Mourning, Melancholia, and the Use of an Object:
A Freud-Winnicott Dialectic
on Madness and Object Loss

Course Instructor: Stefanie Teitelbaum
Date: April 13th — June 15th, 2023 (8:40 PM – 9:55 PM EDT)
Location: Virtual Participation Only

Continuing Education Information: Pending
Tuition: $450/course (can be paid in 2 installments).
Scholarships, full and partial, are available — please fill out the scholarship form below.
Registration fee: $25/course (waived for ORI’s candidates in training)

To Register for this course, please complete the Registration form

by Jim Aitchison, Mourning and Melancholia Series


Thus, the shadow of the object fell upon the ego, and the latter could henceforth be judged by a special agency, as though it were an object, the forsaken object.  In this way, an object-loss was transformed into an ego-loss, and the conflict between the ego and the loved person into a cleavage between the critical activity of the ego and the ego as altered by identification.” (S. Freud, 1917, Mourning and Melancholia)

In teaching, as in the feeding of a child, the capacity to use objects is taken for granted, but in our work it is necessary for us to be concerned with the development and the establishment of the capacity to use objects and to recognize a patient’s inability to use objects, where this is a fact. … It is in the analysis of the borderline type of case that one has the chance to observe the delicate phenomena that give pointers to an understanding of truly schizophrenic states. By the term ‘a borderline case’ I mean the kind of case in which the core of the patient’s disturbance is psychotic, but the patient has enough psychoneurotic organization always to be able to present psychoneurosis or psychosomatic disorder when the central psychotic anxiety threatens to break through in crude form. In such cases the psychoanalyst may collude for years with the patient’s need to be psychoneurotic (as opposed to mad) and to be treated as psychoneurotic. The analysis goes well, and everyone is pleased. The only drawback is that the analysis never ends.” (D. W. Winnicott, 1969, The Use of an Object)

In Freud’s (1937) last clinical paper, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, he restates the concept of the altered ego as an ego which “approximates to that of the psychotic.” In this course, we will do a close reading of both Mourning and Melancholia and The Use of an Object, looking at Winnicott’s reformulation of Freud’s journey in recognizing the role of unrecognized ‘madness’ in analysis interminable and at impasse.  The object, the lost object, which the psychotic approximate and the borderline patient cannot use – is the analyst.  We will look at Winnicott’s clinical recommendations and students will use clinical vignettes to experiment with interventions with patients who cannot use the analyst as an object existing independent of the patient in time and space.


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

  • Discuss the concept of object loss experienced as ego loss;
  • Describe the difference between object relations and object usage;
  • Use transitional interventions with patients who are not able to use the analyst as an object;
  • Recognize and treat psychotic process hidden by psycho-neurotic and psycho-somatic states.



Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NPsyA, B. Music — is the Supervisor, Training Analyst, Faculty of NPAP and IEA; Dean of Students, IEA; Instructor/Faculty, Training Analyst, Training Supervisor, ORI. She is the former staff psychotherapist at the Lower East Side Service Center’s Drug-Free Outpatient Program. Stefanie Teitelbaum is in private psychoanalytic practice in New York City.


Tuition: $450/10-week course/trimester (can be paid in 2 installments)
Registration fee: $25/course (waived for ORI’s candidates in training)

SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for retired or disabled practitioners, or need-based or/and those who live outside of the USA.
To apply for your scholarship, please go to the registration form below.

Full refund until the 1st session.
75% refund before the 2nd session.
50% refund before the 3rd session.
No refund from the day of the third session, but 50% of the full paid tuition will be applied to any further ORI events.