CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF A MASS MURDERER
THROUGH THE LENS OF FAIRBAIRN’S OBJECT RELATIONS THEORY

Workshop is led by Dr. David P. Celani
Date: September 26, 2021, 9:30am – 4pm
Location: Virtual participation only!
Virtual participation is conducted via audio/video or audio mode only
(with minimal technical requirements)
To Register for this workshop, please complete the Registration form
Continuing Education Information: up to 8 CE hours  See details here

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

In 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 of his countrymen in Norway.  Breivik is an extremely good candidate for a careful psychohistory as his childhood trauma is  well documented because the Oslo Social Service agency tried twice to remove him from his mother’s care. This workshop will examine the critical importance of early attachment between mother and child, and the catastrophic consequences to the child of early maternal empathic failures.  We will focus on the parental failures that led Anders Breivik to become one of the most horrific murderers in recent history. The model that will be used to understand and interpret Breivik’s psychological development is Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory, which was developed in Scotland during the period of 1940–1958.  The workshop will begin with a description of Fairbairn’s model, then the model will be applied to the psychological development of  Anders Breivik. Finally, the last section will describe therapeutic strategies that can help the mental health professional with the  treatment of individuals with similar developmental histories to Breivik.

Fairbairn focused on the critical early years of the child’s development, noting that the infant and child were  absolutely  dependent on his/her  mother’s continuing nurturance. The  absence of dependable, empathic care is catastrophic because  the infant  or child’s must, by necessity, dissociate memories of events in which they were treated with indifference or neglected. If the child became conscious of all his/her memories of being neglected or treated indifferently, it  would shatter his/her essential unambivalent  attachment to their needed object.

Once the traumatic memories are dissociated, they are then held in the unconscious via repression. Over time, with many similar empathic failures, the memories of the child’s self in relation to his/her object  begin to coalesce into  internal templates that are based on  the actual external objects. In children where deprivation and neglect was frequent or continuous, the child’s ability to develop a strong and confident central sense of self (the central ego)  based on his/ her relationship with the healthy, nurturing  aspects of the parent’s personality  is severely compromised.  The consequences to the child of  an unconscious suffused with hurt, rejection and humiliation, which  blocks  the individual  from understanding the source of his resentment,  coupled with a conscious self that is under formed, lacking in confidence, and  hyper-sensitive to rejection,  results in an individual who wants revenge on the external world, and is easily misled by resentment based politics.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Morning Session:
9:30am — 10:45am
11:00am — 12:15pm

Lunch
12:15pm — 1:00pm

Afternoon Session:
1:00pm — 2:15pm
2:30pm — 4:00pm

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Part One: The Case of Breivik: Psychological Consequence of Childhood Trauma

