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RELENTLESS HOPE: The Refusal to Grieve

November 19, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm PST

Click here to register for this free program

This program, when attended in full, offers 2.5 CEs for Psychologists, 2.5 BBS California CEUs forMFTs, LCPCs, and LCSWs, and 2.5 CEUs for Illinois State Social Workers and Counselors

“Pretending that it can be when it can’t is how people break their hearts.”
Elvin Semrad

Relentless hope is a defense to which patients cling in order not to have to feel the pain of their disappointment in the object – the hope a defense ultimately against grieving. The refusal to deal with the pain of their grief about the object (be it the infantile, a contemporary, or the transference object) fuels the relentlessness with which such patients pursue it, both the relentlessness of their hope that they might yet be able to make the object over into what they would want it to be and the relentlessness of their outrage in those moments of dawning recognition that, despite their best efforts and most fervent desire, they might never be able to make that actually happen.

Martha has formulated a systematic approach to working with these relentlessly hopeful patients who refuse to confront – and grieve – intolerably painful realities about the objects of their desire. Interlacing theory and practice, Martha will offer both brief and extended clinical vignettes that demonstrate the therapist’s strategic use of disillusionment statements to facilitate the working through process.

Indeed, psychodynamic psychotherapy affords patients an opportunity, albeit belatedly, to grieve their early-on heartbreak – in the process transforming their defensive need to possess and control the object (and, when thwarted, to retaliate by attempting to destroy it) into the adaptive capacity to relent, to forgive, to accept, to separate, to let go, and to move on. Realistic hope and sober, mature acceptance will arise in the context of the surviving of disappointment and heartbreak.

Presented by Martha Stark, MD, Co-Founder at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies

Martha Stark, MD, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, is a Holistic (Adult and Child) Psychiatrist / Psychoanalyst in private practice in Boston, Massachusetts. Martha is Faculty, Harvard Medical School; Co-Founder / Co-Director / Faculty, Center for Psychoanalytic Studies; Faculty, Psychiatry Redefined; Adjunct Faculty, William James College and Smith College School for Social Work; and Former Faculty, Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, Massachusetts Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology, Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, and Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England. She also has numerous teaching affiliations with local, regional, and national psychodynamic / psychoanalytic training programs. Martha is an award-winning author of nine highly acclaimed books on psychoanalytic theory and technique.


November 19, 2021
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm PST