Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society

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  • Fall Conference: Jeanne Safer, PhD

Fall Conference: Jeanne Safer, PhD

  • 22 Oct 2016
  • 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • NEW VENUE: Courtyard Marriott West/Bearden (250 Brookview Centre Way)


Registration is closed

Fall Conference

Jeanne Safer, PhD 


The Family Members 

Freud Forgot . . and 

New Look at Love

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Courtyard Marriott West/Bearden 

250 Brookview Centre Way

Knoxville, Tennessee

Jeanne Safer, PhD, is an author and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City.

Description of Program

Where have all the siblings gone? Brothers and sisters have long been a blind spot in our field; discussions of their impact on our lives have been astonishingly rare. Sigmund Freud himself started the trend to ignore them. “Siblings” does not appear even once in the 404-page Index to the 23 volumes of his writing -- although “Siberia” does. The founder of psychoanalysis symbolically relegated his own seven siblings there and set the precedent that still breeds avoidance and denial, even among therapists who focus on the indelible effects of early family life. Because he never addressed his own sibling conflicts, Freud acted them out in damaging rivalries with colleagues through his entire career—and we, his professional descendants, are prone to do the same.

This presentation, based on Dr. Safer’s extensive work on problematic siblings, will illuminate the hidden, but central, role of brothers and sisters in our families, our relationships, and our psyches. Two interrelated aspects of sibling dynamics based on data from 150 interviews and over a decade of clinical work will be discussed: how the personality characteristics of the “normal” siblings of the physically and mentally dysfunctional develop; and the repercussions of serious sibling strife through the lifespan - its origins, manifestations, impact, and possible resolutions. Her goal is to invite participants to bring these neglected life companions back from their long Siberian exile into our consciousness and our consulting rooms, where they belong.

The presentation will close by considering how love in all its manifestations is central to our lives and our patients’ lives. Dr, Safer will examine this fundamental emotion from new perspectives, including obsessive and unrequited passion, traumatic friendship, ardor that outlives death, and love that can be reclaimed even from the ruins of abandonment and betrayal.


Jeanne Safer, PhD is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of six books on neglected psychological issues - the “Taboo Topics” that everybody thinks about but nobody talks about publicly. Her special areas of expertise include siblings with difficult or dysfunctional brothers and sisters, adult sibling strife, women making choices about whether to have children, adults struggling about whether to forgive people who have betrayed them, positive effects of losing a parent, and the hidden dynamics of passionate love and friendship.

Dr. Safer’s books include The Golden Condom and Other Essays on Love Lost and FoundCain’s Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret; The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling; Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life without Children; Forgiving and Not Forgiving: Why Sometimes It’s Better NOT to Forgive; and Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult’s Life - For the Better. Both The Normal One and Beyond Motherhood were Books for a Better Life Finalists for the year’s best self-improvement books.

Dr. Safer lives in New York City with her husband, historian and political journalist Richard Brookhiser.

8:30am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:50am Welcome and Introduction
9:00am The Normal One: Life with an Abnormal Sibling
10:30am Break with Refreshments
10:45am Sibling Strife: A Hidden Dimension of Personality
12:15pm Lunch Served at Conference Site
1:15pm This Thing of Darkness: Clinical Case Studies of the Unconscious Role of Siblings in Psychoanalytically-Oriented Psychotherapy
3:00pm Break with Refreshments
3:15pm A New Look at Love: Unrequired Passion, Traumatic Friendship - and Recovering Love from Despair
4:30pm Complete Evaluations and Adjourn.

Learning Objectives

After attending this intermediate-level program in full, participants will be able to:

1. Explain why sibling dynamics and transferences have received relatively little theoretical and research attention and explain how practicing clinicians can integrate considerations of sibling dynamics into their conceptual formulations and treatment plans.

2. Explain at least three ways that childhood sibling relationships affect future peer and partner relationships as well as an individual's sense of self in order to enrich clinical formulations and to avoid the therapist's inadvertent acting-out of his/her own unanalyzed sibling dynamics.  

3. Describe at least two ways in which parents project their sibling conflicts onto their children and describe ways to address these projections in psychotherapy.

4. Describe the development of four character traits—The Caliban Syndrome-- commonly seen in the non-disabled siblings of mentally or physically dysfunctional/disabled children. 

5. Describe treatment approaches to address two typical, enduring manifestations of childhood sibling dynamics in adult life.

6. Describe dynamics associated with obsessive passion, traumatic friendship, and mentor/protege relationships.  


This program is open to all APS members and other interested mental health professionals who may not be members. It is not limited to individuals practicing in a predominately psychoanalytic mode. The material will be appropriate for clinicians with intermediate levels of experience and knowledge.

Registration Fees and Policies:

BY October 17, 2016:

Members and Scholars: $115.

Non-members: $150.

Early-Career Professional and Graduate Student Members: $35

AFTER October 17, 2016 and at the door:

Members and Scholars: $130.

Non-members: $165.

Early-Career Professional and Graduate Student Members: $50.

Online registration will close on October 20, 2016.

Although walk-ins will be accepted, please register online at in advance to assure adequate food and seating.

If you prefer to pay by check, please print the Conference Registration form, and mail with your payment to:

Elaine Erickson, PhD
APS Treasurer
515 Booth Street
Knoxville, TN 37919.

Refunds honored with written/electronic notice at least 24 hours before date of conference. Contact Elaine Erickson, PhD

Contact the APS President Heather Hirschfeld, PhD to negotiate fees, if needed.

Facility is accessible to persons who are physically challenged. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address requests, questions, concerns and any complaints to Heather Hirschfeld, PhD.

APS Membership:

Eligible professionals can join APS or renew their membership for the 2016-2017 program year for $70. Scholars can join/renew for $50 and Early-Career Professionals can join/renew for $35. Graduate students may join or renew for $25.

American Psychological Association Approval Statement:
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Continuing Education:
This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 6.0 continuing education credits. With full attendance and completion of a program Evaluation and Learning Assessment, a certificate will be issued. Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39.

APS and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. APS and Division 39 are also committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in continuing education activities. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods.

Selected References/Recommended Reading

Agger, Eloise. (1983). Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Sibling Relationships. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 8, 3-30.

Akhtar Salman, & Kramer, Selma (Eds). (1999). Brothers and Sisters: Developmental, Dynamic, and Technical Aspects of the Sibling Relationship. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

Bank, Stephen, & Katn, Michael. (1982). The Sibling Bond. New York: Basic Books.

Charles, Marilyn. (1999). Sibling Mysteries: Enactment of Unconscious Fears and Fantasies. Psychoanalytic Review, 8 (6), 877-900.

Seligman, Martin. (1983). The Family with a Handicapped Child: Understanding and Treatment. New York: Grune and Stratton.

Volkan, Vamik, & Ast, Gabriele. (1997). Siblings in the Unconscious and Psychopathology. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.


If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address requests, questions, concerns and any complaints to the APS President Heather Hirschfeld, PhD.

There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between Division 39, APS, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding sources that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. During the program, the validity/utility of the content and risks/limitations of the approaches discussed will be addressed.

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