There are three vehicles for learning through OSPS:  Seminars, a course titled Foundations in Psychoanalytic Thought, and Study Groups.  In the left hand column below you will find a listing of our monthly seminars.  Speakers come from all over the country as well as locally to discuss a myriad of analytic ideas.  We offer CEUs for these events and they vary in length from 2 to 5 hours. 

Our course in Foundations in Psychoanalytic Thought is an intensive survey course covering Freud, Object Relations, and relational theories.  It starts in late August or early September and ends in May and meets on Friday afternoons from 1-4.  This is a very popular course and we encourage you to get more details in the right hand column. 

Study Groups are a fun way to learn about a specific topic.  Typically study groups are short term and cover a topic the faculty is interested in but we also have a few study groups that are longer term and cover a subject in great depth.  Occassionally we will start a study group to correspond with a speaker's presentation at one of our seminars.  If you are interested in a particular subject and would like OSPS to start a study group on that topic, please contact Sharon Neuwald at

We hope you will find a spot in one or more of these areas of OSPS that feels like a professional home. 

M. Gerard Fromm, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

8:30am to 9:00am Registration

9:00am to 12:00pm Presentation

Fear of Breakdown and Fear of Breakthrough

“Something happened,” says Winnicott in one of his last and most evocative papers, but the person wasn’t there for it to happen to. Yet the traces of this Thing – reminiscent of Freud’s Das Ding - are ever tugging and always on the horizon. This “flash of insight” – one of many during an electrifying period of theory development for Winnicott – is grounded in clinical work with psychotic and traumatized patients. If we take the first sentence of this paragraph literally, we could also read it as an inter-generational truth for all of us: something indeed happened to our parents; we may not have been there but we were on the horizon.

In this presentation, I will examine Winnicott’s fear of breakdown idea as it may relate to the transmission of trauma across generations. This growing field of study considers the psychological impact of trauma-related anxiety as it is communicated unconsciously from one generation to the next. Often related to the devastating consequences of socio-historical events, such unbearable and uncontainable feelings silently but powerfully fall onto and into the next generation, with serious consequences for the normal development of relationships between parent and child. At the end of his paper, Winnicott, at his most eloquent, turns his formulation around and speaks of nothing happening, when something could have happened. Might this tragically empty moment also speak to the fear of breakthrough both parent and child sense as they stumble into the fallout of trauma one has been carrying for the other?

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Martha Stark, M.D.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

8:30am to 9:00am Registration

9:00am to 12:00pm Presentation

A Heart Shattered, Relentless Despair, and the Unlived Life

Patients who have never fully confronted – and grieved – the pain of their early-on heartbreak will often cling to their hope that perhaps someday the “object of their desire” will be forthcoming. But there are others who, because of catastrophically shattering early-on disappointments and losses, withdraw completely from the “world of objects” – only to find themselves then overwhelmed with a terrifying sense of alienation, existential angst, and harrowing loneliness. Instead of “relentless hope,” their experience is of “relentless despair.”

Clinical vignettes will be offered that speak to how the therapist, ever attuned to the patient’s intense ambivalence about “remaining hidden vs. being found,” can facilitate the emergence of “moments of authentic meeting” that will restore purpose, meaning, and direction to an existence that was otherwise desolate, impenetrable, and empty.

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Foundations Two Course for the 2018-2019 Academic Year

This class has a full enrollment. If you would like to be on the waiting list for future spots in this course, please contact Carol Mason-Straughan at

Specific dates TBA

The OSPS Education Committee is pleased to announce a Foundations Two course for the 2018-2019 academic year, offered to students who have completed Foundations One. To facilitate deep and focused discussion, enrollment will be limited to the first eight registrations received, with names drawn if multiple registrations are post-marked on the same day. Please consider carefully the course description attached. If after reading you have interest and feel able to commit to the level of participation needed from students, please return the attached registration form and deposit as soon as possible. The enthusiasm for and participation in Foundations One over the years has been excellent and much-appreciated, and we are excited to offer Foundations Two as a next step in learning more about a psychoanalytic way of working.

Register Today