Dr. Akhtar will be joining us for two days of good stuff! In his sessions, he will talk about the harmony of six different emotions and attitudes that when relationally present – particularly in the context of psychotherapy – enrich our human existence. It is Dr. Akhtar’s conviction that these emotions and attributes can be evoked or diminished in our psychotherapy experiences.
Session I: Generosity
The first session will focus on the nature and developmental origins of generosity. The psychopathological syndromes of generosity (unrelenting, begrudging, fluctuating, controlling, and beguiling) will also be discussed while bringing awareness to the implications these have in conducting psychotherapy. The theme will be elucidated under these headings: 1) having and maintaining an attitude of generosity towards the patient; 2) listening and intervening with an attitude of generosity; 3) recognizing and accepting the patient’s healthy generosity; 4) diagnosing and interpreting the patient’s pathological generosity; 5) unmasking and interpreting the defenses against generosity; and, 6) remaining vigilant towards the counter-transference pitfalls in such psychotherapy work.
Session II: Gratitude
The second session will focus on the nature and developmental origins of gratitude. The four psychopathologies that can emerge (anxious deflection, guilty intensification, narcissistic denial, and sociopathic absence) will also be discussed. The implications of these ideas to conducting psychotherapy will be illustrated as follows: 1) feeling and expressing gratitude in response to the patient’s gestures of kindness; 2) appreciating and accepting the patient’s healthy gratitude; 3) diagnosing and interpreting the patient’s conflicts around gratitude; 4) making developmentally-oriented interventions to enhance the emerging capacity for gratitude; and, 5) remaining vigilant towards the countertransference pitfalls in such work.
Session III: Courage
This session will focus on the nature and developmental origins of courage. Various forms of courage including physical, intellectual, and moral courage will be highlighted. Distinction will be made between primary fearlessness (‘un-fear’) and secondary fearlessness, as well as counterphobia on the one hand, and courage on the other. The implications of these ideas to the conduct of psychotherapy will be revealed; especially as these pertain to the patient’s courage and to the psychotherapist’s courage. Illustrative vignettes from daily life and culture-at-large will be presented.
Session IV: Forgiveness
This session will describe the psychodynamic underpinnings of granting and seeking forgiveness. It will illuminate the developmental substrata of these capacities and will delineate eight psychopathological syndromes related to forgiveness: inability to forgive; forgiving too readily; pseudo-forgiveness; constantly seeking others’ forgiveness; never seeking forgiveness; inability to accept forgiveness when it is given; forgiving others but not forgiving oneself; and, forgiving oneself and not forgiving others. The relevance of these developmental and phenomenological notions as they relate to the technical aspects of psychotherapy work will also be discussed.
Session V: Love
This session will describe the components of mature love. It will also examine the pathological syndromes associated with love life: inability to fall in love; inability to remain in love; falling in love with the ‘wrong’ kinds of people; inability to fall out of love; and, inability to feel loved. Love in the clinical context will also be considered and an integrated approach to malignant erotic transference will be presented.
Session VI: Hope
This session will begin with tracing the developmental origins of hope. It will also discuss the role of ordinary hopelessness during normal development. Pathological hope and the “someday…” fantasy will be addressed. Among the clinical issues that this presentation will illustrate are: 1) the role of hope in establishing therapeutic alliance; 2) the therapist as the conveyor of hope; and, 3) interpreting and resolving pathological hope to convert it into realistic hope.