The Center for Professional Development


Clinical Uses of Fairy Tales and Object Relations Theory

PLEASE NOTE: This program has been cancelled.

Thursdays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2015
8 CEUs

$180 ($160 for current PSCSW members) - Fee is payable upon registration; space may be held with a $50 non-refundable fee that will be applied to full payment when attendance is confirmed.

DEADLINE TO ENROLL: Friday, December 19, 2014

This workshop series focuses on object relations concepts and developmental tasks as they are represented in the classic fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. Discussion is structured around several chapters from Bruno Bettelheim’s well known book: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Very instructively, Bettelheim discusses the classic fairy tales and elucidates the developmental issues represented in these tales, from the childhood pre-Oedipal world of Hansel and Gretel to the challenges of sexuality and Oedipal maturity represented in Cinderella.  Using object relation theory, Bettelheim’s analysis of several well-known tales are discussed, focusing especially on the establishment of the good object, encountering and confronting the bad object, and the task of organizing the internal world through experience, emotion and fantasy. Other topics of discussion include object relations concepts and mechanisms as they are played out in the tales, including the role of ambivalence, the splitting of the world into wicked step-mother and fairy god-mother, projective identification and transformation, and the challenges of separation and loss of the pre-Oedipal mother as sexuality develops. Understanding of the deeper, more unconscious meanings of these familiar tales enables better use of them as pre-conceptions—that is, as potentially organizing paradigms—for recognizing the particular variations on the universal themes of the Oedipus Complex and the Family Romance that our patients bring to us for understanding and assistance. The first hour of each session is lecture-based with discussion of the readings. The second hour invites sharing of participants' well-disguised case material for illustration and discussion.

The course objectives of this series of workshops is to help participants to 1) identify and describe the developmental tasks of the Oedipal phase; 2) recognize the central role of ambivalence in the child’s development; 3) assess the impact of grief and trauma in the developmental processes; 4) discuss the importance of fantasy in the development of the mind; and 5) formulate specific treatment strategies and interventions for assisting the resolution of particular Oedipal issues presented by their clients.

Karen Fraley, MSS, LCSW, BCD, is in private practice in Exton, PA, providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy to individuals and couples, and clinical supervision to therapists. She holds a certification in Object Relations Therapy from the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) in Chevy Chase, MD. She is an active faculty member at IPI and a founding member of the Philadelphia Psychotherapy Study Center. She has studied the work of Wilfred Bion and authored a paper about his ideas, Bion's Model of the Mind, published in the journal Psychoanalytic Social Work.  She is currently studying the idea of sacrifice and its application to the therapeutic relationship.