Trauma and Unmentalized States Study Group

Instructor: Judy K Eekhoff, PhD, FIPA

Trauma according to Freud (1920) is defined by the failure of the internal contact barrier to protect the psyche from bombardment. Feeling bombarded is an internal response to either an internal or an external event arising when our necessary defensive organizations fail us. The internal response, one of overwhelm, shuts down the capacity to think, leaving an unmentalized state that is present but not memorable. Whereas we all have unmentalized states, trauma impacts ones ability to process and make meaning out of experience.

This study group will review the processes of mentalization as they serve to bind anxiety and unconscious conflict. Symbolization and the ability to verbalize intense emotional experiences serves to contain and limit overwhelm. The study group will examine the impact that early psychological trauma has on the development of a contact barrier and an apparatus for thinking.

Participants will review classical literature on trauma and contemporary object relations papers on the understanding and treatment of unmentalized states as they relate to trauma.

General Information

Who May Register: This study group is open to any psychoanalyst or psychotherapist interested in the topic of trauma. If you are a member of NPSI you are eligible for the member rate. If you would like to become a community member prior to registration, please click here.

Course Length: 10 sessions on Tuesday evenings beginning September 17, 2019. Taking holidays into account, the group will meet September 17, October 1, 15, 29, November 12, 26, December 3, 17, and January 7, 21.

Time: 7:30 - 9:00 pm

CEUs: 15

NPSI Members $54 per class
Non-Members $60 per class

To Register: Email Administrator Hollee Sweet at admin@npsi.us.com.

Location: Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; 2701 1st Avenue, Suite 120, Seattle, WA 98121

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to recognize traumatic overwhelm in their clinical experiences.

2. Participants will learn to differentiate a defense from an ummentalized state.

3. Participants will learn to focus on the here and now experience of the clinical situation while working with unmentalized states.

Judy K. Eekhoff, PhD, FIPA is an IPA certified training and supervising psychoanalyst and a licensed child psychologist. She is a full faculty member of Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and Seattle Psychoanalytic Society & Institute. She has a private practice in Seattle, Washington, USA where she teaches, writes, and consults. She is the author of numerous papers and a book titled Trauma and Primitive Mental States: An Object Relations Perspective. Dr. Eekhoff is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis.