PhD, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus (1995)
Licenses and Certifications
Licenses and Certifications
2019 BOARD CENTIFICATION IN PSYCHOANALYSIS
2010 CERTIFICATE IN SUPERVISION, Adelphi University, New York
2007 CERTIFICATE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY AND PSYCHOANALYSIS, Adelphi University, New York
Psychoanalytic Models Of Development: Early Development And Attachment Theory
Psychoanalytic Models: Early Development & Attachment Theory
Working With Parents Of Children And Adolescents In Psychotherapy
Working With Severe Psychopathology
Courses Previously Taught
Courses Previously Taught
Contemporary Views of Psychoanalytic Theory
Current Controversies in Psychoanalysis
I define myself as a relational psychoanalyst. My views as a psychotherapist, psychoanalytic educator, and writer of clinically focused papers, are inspired by Bromberg, Mitchell, Aron, Davies, Stern, and Hoffman—to name a few. I see the mind consisting of an amalgamation of self-states, each organized around themes and experiences in varied degrees of development or levels of organization and articulation, rather than an overarching integrated self.
As a psychoanalyst I adhere to the concept that the human mind contains unconscious parts that must be transformed in order to create change. As a relational psychanalyst I believe that there is more than one way to understand the unconscious and more than one path to access and work with it. The dynamic unconscious is more than an internal agency that contains repressed material that is denied articulation and access to consciousness because it threatens us, either by exposing forbidden drives and frightening affect or by severing needed ties. It also contains dissociated, pre-reflective (pre/nonverbal) memories and invalidated experiences (unarticulated experiences that never evoked validating responsiveness from the surroundings) (Stolorow & Atwood, 1992; Solms, 2013). In this light, conceptualizing the therapeutic action as formulating unformulated experience (Stern, 1997), co-constructing meaning (Hoffman, 1998; Solms, 2013), and mutually regulating (Schore, 2011) seems to better capture what therapists do.
I view the therapeutic relationship that provides attunement, validation, empathy, and nonjudgmental acceptance, as the crucial facilitator of growth and transformation (Schore, 2011). A true, vital, creative self could only emerge in such a nurturing environment. Over the years I became humbled and realizes that this therapeutic stance is accomplished, if at all, through considerable struggles on the part of the therapist. I learned to respect “intrusions” on this ideal therapeutic environment, integrate them into the work, and transform them into therapeutic tools.
A relational perspective holds that therapeutic relationships are co-created intersubjectively (Aron, 1996) and that therapists tend to be relatively more active and emotionally present than therapists who are informed by the classical psychoanalytic models. From this perspectice, therapeutic engagements are characterized by mutuality (Benjamin, 2017), transparency (Renik, 2006), emotional presence (Ehrenberg, 1993), passion (Hoffman, 2009), therapeutic flexibility (Bash, 2007; Hoffman, 1998), as well as openness to the surprising and the unbidden (Stern, 2013). The challenge is to find an optimal balance between active involvement and emotional presence on one hand, and nonjudgmental, nonintrusive, and nondirective attitudes on the other.
For the last ten years I have been drawing on concepts from attachment theory, affect regulation, and infant research. I find these perspectives compatible and easily integrated within relational thinking. They validate and expand existing concepts and offer additional angles on the therapeutic process, the therapeutic action, and the therapeutic aim. Findings from infant research, operationalized attunement, maternal sensitivity, and interactive regulation (Bebee & Lachman, 2012; Tronick, 2007). Within this framework the therapeutic process is a series of ruptures and repairs, i.e., match–mismatch–repair (or re-match). The therapeutic action is actually the process of reparation (Cavelzani & Tronick, 2016) in which the patient is healed through recognition and validation (Benjamin, 2017). This perspective humanizes the idealized vision of the holding environment as perfectly attuned; it sees the therapist as fallible and her role as offering opportunities for interactive regulation which is more applicable and replicable.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2018). Idealized "Other": A reparative fiction. In D. Goodman & E. Severson (Eds.).
Memories and monsters: Psychology, trauma and narrative (pp. 214-228). New York: Routledge.
Simha-Alpern, A. & Krupka Klein, A. (2018). What do I really want? Passion and attachment. In B.
Willock, L., Bohm, & R. Curtis, (Eds.). Psychoanalytic perspectives on passion (pp. 37-56). New
Simha-Alpern A. (2014). Dora and the bathwater: Shame and psychoanalytic failure; A relational
perspective. In B. Willock, R. Coleman Curtis, & L. Bohm (Eds.). Understanding and coping with
failure: Psychoanalytic perspectives (pp. 91-98). New York: Routledge.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2011). “I hate to choose…you choose”: On inhibition of longing and desire. In B.
