Play and the Rules That We Need ... to be Broken (Zoom Only Registration)

In this Academic Lecture, Steven Cooper explores how psychoanalysis is a form of play. With adult patients, play helps unsymbolized experience find expression through words.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
7:00 - 9:00 PM EST In-Person and Zoom Program & Discussion
Registration is required for this program. All registrants will receive a Zoom link.
The 2023 Winter Academic Lecture

In this Academic Lecture, Steven Cooper explores how psychoanalysis is a form of play. With adult patients, play helps unsymbolized experience find expression through words. Winnicott’s theory of play, first described as relevant to children, marked a radical expansion of the intersubjective component of therapeutic action for all therapeutic work. Through the use of clinical examples, Dr. Cooper elaborates an application of this play concept to forms of transference-countertransference engagement and enactment. He explores how the emergence of play in clinical process disrupts and marks shifts in transference-countertransference, and examines how play is nearly always inextricably related to mourning attachments of various kinds. Finally, Dr. Cooper describes how limits in the therapeutic encounter are a representation of reality that is constitutive of play itself. This is an underemphasized but essential feature of Winnicott’s emphasis on psychoanalysis as a very particular and important form of playing. 



Steven Cooper, PhD, Presenter
is a Training and Supervising Analyst at BPSI and on the Faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. His most recent book is Playing and Becoming in Psychoanalysis, just released from Routledge. 

Tanishia Choice, MD, Panelist
is a Third-year Candidate in joint adult and child psychoanalytic training at BPSI. She is a Child and adult psychiatrist in private practice, Lexington; a staff psychiatrist in child and adolescent psychiatry, MGH; and a lecturer part-time, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. 

Thomas Westerling, III, PhD, Panelist
is a Third-year Candidate in adult psychoanalytic training at BPSI. He is a clinical psychologist in private practice, Cambridge and an instructor, part-time, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Psychology, Harvard Medical School. 

Briana Saltzman, LICSW, Panelist
is a student in the BPSI Advanced Training program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She completed the BPSI Fellowship in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is a clinical social worker in private practice, Newton.

Sarah Lusk, PhD, Moderator
is a faculty member in BPSI’s Psychoanalytic training program. She is an Advanced Child Psychoanalytic Candidate at BPSI. She is in private practice with Children, Adolescents and Adults, Cambridge. 

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify two ways that play relates to transference-countertransference phenomena. 
  2. Describe how playing applies to the mourning process in psychoanalysis. 
  3. Explain how play is understood in relation to defensive processes. 
  4. Define how play is understood in relation to unconscious fantasy. 

7:00 Welcome and Introductions; 7:15 Lecture; 8:00 Panel Discussion; 8:30 Open Discussion 


This program is made possible by the generous support of BPSI members and friends. Your gift to BPSI supports psychoanalytic and psychotherapy education and ensures the future of our field. To make a gift, please visit

The target audience for this program is mental health clinicians at all levels of training and members of the community.
Scholarships are available for BPSI programs.
$95 Progrsm Fee
$85 Early Bird Special (available until 01/09/2023) Use Code at Checkout: EB2023WAL



This Zoom event will be recorded and shared with all registrants. The video may also be used for educational purposes or made available for purchase. If you do not wish to be recorded, please turn your camera off. By registering for this event, you grant permission to BPSI to the rights of your images, in video or still, and of the likeness and sound of your voice as recorded on audio or video.


Continuing Education

Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint provider ship of American Psychoanalytic Association and The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.”
The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies* whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company. -Updated July 2021-

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 course offers 2 hours of CE credits for psychologists.

Social Workers: Application for social work continuing education credits has been submitted. Please contact us at or 617-266-0953 for the status of 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: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI) has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6913. BPSI is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This program offers 2 NBCC Clock Hours.

Event Cancellation Policies & Procedures
Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled must submit their request in writing via email to Stephanie Cavanaugh at 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/Continuing Education Administrator, BPSI,141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459;; 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 programs or employment.