february, 2018


Event Details

Tuition fees: $45 for non-members, $35 for APC members & seniors, and $10 for students (with valid ID)

As an object relations theorist, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will integrate critical object relations thinking about self-development with Jungian perspectives, to contrast two brilliant women artists, one of which was derailed by the demon lover complex, and the other – was not. Presenter will draw on two of her major studies of famous women artists from within – from The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity (Routledge, 1996; ORI Academic Press, 2014).

The brilliant but tortured American poet Anne Sexton never integrated key aspects of herself. Instead, Sexton became entrapped in manic-erotic attachments to idealized abusive animus figures. These “demon lovers” emerged as idealized muses within her internal world, only to fall from grace in a vicious cycle. Muses perpetually turned into demon lovers, everywhere – in her life, art, and mind.  Without the development of a relationship with a primal chthonic anima, Sexton became entrapped in an echo chamber of muse figures that turned into “demon lovers.” Ultimately, her Image of death became her personal demon lover, as she proceeded to eroticize death. Instead of a dialectic with a disillusioning muse, she “married” her demon lover and committed suicide. Her early object relations developmental failings set her up to have an animus crush her anima, and prevented her from engaging the healing process of “developmental mourning” (term coined by Dr. Kavaler-Adler, 1993)

In sharp contrast to Anne Sexton is the healthy woman artist Suzanne Farrell, the former prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet, who became the “favorite” of George Balanchine, the executive director. Due to a primal related mother, Suzanne Farrell was able to survive the demonic aspects of an external muse figure, George Balanchine. Such survival depended upon Farrell’s ability to sustain a view of Balanchine within her internal world, as neither a muse god nor a demon. Her ability to mourn object disillusionment allowed for a psychological flexibility that extended her performing artist self into the nurturing and inter-generationally generative realm of teaching.          


Bio of the presenter:

Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, D.Litt., NCPsyA has published six books and over 70 articles, and has won 16 awards for psychoanalytic writing.  Her books The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers (Routledge 1993, ORI Academic Press 2013); Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2003, Gradiva® Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis); The Anatomy of Regret: From Death Instinct to Reparation and Symbolization in Vivid Case Studies (Karnac 2013); and The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: Transformative New Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory (Karnac 2014), along with “The Creative Mystique….” are well known. Her comprehensive textbook of object relations theory terms, with clinical case examples, is being finalized for publishing in 2018.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (1974) from  Adelphi University’s Gordon Derner Institute, a Psychoanalyst certificate from NIP (1981), and is a Training analyst, and Senior Supervisor; who also has an honorary doctorate in Literature (Ignatius University, 2008).  She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and a Fellow of the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis (ABPP).


(Saturday) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Analytical Psychology Club

28 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016


February 10th, 2018, @ 10am – 2pm


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