Progressive and Defensive Adaptations to the Challenges of Adult Life

Innis Town Hall Theatre, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto
Morning Session: Shelley Nathans, Ph.D.
Infidelity as Manic Defense

The paths leading to infidelity in a couple’s relationship are manifold and diverse; there is no singular
cause, no simple, linear route. Using a contemporary Kleinian framework, Shelley Nathans, Ph.D. will
present her paper “Infidelity as Manic Defense”, in which she describes some of the important
theoretical issues relevant to understanding affairs. The main focus of this paper is on the problems that
one or both of the partners in a couple may have with mourning past or impending loss, and the
consequent infidelity that may result from a manic attempt to replace depression or psychic pain with
excitement. A developmental orientation will be used to delineate a range of psychological dilemmas
that contribute to infidelity, including claustrophobic anxieties, difficulties with mourning past or
impending loss, Oedipal problems and separation issues.

Afternoon Session: Sam Gerson, Ph.D.
Changing One’s Mind: Adult Development and the Complexity of Internal Representations

Progressive adult development involves processes of internal alterations that are quite similar to what
occurs in positive psychotherapeutic outcomes. The overlap between these domains has, however,
been widely neglected to the detriment of both disciplines. In this presentation, a detailed case of a
man in “mid-life crisis” is discussed in terms of the challenges posed by novel demands on structured
self-and object-representations. The material illustrates how newly emergent contemporary demands
that create conflict with established internal configurations create crises that can only be resolved
through adaptive alterations in unconscious representations.

This program has been approved by the Ontario Psychological Association
to offer continuing education for psychologists and psychological
associates. This program meets the criteria for 4 continuing education

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