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Intergenerational Transmissions in Clinical Impasse

Clinical Impasse Series

With Jill Sallberg & Zack Eleftheriadou (Chair)

In this five-part series we explore why, with some clients, the therapy ‘gets stuck’. 

A therapeutic impasse can lead to self-doubt among therapists, as well as concerns that the client may terminate the therapy prematurely. We aim to demonstrate that these challenging moments can offer great insights for both client and therapist, if they can be worked through.

More recently impasses, collisions, and collusions have been acknowledged as inherent and valuable aspects of clinical practice. This means that the experience of getting stuck or encountering a therapeutic impasse can actually help the therapist to understand more about the client's inner world and potentially shed light on how the histories of both the client and therapist are interacting unconsciously. Identifying, naming, and making sense of these clinical impasses can serve as a way forwards

Our speakers cover themes including the recognising unconscious dynamics between therapist and patient which maintain a stasis in the therapy, the impact of intergenerational transmissions on progress, the phenomenon of "othering" within the context of relational psychoanalysis and racialized enactments, and the delicate art of being affected by the therapeutic process without becoming overwhelmed by it.

The primary objective for this series is to support therapists' capacity to navigate and work through these challenging phases. By participating in this series, therapists can gain the confidence and skills necessary to effectively address moments when they and their clients find themselves in the challenging position of feeling "stuck."


Jill Salberg- Clinical Impasse as an Inevitable part of Therapeutic Action

Perhaps the greatest shift in clinical practice and literature is organised around a shared understanding across theoretical divides regarding the inevitability of impasses, collisions, and collusions in the treatment relationship. In this session, Jill will consider how inter-generational transmission affects both patient and analyst, infiltrating the treatment, disrupting alliances and blocks forward movement. Jill will discuss clinical material that  illustrates how a mother’s early death came to haunt the lives of subsequent generations of mothers and daughters. I will address the impact of attachment rupture, trauma, envy, and shame as they reflect transgenerational transmission phenomena and how they were worked on, repaired, and utilised as therapeutic action.  

Discussion with Zack Eleftheriadou

Zack will discuss the presentation with the speaker and draw out some themes for exploration inspiring the group discussion.

Q&A with participants