At the end of this educational activity, its participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the importance of early maternal care, and to the psychological consequence of empathic failures and emotional trauma that are dissociated on the infant and child’s developing personality structure
  2. Discuss and analyze the early splitting defense which is a consequence of intolerable traumatic memories of parental abandonments and empathic failures – that, if remembered, would disrupt the child’s essential attachment to his parents and disrupt his feeling of living in a safe environment.These traumatic memories are forced into the unconscious via the defense of dissociation, and create the contents within each individual’s unconscious.
  3. Discuss and analyze the dynamic relationship between the trauma based internal image or memory of the rejecting or indifferent parent in relationship to the frightened and humiliated memories of the child’s self.The rejecting object is in an ongoing dialogue in the inner world of the child’s sense of self  which was called the antilibidinal ego.  This relationship can color the patient’s central ego and produce a powerful transference.  That is, the internal rejecting object  is powerful enough to be projected  onto  external objects, and the individual will act as if the external object is  as hostile as are the internalized memories of the rejecting object.Fairbairn, who worked in an Edinburgh orphanage,  also observed a puzzling reaction in the abused and neglected orphans. These abandoned and abused orphans, who lived in an environment devoid of love and support, created elaborate fantasies that were motivated by their severe need for love and  support. These children  convinced  themselves that their families were actually  loving and welcoming. Fairbairn  recognized that these unshakable fantasies created a second, mostly unconscious ego structure that offered the child the comforting and self-protective illusion that his parents would love him in the future. This ego structure contains an image of the child’s self (called the libidinal ego) in positively emotionally charged relationship to a loving and supportive parent (called the exciting object).This relationship plays an key role in Breivik’s developmental history. The reciprocal relationship between these mostly unconscious structures and the conscious, but weakened, Central ego will   also be described. The two pairs of unconscious structures are unknown to each other, and result in the patient seeing others in the world in extremely different ways, based on which structure is ascendant
  4. Discuss and analyze the positive, conscious aspect of Fairbairn’s structural model.The conscious aspect of Fairbairn’s model consists of the central ego which develops in relation to the  parent: when they were  empathic and nurturing, and this parental object was called the ideal object. This ego structure varies greatly depending upon the amount of time the parent spends with the child. Those parents that are deeply invested and loving develop children that have large and powerful memories of themselves (the central ego) in a loving relationship to their supportive parents (the ideal objects). In contrast, children raised in hostile environments have smaller, undeveloped central egos, and large emotionally charged   antilibidinal ego/rejecting object structures. They need equally powerful libidinal ego/exciting object fantasy based structures to keep them attached to their (in reality) neglectful parents. The libidinal ego/exciting object structures are  mostly unconscious, completely unknown to the rejecting object/antilibidinal structures, and both serve to protect the conscious central ego from “knowing”  about the negative emotional events that the individual  experienced. This forced disintegration (called the splitting defense) protects the child from an  awareness that he lives in a dangerous environment.
  5. Discuss and analyze the actual events of Anders Breivik’s life while applying Fairbairn’s model, to illustrate how his resentful antilibidinal ego was developed over time during his childhood.Breivik’s developmental  history accounts for the extremity of  his resentments, as well as too his intense dependency on him mother, thus blocking (via splitting)  any awareness of the source of these very resentments. Breivik’s response to the world was a complete acting out of his enraged antilibidinal ego which targeted the influx of Muslim immigrants as the rejecting objects to which he became dedicated to destroying.
  6. Discuss how the relationships between the structures themselves provide life-meaning and motivation in all the individual’s activities in life.
  7. Apply the understanding of how the relationships between the intra-psychic ego structures provide the motivation to one’s actions – to one’s clinical case or personal/professional life situation.For instance, Breivik’s antilibidinal gave his life purpose as he attempted to publicize (and then eliminate) the dangers that he thought were leading Norway to destruction. His parents were so lacking in behavior that he could  use as an exciting object that promised love, that he was forced to use a fantasy image of himself as the exciting object which urged and supported his libidinal self to engage in mass murder. Thus, his self created exciting object was a key player in his destruction of others.

Part Two: Applying Fairbairn’s Model in the Clinical Setting 

At the end of this educational activity, its participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and compare the four different unconscious structures when they emerge in the treatment session.
  2. Discuss how to respond in clinical situation to four different unconscious structures effectively.
  3. Apply the understanding of Fairbairnian model to working with transference and projections in analytic/ clinical situation.
  4. Discuss how utilizing Fairbairnian model of the inner world can support the therapist in navigating through complicated patient-and-family and patient-and-the-world dynamics.The therapist must be able to understand, identify, and respond to powerful patient transferences that result from the projection of any of the four unconscious structures ( the rejecting or exciting object, or the antilibidinal or libidinal ego)  onto the therapist.  These structures frequently  dominate the patient’s consciousness in the clinical interview and sweep away the patient’s central ego.  Each structure requires a different response that indicates to the patient’s weakened central ego that the therapist understands what is going on in the session. Fairbairn’s model of the inner world allows the clinician to understand patient dynamics, which aids in protecting  him/her from becoming entangled in patient’s projections.
  5. Discuss development of a specific type of clinical narrative that is designed to make the patient’s unconscious structures gradually known to their conscious central ego, while simultaneously strengthening the central ego via the nurturing relationship to the therapist.

