WRD Fairbairn

Seating is limited. Registration is required.

Registration is a two-part process, and both parts must be completed to register. First, complete the registration form below. Next, click “Add Registration to Cart and Check Out”. (Even if the registration is free, you must complete the “Check Out” process.) You will receive an email confirmation of your registration. If you do not receive an email confirmation immediately after the “Check Out” process, your registration is not confirmed; Please contact Drew Brydon (dbrydon@bpsi.org) for assistance.

Seating is limited. If you register but cannot attend, please email Drew Brydon to release your seat reservation. Thank you.

If people are logical, pleasure seeking creatures who learn from their mistakes, how do we explain their repetitive, contradictory and often self destructive choices?

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8 Sessions: Mondays, Feb 4, 11, 25, Mar 4, 11, 18, 25, 2019

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

BPSI, 141 Herrick Road

Newton Centre, MA 02459

This program will be of interest to non-practitioners and practitioners at all levels of training. Continuing Education credits are offered for physicians, psychologists, and social workers.

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A battered woman returns to her physically abusive husband for the fourth time. A man ragefully quits and walks off his job after feeling taken advantage of by an underappreciative boss, and all of the man’s jobs end this way. If people are logical, pleasure seeking creatures who learn from their mistakes, how do we explain their repetitive, contradictory and often self destructive choices? Freud wrestled with this problem and collided with the limits of his drive theory and the “pleasure principle”. About 20 years later, the Scottish psychoanalyst WRD Fairbairn offered an explanation and an alternative structural model of the mind, one that form the basis of Object Relations Theory, and one that remains enormously useful today.



Jason Jones, MD -- Psychotherapist Member, Graduate of the Advanced Training Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ATP), BPSI. Graduate of the Austen Riggs Center Fellowship, Family therapist at the Gunderson Program at McLean Hospital. Private practice in Belmont.


Learning Objectives
After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the limits of the pleasure principle in understanding people’s behavior.
  2. Describe what Fairbairn means by the “schizoid condition”.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of Fairbairn’s “moral defense”.
  4. Describe the basics of Fairbairn’s structural model of the mind.
  5. Apply Fairbairn’s structural model of the mind to clinical scenarios.
  6. Explain Fairbairn’s theory of how a successful therapy works.
  7. Identify Fairbairn’s use of his theories in his treatment of Harry Guntrip.
  8. Apply Fairbairn’s theories in an analysis of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon”.


Celani, D. P. (2001). Working with Fairbairn's ego structures. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 37:391-416.

Fairbairn, W. D. (1952). Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality. London: Tavistock Publications Limited.

Rubens, Richard L. (1994). Fairbairn's structural theory. In Grotstein, James S. and Rinsley, Steven B., (Eds.) Fairbairn and the origins of Object Relations Therapy. London: Free Association Books.

Skolnick, Neil J. (2014). On the theory of psycho-analytic treatment. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:166-182.



7:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Lecture/Presentation; 7:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Group Discussion.

Continuing Education

Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 12 hours of CE.

Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Social Workers: Application for social work continuing education has been submitted. Please contact us at office@bpsi.org or 617-266-0953 for the status of the social work CE accreditation. 

Please note: Per NASW requirements, social workers must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Licensed Mental Health Clinicians: NBCC credits are not available for this course.

Please note: Licensed Mental Health Clinicians may request continuing education credit on an individual basis from NBCC, through their Continuing Education Credit Verification process.

Cancellation Policies & Procedures
Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled, must submit their request in writing via email to Drew Brydon at dbrydon@bpsi.org. For fee-based events, a request for cancellation (and refund using the original form of payment) must be received no later than 48 hours in advance of the event. Requests received later than 48 hours prior to the event will not be processed or accepted. All approved refunds are subject to a $10.00 administrative fee.

If BPSI cancels an event, all registrants will receive a full refund of fees paid (no administration charge) no later than two business days following the scheduled date of the event, using the original form of payment.

Grievance Policy
Please address any questions or concerns about your experience at this or any program or event you have attended at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute to the Program Chair, via the Senior Administrator/Director of Continuing Education, BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459; office@bpsi.org; 617.266.0953.

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Inc., 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459, does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or handicap in the admissions, administration of its educational programs, scholarship and loan programs or employment.





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