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. 

Penelope S. Starr-Karlin

Saturday, March 17, 2018

8:30am to 9:00am Registration

9:00am to 12:00pm Presentation

Traumatic States and the Phoenix Myth: The Journey From Dissociation to Integration- The Royal Road of Image, Word, and Relationship

Mythology and dreams have most consistently been adopted for use by Jung’s analytical psychology but I will demonstrate their usefulness to contemporary psychoanalytic work by using a relational-systems approach called intersubjective-systems theory. The case involves an analysand whose analysis was abruptly terminated when her analyst ‘disappeared’ leaving her in a traumatized state. Our dialogic exploration of meaning in the myth brought dissociated experience into language and assisted with the integration of the trauma through imaginative use of mental images evoked by the stories.

More than a simple metaphor of self-renewal, the Phoenix myth has a richness of culturally elaborated sub-plots known as mythemes, that relate to the following existential moods and affects - loss of the absolutes of everyday life, a reduced sense of being, alienation, isolation, uncanniness, being-toward-death, traumatic temporality, resoluteness, and solicitude (Stolorow 2007, 2011). These will be described, along with the way mythemes and dreams can assist in the process of bringing dissociated or pre-verbal affect into language. I conclude that this ancient myth’s longevity (pre-dating the pharaohs of Egypt) may be due to a useful psychological function, that of facilitating survivors' ability to integrate catastrophic loss, because its images can aid in the organizing of unformulated unconscious experience.

The Phoenix Myth-  The phoenix was said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant red and gold plumage. Only one phoenix existed at any one time, and it was very long-lived. As its death approached, the phoenix fashioned a nest of aromatic boughs and spices in the tallest tree, and the nest was consumed in flames. From that pyre miraculously sprang a new phoenix, which, after embalming its parents’ remains in an egg of myrrh, flew to Heliopolis (“City of the Sun”), where it gently placed the egg on the altar in the temple of the Egyptian god of the sun, Ra.

Important Relocation Information: The Penelope S. Starr-Karlin Workshop scheduled for Saturday, March 17th has been moved to the auditorium of the OU College of Public Health, located at 801 NE 13th Street.

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Danielle Knafo, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

8:30am to 9:00am Registration

9:00am to 12:00pm Presentation

Guys & Dolls: Intimacy in a Technological Age

What is it that makes a doll the ideal woman in a man’s eyes? Why would a man prefer a doll to a real woman? The Pygmalion myth, in which a man creates the woman of his dreams, indicates that the appeal of a man-made woman reaches far back in time.

We are living in an age of unprecedented technological advances. These changes are influencing what it means to be human and how we relate to each other and to inanimate objects. The subculture of men whose desire is directed at high-end love dolls is discussed. Jack, who called himself an "iDollator," was living happily with his doll, Maya for 2 years. Eventually, he sought therapy. This lecture discusses how both he and Dr. Knafo changed in the process. It also raises questions regarding the future of relational life.

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