READINGS:

  • Celani, D.P. (2014). A Fairbairnian structural analysis of the narcissistic personality disorder. Psychoanalytic Review, 101(3), 385–409.
  • Celani, D.P. (2020). Fairbairn’s metaphor of the human mind and the trauma bond (Conference handout).
  • Celani, D. P. (2020). Applying Fairbairn’s Object Relations theory to the psychological development of Anders Breivik. Psychoanalytic Review, 107(4), 337–365.

The above readings will be sent out to registered participants by email.

SHORT BIO OF THE WORKSHOP LEADER:

David P. Celani, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who practiced for more than twenty-five years in Burlington, Vermont. In treatment, he focused on his patients’ “attachment to bad objects”, which manifested through their inability to separate from parents, friends, or marital partners who demeaned, criticized, or abused them. Celani now presents workshops throughout the United States on Object Relations theory. His books with Columbia University Press include Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingThe Illusion of Love: Why the Battered Woman Returns to Her Abuser, and Leaving Home: How to Separate From Your Difficult Family.

CONTINUING EDUCATION:

Titles:

  • September 2 — 30, 2021: Psychoanalysis After Freud: Creative and Controversial Successors — Jeffrey B. Rubin, PhD (19.0 CE)
  • September 26, 2021: Childhood Trauma and Psychological Development of a Mass Murderer through the Lens of Fairbairn’s Object Relations Theory — Dr. David P. Celani (8.0 CE)

This educational activity is accredited by Amedco to provide 8 CEs for NYS Social WorkersNYS Psychologists, and 8 APA based CEs for Psychologists, SWs, MFTs, MHCs, Addiction Professionals (Check your states below).

Accreditation Statement

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Amedco LLC and Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis (ORIPP). Amedco LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Psychologists (APA) Credit Designation

Amedco LLC designates this activity for a maximum of up to 27.0 Psychologist contact hours.

The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Counselors: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, ME, MO, NC, ND, NH, NE, NJ, NM, NV, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY
MI: No CE requirements
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for MFTs: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, MD, ME, MO, NE, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY
MI: No CE requirement
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Addictions Professionals: AK, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NY (outstate held)*, OK, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI, WY
MA / MFTs: Participants can self-submit courses not approved by the MAMFT board for review.
The following state boards accept courses from APA providers for Social Workers: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, ME, MN, MO, NE, NH, NM, OR, PA, VT, WI, WY

* If the activity is held live in the state of NY, then direct addictions board is required, ie: NAADAC. If the activity is held outside NY, is virtual, enduring or remote, it is considered “outstate” and this reciprocity applies.

New York Board for Social Workers (NY SW)
Amedco SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0115. 27.0 hours

New York Board for Psychology (NY PSY)
Amedco is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0031. 27.0 hours

 

New York Board for Mental Health Practitioners (NY Licensed Psychoanalysts, LP)
National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an Approved Provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts. #P‑0019. 6 hours.

To receive CE certificates for the actual hours attended – please request them at the time of registration or any time prior to beginning of the conference. CE certificate fee: $25 (in addition to the registration fees). No fees charged for PD (Professional Development) certificates from ORI.

REGISTRATION AND FEES:

Early Bird registration (before September 10th, 2021)
$60 regular/ $35 grad students & candidates/ $15 undergrad students. If CEs are requested — there is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid on the day of the conference or in advance)

Regular registration (September 11th – September 24th, 2021)
$70 regular/ $45 grad students & candidates/ $20 undergrad students. If CEs are requested — there is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid on the day of the conference or in advance)

Registration ‘at the door’ (on September 25th & September 26th, 2021)
$80 regular/ $55 grad students & candidates/ $25 undergrad students. If CEs are requested — there is an additional fee of $25 (can be paid on the day of the conference or in advance)

N.B.: If you are requestion the CEs, please register as a licensed practitioner and pay the “regular” fee for attending this workshop.

SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for retired or disabled practitioners, or need-based. 

You can request scholarship using this form

CANCELLATION POLICY:
Refund in full is offered for cancellations made before September 26th, 2021. No refunds for cancellations made on or after September 26th, 2021 (but credit can be applied for any of the educational events offered at the ORI in 2021 or further on).

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