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Sep 25

The Problem of Empty States of Mind and the Uninteresting Internal Object – Dr. Anne Alvarez, PH.D., M.A.C.P.

September 25, 2021

The Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis is pleased to present the 5th Willock-Ipp Lecture

About the presentation:

Classical psychoanalysis has taught us much about the passions. Less explored are the passionless, often mindless and empty states which certain passive patients present to us. These may in some instances be the result not of a defensive or aggressive retreat but of having given up in despair or boredom. Such patients seem to be not hiding, but lost, not withdrawn but undrawn. Their internal objects seem to be unvalued rather than devalued and nothing much matters. This may affect curiosity and desire, even the desire to follow a train of thought. The paper discusses what might be missing or underdeveloped and ways in which analytic technique may try to address these issues.

About the speaker:

Anne Alvarez, Ph.D., M.A.C.P is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist (and retired CoConvener of the Autism Service, Child and Family Dep’t. Tavistock Clinic, London, where she still teaches.). She is author of Live Company: Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children. and has edited with Susan Reid, Autism and Personality: Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshop. A book in her honour, edited by Judith Edwards, entitled Being Alive: Building on the Work of Anne Alvarez was published in 2002. She was Visiting Professor at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society in November 2005 and is an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Centre of California. Her latest book, The Thinking Heart: Three Levels of Psychoanalytic Therapy with Disturbed Children was published in April 2012 by Routledge.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify empty states of mind and distinguish these from more withdrawn defensive states.
  • Identify what may be missing in the internal object in terms of its degree of interestingness.
  • Use an intensified psychoanalytic method different from classical methods.

Planning Committee

  • Dr. Robert Besner
  • Dr. Judi B. Kobrick
  • Dr. Hazel Ipp
  • Dr. Hilary Offman
  • Dr. Sarah Turnbull
  • Dr. Gary Rodin
  • Dr. Brent Willock
  • Dr. Gordon Yanchyshyn

Schedule of the Day

9:30 a.m. Introduction

9:35 a.m. Dr. Alvarez

11:30 a.m. Closing remarks


September 25, 2021
Event Category:


online via Zoom


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