Alumni Group Round Table Discussion Series

March 26, 2021 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Online - Presentation

Enactments in the Clinical Process:

Acting Out or Generative Opportunities?

Guest Facilitator:

Tyson Davis, PsyD

Enactment has been defined as a co-created verbal and/or behavioral experience in which a client’s expression of a transference fantasy evokes a countertransference reaction from the clinician. Since the inception of the term by Ted Jacobs in 1986, the concept has greatly evolved. While enactment was once considered a symbolic resistance or unacceptable acting out, it has come to be viewed as one of the most significant relational interactions between client and clinician. Relational analysts have come to view enactments as joint repetitions of the past, ways of communicating dissociated issues, and even as potential vehicles for changing the future (Aron & Atlas, 2015; Black, 2003). While Maroda (2020) agrees that enactments are inevitable, she notes that there is no unified theory of their therapeutic action, nor do they always end well. Therefore, she advocates for ongoing affective communication that minimizes the frequency and intensity of enactments.

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