Hate and Destructiveness in the Psyche, Clinical Encounter and Beyond

The Austin Psychoanalytic board announces our program theme for 2020-2021: Hate and Destructiveness in the Psyche, Clinical Encounter and Beyond. In contrast to the current theme of sexuality, next year we turn our attention to the darker side of the human experience. Freud’s concept of a death drive always was controversial, yet hate and destructiveness seem ubiquitous. We will examine contemporary and historic psychoanalytic views of hate, how it develops, and the dynamics of destructive behavior directed at self, others, and groups. We will include an exploration of how hate and destructiveness manifest in our consulting rooms. Finally, we will consider whether hate can be tempered and destructiveness transformed into more adaptive forms of aggression.

We have planned 3 conferences based on themes of hate and destructiveness. (1) Our diversity workshop is scheduled for November 14, 2020, featuring Donald Moss, MD and Lynne Zeavin, PsyD. It will focus on racism, homophobia, misogyny, and other forms of prejudice. (2) During our clinical conference on February 27, 2021, Sue Grand, PhD will explore with us the hate and destructiveness that can surface in treatment, manifested by therapists as well as clients, and she will consider ways of dealing with these issues. (3) On April 10, 2021, Jane Tillman, PhD will engage with us about current approaches to suicide risk and intervention, along with ethical considerations in treating clients exhibiting suicidal and self-harmful behaviors.

This is a Call for Proposals for salons (or study groups) and monthly meetings that further address themes of hate and destructiveness. Salon proposals may include readings by our conference presenters and/or other articles that discuss our conference topics. Salon and monthly meeting proposals may further elaborate on our theme, for example, considering how hatred is viewed in various schools of psychoanalytic thought. Proposals also may focus on hate/destructiveness in special groups such as antisocial/borderline personalities, anorexic individuals, clients who undermine treatment or even stalk therapists, couples in which there is domestic violence, and White supremacist groups. Other topics include self-loathing in its various forms, sadomasochistic attachments, countertransference hate, projected hate, the effects of violent video games, bullying in schools and other organizations, and gun violence. In addition, presenters could explore hate and destructiveness, or the intergenerational transmission of these issues, in a historical figure or book or film character. These are only some of the myriad of possible topics.

Monthly Meeting Programs may consist of lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, or guided group (audience) discussions. It is expected that presentations are informed by psychoanalytic theory and literature. However, it is preferable if speakers do not read their entire presentation from a paper. Regardless of format, presentations should allow ample time for the audience to interact and engage with the material. Salons (or study groups) typically consist of two or more sessions conducted in the facilitator’s home or office. Facilitators may require the participants to purchase a textbook or other book for the salon, or facilitators may email journal articles to participants. Please be aware that presenters and facilitators are not paid for presentations. Participants’ registration fees are used to operate AP programs.

Proposals are due March 1, 2020. They should consist of a short paragraph about the content and format of the proposed salon or monthly meeting. Proposals should be emailed to, with “Proposal for 2020-21” noted in the subject line. If accepted, presenters are required to submit a program syllabus, reference list, and learning objectives. AP board members are available to help curate programs.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Categories: Announcements

1 Comment

Barbara E. Davis · March 1, 2020 at 5:14 pm

I just sent a proposal for a monthly meeting, by email. I am writing to make sure you received it, as I wasn’t clear on where to send it. Could you let me know that you did get it? Thank you, Barbara

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