APM Meeting – March 6, 2012, Andrew Lotterman, M.D.. “Affect as a Matter of the Psychic Surface”


The monthly meeting of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine will be held at the New York Academy of Medicine, 2 East 103rd Street, New York City, on TUESDAY, MARCH 6, at 8:00 p.m.


PRESENTER: Andrew Lotterman, M.D.

Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research

DISCUSSANT: Richard Munich, M.D.

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill-Cornell Medical College

This talk will focus on the role of affect in guiding psychoanalytic interventions. The literature on affect will be reviewed to support the idea that affect is an adaptive appraisal system which registers biological and interpersonal meanings to the self and to others. Affect is a rapid response form of consciousness which depends on the quality of emotional tone rather that ideas or concepts for
communication of meaning. Because of this, the repression of affect is often less effective than the repression of ideas and fantasies. The telltale signs of affect in facial expression, posture, vocal tone and other nonverbal behaviors can sometimes signal the state of the self more reliably than do fantasy themes. As a consequence, listening for the dominant affect in a session can be a crucial pointer to what is truly alive in the patient’s account. Affect is an effective pointer to the “workable psychic surface” , that is, to material that the self is engaged with and which is on the verge of consciousness. Clinical examples will be presented to illustrate these ideas.

Educational objectives:

After attending this presentation, the participant will:

1. Better understand the extant scientific literature on affect and its role in interpersonal and intrapsychic communication.

2. Be better able to determine critically the role of affect in the clinical situation.

Henry P. Schwartz, M.D.

Edith Cooper, Ph.D.

Edward Kenny, M.D.
Chair, Program Committee

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their
participation in the activity.

IMPORTANT DISCLUSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial information to disclose.



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