Webinars: September 5 – September 28, 2011: Co-led by Hazel Ipp and Margaret Black

Clinical Challenges: Impasse or Opportunity

The webinar will begin on September 5 and will run until September 28.

With its emphasis on difficult passages in analysis, on the analytic relationship, and on the context within which analytic impasses are best examined, the seminar particularly lends itself to clinical application and consideration.

The term impasse was introduced into the analytic literature to describe a sense of clinical staleness, where the generative potential of the process had been lost to boredom, a sense of stuckness, or chronic dissatisfaction in the patient and/or the analyst. While initially attributed to resistance in the patient, in redefining the clinical process as fundamentally intersubjective, relational psychoanalysis has encouraged a more creative unpacking of these experiences. They are now seeing them as expressing an aspect of a relationship in trouble, with the subjective experience of patient and analyst often part of an enactment of crucial or difficult-to-articulate areas in the patient’s inner world, reachable only by a certain amount of risk-taking in both partners.

Beginning with papers by Symington and Black, we will consider the kind of complex experience the analyst must be able to hold in order to both emotionally experience and meaningfully participate in the enactment while engaging it within a disciplined analytic processing.  In our second and third weeks, we will focus directly on clinical experiences of impasse and enactment, using examples supplied by the workshop participants to open up and play with the complex array of issues that can be involved.

Participants are asked to supply, before the seminar officially begins, anonymous brief (3 typed pages) clinical examples for the group to consider. The author of this material will not be identified in the seminar and will not be invited to directly comment on it as it is discussed. We will use the material to “imagine ourselves into” the process so we can play with different approaches or understandings of situations that are common to all our clinical work.


Hazel Ipp, PhD is a Founding Board Member and Past President of IARPP; Founding Board Member and Vice President of the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis:  Faculty and Supervisor At TICP; IASP; TCCP and ISIPSe (Rome); Joint Editor-in-Chief, Psychoanalytic Dialogues.  Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the International Journal of Self Psychology

Margaret J. Black, LCSW, is a Founding Board Member and Vice-President of IARPP and a Founding Board Member and Faculty of the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. She is a Board Director, Director of Continuing Education and Supervisor at NIP,  an Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and a member of the Editorial Board for Studies in Gender and Sexuality. She is the co-author, with Stephen Mitchell, of Freud and Beyond: a History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought.


Neville Symington :The Analyst’s Act of Freedom as Agent of Therapeutic Change. 1983 The International Review of psycho-Analysis.
Black, Margaret, (2003) Enactment: Psychoanalytic musings on energy, transformation and personal growth, PD 13(5): 633-655.

All IARPP Webinars are currently limited to 20 participants and they fill up quickly. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For this reason, those interested in participating are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Priority will be given to those who have not participated in previous webinars.

Participation in the webinar is limited to IARPP members in good standing, so please make sure that you have paid your current dues.