when we are undone: exploring moments of vulnerability, surrender, and creative transformation within the analyst
Saturday, November 18th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm PST via Zoom
“One does not always stay intact. One may want to, or manage to for a while, but despite one’s best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other…” (Judith Butler, Precarious Life 23-24).
The physics of vulnerability tells us utter helplessness comes for us all, including the treating psychoanalyst, raising the question of what happens within a treatment when the analyst is taken by the riptide of her own primal pain, memory, even trauma? In this clinical presentation, Dr. Michelle Harwell charts new territory as she offers us a deeply personal inside look at the interiority of the analyst as she navigates the impossible entanglement of two traumas, her patient Lacy’s and her own. How doors within herself she much preferred to keep closed, are opened in the services of understanding Lacy and inevitably herself. And the spontaneous and ingenious ways healing begins to come, not through the triumph of either one of their traumas but by moving deeper into them.
This unique panel discusses the courage we often need to harness our own vulnerability, to touch the parts of ourselves we may be terrified to know. In this journey born of helplessness, Dr. Harwell inspires us all to reach for more vulnerability in our clinical work and our writing and presentations. Emotional risk-taking and bearing our fears of exposure can help us and our patients reclaim foregone internal territory from the tyrannical ruler of our inner wounds.