This past semester, CPPNJ offered a course on neuro-psychoanalysis for the first time. Psychoanalysis and the Brain was taught by Dr. Harlene Goldschmidt for advanced CPPNJ candidates. The course incorporated readings from Solms as well as Allan Schore (Affect regulation and the Repair of the Self, 2003), Louis Cozolino (The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building & Rebuilding the Human Brain, 2002) and Dan Siegal (The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brian Interact to Shape Who We Are, 1999). Topics included an overview and history of neuro-psychoanalysis, the unconscious, emotions, memory, dreams, attachment, projective identification and working alliance as each of these related to brain functioning. Several of the candidates taking the course acknowledged some apprehension at the beginning due to a lack of background in neuroscience. By the end of the semester, however, the understanding and integration of the material was evident in class discussions as well as the written assignment.

For CPPNJ faculty, a monthly reading group began in February of this year. The group is currently reading Allan Schore’s book, Affect Regulation and Repair of the Self (2003). Discussions of projective identification, affect dysregulation and the dissociative process in patients, as well as therapists, have led to interesting and helpful exchanges. The importance of “reparative withdrawal” for the therapist in order to autoregulate himself or herself is looked at both clinically and in terms of brain processing. It is rewarding to have an increased understanding of the brain and nervous system as a means to better contain and manage difficult emotionally charged experiences of patients’ suffering from early, pre-verbal and traumatic experiences. In these ways, therapists gain additional awareness of and ability to work with transference-countertransference dynamics.