october, 2016

15oct10:00 am4:00 pmFEAR OF SUCCESS: MY GRADUATION IS MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL - Full day workshop

Event Details

Workshop participation fee: $75 (preregistration)/ $85 (at the door); for student discount contact Dr. Kavaler-Adler @ drkavaleradler@gmail.com

To register and for questions, email to Dr. Kavaler-Adler at drkavaleradler@gmail.com or call 212-674-5425

Workshop Description:

In this workshop, the psychodynamics of the Fear of Success will be presented, on both oedipal and pre-oedipal levels.  There will be a particular focus on an object relations understanding of the preoedipal  terrors and conflicts underlying the multitude of inhibitions and self sabotage that relate to the fear of success.  The terror of abandonment and self annihilation will be discussed, as opposed to the fears of retaliatory aggression from an oedipal stage parental object, which is feared as a powerful competitor.  Winnicott’s “unthinkable anxieties” will be discussed, along side of James Masterson’s ideas on “abandonment depression”, and Susan Kavaler-Adler’s theory of the “demon lover complex” that can be symptomatic of an arrest in the separation-individuation process,  and self integration process, that are characteristic of Developmental Mourning. 

Case examples will be offered, including the case described in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s 2006 journal article “My graduation is my mother’s funeral:  Transformation from the paranoid-schizoid position to the depressive position in fear of success, and the role of the internal saboteur” (International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 15,  117-130). 

In the afternoon, an experiential group will be formed.  Each participant in the workshop will be asked to participate in a guided meditative visualization, led by Dr. Kavaler-Adler.  The meditative visualization experience is used repeatedly by Dr. Kavaler-Adler, for the last 20 years, in her monthly Mourning, Therapy, and Support Group.  Everybody closes their eyes and breathes, while being led through a dialogue (one or two times) with an internal other, who they speak to about their own Fear of Success, or about the Fear of Success of a patient/client.  Group members are then invited to share their experience with the group.  The interpersonal group then evolves in the “potential space” of the group, as group members empathize with , and resonate with, the others I the group as they speak.

Bio of the Workshop Leader: 

Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, D. Litt., NCPsyA, is a Psychologist and Psychoanalyst with 40 years of clinical experience.  She is the Founder (with Dr. Robert Weinstein) and Executive Director of the Object Relations Institute (NYS chartered), where she has served for 25 years as a Training Analyst, Senior Supervisor, Faculty Member, President of the Board of Directors, and as Advisor to the Training Committee.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler is a prolific author who has five books and over 60 articles in the field of British and American Object Relations theory and Psychoanalysis, and has 15 awards for her writing (including the NAAP Gradiva Award in 2004)..  Dr. Kavaler-Adler is known for her theories of Developmental Mourning, the Demon Lover Complex, the Love-Creativity Dialectic, and the resolution of character pathology through the profound heart/soul grief of “psychic regret.”  Descriptions of her books and her supervision, therapy/mourning and writing groups (monthly and weekly, in person and on-line) can be viewed at www.kavaleradler.com  Her five published books are: “The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers” (Routledge, 1993, ORI Academic Press 2013, Forward by Joyce McDougall); “The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity: (Routledge 1996,ORI Academic Press 2014, Foreword by Martin Bergmann); “Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Routledge 2003, Foreword by Joyce McDougall); “The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies” (Karnac 2013); “The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: New Transformational Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory” (Karnac 2014).

Learning Goals:  At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

1) Distinguish between oedipal and pre-Oedipal fears and conflicts, in relation to “The Fear of Success”;

2) Analyze the concrete versus the symbolic nature of the Internal World conflict in relation to Fear of Success;

3) Apply and share, in an experiential group, to process their own fears of success, and/or those of their clients.

Those who pre-register, will receive Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s article “My graduation is my mother’s funeral:  Transformation from the paranoid-schizoid position to the depressive position in fear of success, and the role of the internal saboteur” (International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 15,  117-130) – by email. 

For a taste of the topic, tune in to this 15-min free educational video:




(Saturday) 10:00 am - 4:00 pm



Because of COVID related restrictions, all the groups are conducted virtually.


Saturday, October 15, 2016 (10 am – 4 pm; 12:30-1:30 lunch break)


Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, DLitt, NCPsyA