS and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.  She has written about child and adolescent psychoanalysis in journals and book chapters, and has presented papers at the Anna Freud Centre, the IPA and APsaA. Recently she had a chapter in Finding the Piggle, a book-length collection of essays edited by Corinne Masur which was awarded a Gradiva award.

Marie Murphy is a Training and Supervising Analyst with the Contemporary Freudian Society and is currently the Institute Director of CFS in Washington, DC, where she is also on the faculty.  She has a particular interest in the areas of primitive and unrepresented states of mind, early trauma, female development, and narcissistic disorders. She has presented both nationally and internationally. She maintains a private practice in Bethesda, Maryland.

Michael Krass is a training and supervising analyst at the Contemporary Freudian Society as well as its president and where he teaches in the analytic institute. He has published in JAPA, Division/Review and The American Psychoanalyst.  He is a two-time winner of the Plumsock Award and both papers were included in The Plumsock Papers: Giving New Analysts a Voice. He has written and presented extensively on Bionian and Winnicottian approaches to understanding and working with patients on the autism spectrum at conferences including those of APsaA, the IPA and New Directions.  In addition, he has written about and presented on the use of the analyst’s reverie as a central source of analytic data.  He has a practice of psychoanalysis, as well as adult and child psychotherapy in Falls Church, VA. In addition, he supervises clinicians both nationally and internationally.

In addition, Dr. Kalas Reeves, Ms. Murphy, and Dr. Krass have together been leading a discussion group at the APsaA annual meetings focusing on clinical approaches to managing impingements on the analyst’s containing function.  Topics have included examining the impact of such intrusions as the election of Donald Trump the night before a session, a patient’s delusion-driven accusations of the therapist engaging in unethical behavior, a patient’s involvement in dangerous BDSM sex, and the analyst’s receiving a disturbing email from a colleague right before beginning a session.  They have also presented together at several IPA congresses, focusing on the analyst’s processing and use of highly anxiety-provoking clinical scenarios.

Program Fee:  $60 General/$50 CFS Members/$30 Candidates & Students

Learning objectives:

At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the ways that concerns at both the dyadic and triadic levels manifest and are evident in psychoanalytic
  2. Recognize the ways that, particularly for patients who are people of color, race, otherness, racism and othering are experiences that both need to be symbolized through unconscious fantasy in order to be managed, as well as provide nodal points attracting unconscious fantasy related to infantile
  3. Make the connection between turbulence in the mother-baby dyad and difficulties in adulthood regulating eating and

Who Should Attend: The instructional level for this activity is advanced.  Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.

Continuing Education Credits:

NY Social Workers: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0087

NY Psychoanalysts: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0021.

NY Licensed Psychologists: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provide of continuing education for Licensed Psychologists #PSY-0017.

Psychologists: The CFS is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The CFS maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  (DC, MD and VA Psychologist licensing boards accept CE credits provided by an APA approved Sponsor.  All other psychologists should check with their licensing boards.)

DC, MD and VA Social Workers: The Social Work Boards of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will grant continuing education credits to social workers attending a program offered by an APA authorized sponsor.

CE credits will only be granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program and completed online evaluation form. No partial credit will be offered. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements.  Upon completion of this program and online evaluation form, participants will be granted 2 CE credits.

Important Disclosure Information:

None of the planners and presenters of this program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.


April 8, 2022
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


By Zoom


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