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“Psychosis: Key Psychoanalytic Concepts” – a webinar with Danielle Knafo

Danielle Knafo Ph.D. is a leader in the field of psychoanalytic approach to psychosis, so I’m very pleased she was the presenter for the ISPS-US webinar, “Psychosis: Key Psychoanalytic Concepts” that took place on 6/28/17.  See below for the recording.

I’m thinking this will be interesting not only for people who aren’t yet familiar with psychoanalytic approaches to understanding and helping people with psychotic experiences, but also for those who are familiar with these approaches but who might enjoy a review and hearing Danielle’s take on them.

In this presentation, Dr. Knafo explains key psychoanalytic concepts that help us to understand and treat psychosis or psychotic phenomena. These concepts include: regression, projective identification, psychic retreats, attacks on linking, islands of clarity, and finding meaning in symptoms. She emphasizes the discoveries, since Freud’s time, that have deepened the understanding of the psyche, allowing the attribution of meaning to symptomology, and permitting human encounters that initiate profound change through insight and communication.

Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, and professor in the clinical psychology doctoral program at LIU Post, where she chairs a specialty concentration on Serious Mental Illness. She is also faculty and supervisor at NYU’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is a popular speaker and a prolific author who has published seven books and dozens of articles on psychoanalysis, creativity, gender, psychosis, trauma, technology and perversion. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan and Great Neck, NY.

Danielle also made a written list of what she believes are good sources from which to learn more about this topic:

Michael Eigen. 1986. The Psychotic Core. Jason Aronson.

Christopher Bollas. 2013. Catch them Before they Fall: The Psychoanalysis of Breakdown. London: Routledge.

David Downing and Jon Mills, eds. 2017. Outpatient treatment of Psychosis: Psychodynamic Approaches to Evidence-Based Practice. London: Karnac.

Edward Podvoll. 2003. Recovering Sanity: A Compassionate Approach to Understanding and Treating Psychoses. Shambhala

John Steiner. 1993. Psychic Retreats. London: Routledge

Ronald Fairbairn. 1943. The Repression and the Return of the Bad Objects.

Bertram Karon and Gary Vandenbos. 1981. Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia, NY: Aronson

W.R. Bion. 1967. Differentiation of the Psychotic from the Non-
Psychotic Personalities; Attacks on Linking. In Second Thoughts

D. Knafo. 2016. Going Blind to See: The Role of Regression in the Psychoanalytic
Treatment of Psychosis. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 70(1): 79-100.
D. Knafo & M. Selzer. 2017. Outpatient Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with
Psychosis: Managing Isolation and Creating Safety. In J. Mills & D. Downing,
Eds. Outpatient Treatment of Psychosis: Psychodynamic Approaches to
Evidence-Based Practice. London: Karnac.
D. Knafo & M. Selzer. 2015. “Don’t Step on Tony!” The Importance of Symptoms
When Working with Psychosis. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 32(1): 159-172.

Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, published by the British Psychological Society,

1 comment… add one
  • Danielle was actually extraordinarily clear and coherent and insightful in her presentation, one of the best speakers about how to understand psychosis whom I have experienced.