Focus on Affect and Expression of Emotion

  • Thursday, October 15, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • online
  • 64


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Focus on Affect and Expression of Emotion

Thursday, 15 October 2020
7:00pm--8:30pm on Zoom
$10 for non-members; no additional cost to members
To become a member, go to
Registration required

Contrary to common misconceptions, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy focus on affect and expression of emotion. This is the first of the seven "distinctive features" of psychodynamic technique enumerated by Shedler. He wrote,

Psychodynamic therapy encourages exploration and discussion of the full range of a patient’s emotions. The therapist helps the patient describe and put words to feel- ings, including contradictory feelings, feelings that are troubling or threatening, and feelings that the patient may not initially be able to recognize or acknowledge (this stands in contrast to a cognitive focus, where the greater emphasis is on thoughts and beliefs; Blagys & Hilsenroth, 2002; Burum & Goldfried, 2007).

We invite you to take part in seven meetings, one each month, beginning in September, 2020. The starting point for these meetings is Johnathan Shedler’s seminal article, “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy” (2010). (Shedler's 2010 article and other related articles are available for free download from A panel (Robertson, Harris, and Waide) and various special guests will guide each discussion. For the October meeting, our guest speaker will be Volney Gay, Ph.D. His summary:

Dynamic therapists locate conflicting emotions within the patient's earliest efforts to remain connected to caregivers (Attachment) and to avoid overwhelming anxiety, aptly called annihilation anxiety. Threats to attachment and evocations of annihilation anxiety take precedence over all other feelings, including physical suffering and emotional pain. For example, if attachment security seems to require attacks on one's body 0r mind (so-called masochism), persons will pay that cost. What clinicians call "character pathology" or "neuroses" are the adaptive products of these transactions: challenging those adaptations, through the transference-countertransference (T-CT) drama, arouses intense anxiety which, in turn, evokes "resistance" to the therapeutic progress. Working through T-CT dramas requires the patient and therapist to come through a crisis together. 

The first meeting provided an overview of Shedler’s 2010 article, some discussion of responses to it, and a brief introduction to the seven distinctive features of psychodynamic technique. The following six meetings will expand on the features Shedler outlines in his article. Registration on this website is required (if you're having difficulties registering, contact John Waide,, along with a $10.00 fee for non-members of the organization. Meetings will begin at 7:00PM and end at 8:30PM. We recommend that you read the Shedler article, which you can download here.


Volney Gay, PhD, is a member of the American  Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, Supervising and Training Analyst, St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, and Professor Emeritus at Vanderbilt University.  He has published nine books; the most recent is "On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: the Hidden Face of American Slavery."

Marsha Robertson, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and certified psychoanalyst in private practice in Nashville. She serves on the faculty of St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute where she is a training and supervising analyst. In 2001, she along with John Waide, PhD started the Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program of Nashville, acting as co-director for twelve years.

G. Channing Harris, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in Colorado.  He completed the Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy program in 2012. 

John Waide, Ph.D., LCSW is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice. A graduate of the Saint Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, in 2001 he co-founded (with Marsha Robertson, LCSW) the Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (APP) program of the Nashville Center for Psychoanalysis & Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (NC3P) and served as co-director for many years.

* A Certificate of Continuing Education is offered for those who complete this educational event. They may or may not be recognized by some professional organizations and licensing agencies. After completing registration you will receive instructions on how to receive a certificate of continuing education.

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