Entrenched Defenses, Shame and the Depressive Position

Course Description: In the Kleinian Object Relations tradition, coming into the experience of facing life as it really is, with all of its complexities and possibilities, has been described as the depressive position, depressive because it involves the essential processes of loss and grief and guilt. In the depressive position we can come to know ourselves and others more deeply and develop more capacities in ourselves for living creatively. The object relations tradition has also extensively explored the problem of how the psychotherapy process can become stuck at the edge of this experience, people so often fearing that the pain of grief and loss will be too overwhelming to bear. In this short class we will read four explorations of the depressive position by Klein, Ogden, Steiner, and Cooper.  Our focus will be on the clinical experience of the movement into grief, the defenses that block this, and our capacities as therapists to help our patients tolerate the pains of growth. We will also look at how shame functions as a part of depressive experience. 

Instructor: Terry Hanson, PhD (Co-sponsored with the Alliance)

Dates and Times : 4 Tuesdays, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, October 29, November 5, 12, 19.

Location: 7056 18th Ave NE, Seattle

Fees: $100

Class Size: Maximum of 8 participants. 

Participation: In-person only.

Scholarships Available: No.

To Register: Please contact Terry Hanson at 206-517-4198. 


Terry Hanson, PhD, has been involved in both COR and the Northwest Alliance for many years and has served as the Alliance President. He has his practice in Seattle.