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Mutative Action: From Insight to Productive Use of Uncomfortable Countertransference

Thursday, May 19th @ 8:00 pm 9:30 pm

Description of the Workshop

Dr. Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.

Presented by Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.

The relative value of insight as a mutative factor in psychoanalysis has long been a central question in the literature. Most analysts now believe that although insight has clear value, it isn’t normally sufficient to produce structural change in most patients. Alternatively, the tide has shifted strongly to the view that the analytic relationship per se has more explanatory power in understanding why patients change. This workshop attempts to deconstruct which elements of the analytic relationship might have the most mutative power. My argument reflects the belief that analysts’ productive use of uncomfortable countertransference experience is key to ideal therapeutic outcome, whereas failure to productively use countertransference experience, usually experience that is consciously recognized by the analyst, is the primary factor in contributing to compromised or failed analyses. 

Dr. Hirsch’s recent Psychoanalytic Dialogues paper on this topic will be made available upon registration. Attendees are urged to read the paper prior to the workshop so that our time with Dr. Hirsch can be used for discussion. He will share a clinical vignette and requests that participants be prepared with their own vignettes as well.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the workshop, participants should be able to:

  • appreciate the increasingly popular notion that insight alone does not lead to dramatic therapeutic change.
  • recognize the clinical importance of being honest enough to admit to oneself that certain subjects are avoided because they lead to emotional discomfort for the therapist.
  • promote the freedom to explicitly address with patients the transference themes that make the therapist uneasy.

Date & Time

Thursday, May 19, 2022, 8:00 – 9:30 pm (EDT)
via Zoom

Fees & CE Credits

  • Free for SIPP Members
  • $50.00 for Non-Members*
  • 1.5 CEs for NYS-licensed social workers and psychologist are available for this workshop**

* If you are not a SIPP member, please use the Non-Member Registration option. In order to receive the Zoom link for this event, payment must be made at the time of registration.
** Continuing Education credits: The Suffolk Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0133.


Last day to register is May 18, 2022


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Due to some technical problems with the website, if you are having trouble completing your registration, please email [email protected] with your name, email address, license number and discipline indicating that you wish to register. Please write “Registration for Irwin Hirsch Event” in the subject line. Non-members, please use Venmo to pay the $50.00 registration fee — @suffolkinstitute. We apologize for the inconvenience as we sort out these technical issues. Thank you.