December 2, 2023

Judy K. Eekhoff, PhD

Live Interactive Online Webinar

Moderator: Maureen Murphy, PhD
Content Level: Intermediate
One-Session Program:
2 CEs
Member Fee: $80.00
Candidate/Student Fee: $50.00

This videoconference is co-sponsored by The Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (CIPS) and The Contemporary Freudian Society (CFS)

Trauma: Fusion and Confusion in the Analytic Dyad

This presentation will use clinical examples to demonstrate the process of working with patients who have been traumatized before they had an organizing mind able to process the trauma. They frequently have difficulty with relationships, retreating from object relations and continuing to relate to others concretely as things or functions. Their relations are body relations, consisting of unconscious symbiotic union with others. They also do not easily tolerate differentiation and individuation, living in phantasy inside their objects-the psychic space within and between psyches collapsed. As a defense, they perceive themselves, and therefore others, as flat and two-dimensional. We might say they are fused with them.

For the analyst who is accustomed to working in the symbolic order, confrontation with such concretization and primal somatopsychic relational processes can be confusing and disorienting.

Analysts frequently report not being able to find meaning in their words or emotion in their narratives. When meaning does not appear in the analyst’s confused mind, unmediated affect such as rage, extreme maternal care, intense love or violent hate, can arise inside the analyst and manifest as fusion and confusion in the dyad. If the analyst can learn to value the confusion as information, containment of previously unrepresented experience can result in the development of a three-dimensional analytic space and be internalized by the patient.

December 2, 2023

10:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT); 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (EDT)

Judy K. Eekhoff, PhD, FIPA, is an IPA certified training and supervising psychoanalyst and a licensed child psychologist. Dr. Eekhoff is a full member and past president of the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and a faculty member of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Seattle Washington. She is the author of numerous papers and book chapters as well as two books; Trauma and Primitive Mental States: An Object Relations Perspective and Bion and Primitive Mental States: Trauma and the Symbiotic Link.

Maureen Murphy, PhD, is a Personal and Supervising Analyst and Faculty member at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She is the Co-Coordinator of PINC’s Distance Learning Program. She teaches courses on contemporary psychosomatic concepts particularly the impact of burgeoning biotechnology on core psychoanalytic concepts and on adult development and aging. She maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in San Francisco.


10:00 am – 10:40 am (PST); 1:00 pm – 1:40 pm (EST)

The Confusional Object: When normal projective identifications are disrupted due to early trauma, a patient might, in phantasy, become the person they are with. This silent and unconscious fusion enables a primitive organization to develop that provides structure and seemingly results in a capacity to function procedurally in the world. Intense emotional relationships are avoided as they threaten the unconscious phantasy of oneness. Whenever this phantasy is threatened by relationship, confusion results.  It is too simple to say it is confusion between self and other, because the confusion becomes manifest in a variety of ways, for example, in passivity or in a difficulty making decisions.

10:40 am – 11:20 am (PST); 1:40 pm – 2:20 pm (EST)

The Play of Identifications: In a healthy psychic world, our identifications serve more than a defensive function. They build internal structure and create our personalities and our identities. In addition, they serve to link us emotionally with those we consciously love and admire, creating an internal and external community that is cohesive and integrated. As defenses, much like language is a defense, identifications create a background of safety. They do this by unconsciously splitting themselves and their objects into black and white categories. These can eventually become less polarized, enabling us to differentiate, categorize, and subordinate information gained from experience. When early trauma interrupts these processes, the spontaneous psychic play is restricted. 

11:20 am – 12:00 pm (PST); 2:20 pm – 3:00 pm (EST)

Analytic Confusion and Defensive Certainty: When as analysts, we are used to dealing with patients who regularly project and identify themselves in others, we can become confused when projections cannot be identified by our own emotional responses to the patient. Instead, we may feel nothing when a horrendous story is told. Or we may feel excessively maternal or paternal. To combat our confusion, we may respond with certainty and an illusion of clarity. Clinical examples may be encouraged from the group.

Learning objectives

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate a confusional object from a transitional object.
  • Recognize a somatic defense as found in “language as action”.
  • Discuss the value of pathological mimicry.


  • Eekhoff, J.K. (2022), “Primitive Identifications and Confusional Mental States” in Bion and Primitive Mental States: Trauma and the Symbiotic Link. London and New York, Routledge.
  • Eekhoff, J.K. (2022), “Psychic Equivalency as an Aspect of Symbiosis”, in Psychoanalysis of the Psychoanalytic Frame Revisited”: A New Look at Bleger’s Classical Work. Editors: Levine, H. and Moguillansky, C., London and New York, Routledge, IPA.
  • Eekhoff, J.K. (June, 2022), “The Unwelcome Child and the Acceptance of New Ideas. American Journal of Psychoanalysis. Vol. 82, Number 4.
  • Bergstein, A (2013) Transcending the caesura: reverie, dreaming, and counter-dreaming. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 94(4): 621-644.
  • Bergstein, A (2014). Beyond the spectrum: fear of breakdown, catastrophic change and the unrepressed unconscious. Rivista Picokatal., 60(4): 847-868.

Who Should Attend

Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g., LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.

Continuing Education Credits

2 CE Credits

  • NY Social Workers: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0087
  • NY Psychoanalysts: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0021.
  • NY Licensed Psychologists: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Psychologists #PSY-0017.
  • Psychologists: The Contemporary Freudian Society is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The CFS maintains responsibility for this program and its content. (DC, MD and VA Psychologist licensing boards accept CE credits provided by an APA approved Sponsor. All other psychologists should check with their licensing boards.)
  • DC, MD and VA Social Workers: The Social Work Boards of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will grant continuing education credits to social workers attending a program offered by an APA authorized sponsor.
  • CE credits will only be granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program. No partial credit will be offered. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements. Upon completion of this program and online evaluation form, participants will be granted CE credits.

Important Disclosure Information: There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds will be issued if notification of cancellation is received one week prior to the start of the course.