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Institute of CFS

Everyday Sadomasochism: A Concept Bridging Psychoanalysis and Sociology

One Session Progam (1.5 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Lynn Chancer, PhD and Christian Churchill, PhD, LP
Date: Friday, January 22, 2021
Location: Online via Zoom
Time: 1:30-3:00pm EST

As psychoanalytic clinicians, we are familiar with sadomasochistic dynamics in the treatment room. How can we benefit from thinking more about the cultural dimensions of these dynamics?

In her book Sadomasochism in Everyday Life, Lynn Chancer advances the provocative thesis that sadomasochism is far more prevalent in contemporary societies like the United States than we realize. Sexual sadomasochism, she argues, is only the best-known manifestation of what is actually a much more broadly based social phenomenon. She suggests that the structure of societies organized along patriarchal and capitalistic lines reflects and perpetuates a sadomasochistic social psychology, creating a culture steeped in everyday experiences of dominance and subordination. She places sadomasochism in a broader context by exploring whether and how it appears in the workplace and how it relates to gender and race.

Audience participation is welcome. We encourage you to bring thoughts about your practice and our current cultural and political environment and the ways these intersect. Participants are encouraged to read parts or all of Dr. Chancer's book, if possible, though this is not necessary for participation.

Lynn Chancer, PhD, Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Sociology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is author of Sadomasochism in Everyday Life: The Dynamics of Power and Powerlessness ​(Rutgers University Press 1992) and, most recently, ​After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism: Taking Back a Revolution​ (Stanford University Press 2019).

Christian Churchill, PhD, LP, Director of the Psychoanalytic Training Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society (New York), is co-author of ​The Enigmatic Academy: Class, Bureaucracy, and Religion in American Education​ (Temple University Press 2012), and has a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in Manhattan.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Explain the connection between sociological thinking about aggression and submission to psychodynamic thinking about sadomasochistic patients.
  2. Identify how sadomasochistic thinking and behavior which originates in a patient's anal-sadistic introjects creates a sadomasochistic world reflecting their inner conflicts.
  3. Discuss how sociological thinking about sadomasochism can enhance psychoanalytic approaches to transference and countertransference aspects of sadomasochism in clinical situations.

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.

DC, MD and VA 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 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 1.5 CE credits.

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

Important Disclosure Information:

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

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