Willock, L., Bohm, & R. Curtis, (Eds.) Loneliness and longing: Conscious and unconscious aspects
(pp. 71-80). New York: Routledge.
Hurvich, M. & Simha-Alpern, A. (1997). Annihilation anxiety in psychosomatic disorders. In J.S. Finell
(Ed.), Mind-body problems: Psychotherapy with psychosomatic disorders (pp. 57-91). Northdale,
NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2019). Touch me, but don’t get under my skin: The Skin-Ego and the conflicting
needs for connection and protection. Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(1), 70-87.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2015, Spring/Summer). What is so Unnatural about Natural Life. Adelphi Society for
Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis, Newsletter, 3.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2015). Narration of an absent Mother: When fantasy replaces reality. Other/Wise, 3.
Retrieved from https://ifpe.wordpress.com
Simha-Alpern, A. (2014, Winter). Dead or evolving: On the future of psychoanalysis. Suffolk County
Psychological Association, Newsletter, 11-16.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2013, Summer). Lean in, mindfully: A pitch for psychotherapists. [Review of the book
Lean in: Women, work, and the will to lead, by S. Sandberg with N. Scovell]. Suffolk County
Psychological Association, Newsletter, 17-21.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2012): The facilitating aspects of termination and posttermination: Commentary on
Michael Shoshani (Rosenbaum's) Dare to be Human . Psychoanalytic Dialogues: The International
Journal of Relational Perspectives, 22:1, 41-48
Simha-Alpern, A. (2007). “I finally have words!” Integrating a psychodynamic psychotherapeutic
approach with principles of Emotional Intelligence Training in treating trauma survivors. Journal of
Psychotherapy Integration, 17, 293-313.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2018, October). Unsilencing the political self: When politics invades the therapeutic
space. IFPE's 29th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference: Unsilencing. Seattle, Washington.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2018, August). The “belonging third”: Balancing belonging and not- belonging in self-
organization. Halifax, Canada.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2018, June). A psychoanalytic perspective on time: Attitude towards time reflecting
the patient's way-of-being with self and other. The 1st Temporal Belongings International
Conference: The Social Life of Time; Power, Discrimination And Transformation. Edinburgh, UK.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2017, November). "It's time to stop": The rhythm of the forty-five-minute session
reflecting the patient's way-of-being with self and other. IFPE's 28th Annual Interdisciplinary
Conference: Time. Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2017, May). Where has all the madness gone? Marginalization and rescue of serious
mental illness in relational psychoanalysis. IARPP International Conference: From the Margins to the
Center; Contemporary Relational Perspectives. Sydney, Australia.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2016, October). Touch me but don't get under my skin: On the conflicting needs for
connection and protection. IFPE's 27th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference: Skin. Pasadena,
Simha-Alpern, A. (2016, August). To be (known) or not to be (known): The paradoxical wish to expose
and conceal and the therapist's precarious position. The Eighth Joint International Conference.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2016, March). What's in the box: Fascination with maternal subjectivity. The Fourth
Sixth Annual Conference Popular Culture Association, American Culture Association. Seattle,
Simha-Alpern, A. (2015, October). Idealized "otherness": A necessary fiction. Psychology and the Other
Conference. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2015, November). The mutative power of therapist's vulnerability. IFPE's 26th Annual
Interdisciplinary Conference: Vulnerability and its Discontents. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2014, November). Narration of an absent mother: When fantasy replaces reality.
IFPE's 25th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference: Necessary Fictions. San Francisco, California.
Simha-Alpern, A., & Klein, A. (2014, July). What do I really want? Passion and attachment. The Seventh
Joint International Conference: Passion. Florence, Italy.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2013, October). We need others to create ourselves and ourselves to create others:
On facilitating interpersonal interpretive functions. Psychology and the Other Conference.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2011, July). Analyst’s imperfection: Therapeutic use of the therapist’s imperfection as
psychoanalysis transitions from its oedipal to post oedipal eras. IARPP International Conference:
Changing Psychoanalysis for a Changing Society: Relational Perspectives. Madrid, Spain.
Simha-Alpern, A. (2010, August). Dora and the bathwater: A relational perspective on psychoanalytic
failure. The Fifth Joint International Conference: Failure, Psychoanalytic Explorations. Edinburgh,
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