Psychic Reality in Context: Perspectives on Psychoanalysis, Personal History and Trauma with Marion Oliner at CFS

Dropped on:February 1, 2013
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27 Rue de Fleurus:
Salon Meetings of the Contemporary Freudian Society
Debra Gill and Nancy Cromer Grayson: Co Chairs
Meetings coordinated by Susan Finkelstein

Date and Time: Wednesday, March 20th, 8:00 to 9:30 PM
RSVP: Nancy Cromer-Grayson at
Presenter: Marion Oliner, Ph.D

Dr Oliner will discuss talk about ideas from her book “Psychic Reality in Context: Perspectives on Psychoanalysis, Personal History and Trauma”

This is a history, my history, filled with drama and tragedy from which I emerged as you see me today. I was born a German Jew and had the good fortune to tell the story to a large audience in Berlin, at the time of the IPA Congress. It turned out to have been a very meaningful event for me, and apparently also for the audience as well. These experiences led me to reflect on the three treatments I had undergone and what I found most helpful. It also made me think of the years of silence and shame followed eventually by such a public reception. And it led me to question whether psychoanalytic theory had an integrated view of the interplay between inside and outside. Was it not true that we have diagnostic terms based on the events in people’s lives, incest survivor, Holocaust survivor, and I am sure everyone can think of other labels. Here then we implicitly give greater importance to historic events than to psychodynamic issues. In the literature, on the other hand, I found that there was a distinct negative attitude to using external reality in psychoanalytic treatments. These thoughts developed in the course of the years I practiced and led me to question some aspects of psychoanalytic theory that I have found undynamic: repetition compulsion, generational transmission of trauma, and the use of identification, but not sufficiently as a complex process but almost as if we could say because one parent had this trait the child has it without exploring motivations.

In addition to her most recent book “ Psychic Reality in Context, Dr. Oliner is the author of “Cultivating Freud’s Garden in France” (Aronson 1988). She also belonged to a study group: The Effect of the Holocaust on Children of Survivors and contributed an article on hysterical features among children of survivors. Over the years she has taught, written and published. She eventually re-established a connection with Germany. Dr. Oliner has probably been a member of every committee of the New York Freudian Society including the Board. Teaching and overseeing Ethics was a specialty.

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