MCPP Monthly Meeting

Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy


Staying The Same While Living With Multitudes: A New Look At Object Constancy


Alan J Levy, Ph.D. 
University of Maryland


Lake Superior Room
Michigan State University Union Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

February 16, 2020
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

No Registration Needed 


This presentation will critically consider object constancy, a core psychoanalytic concept, in light of modern relational analytic thought.  The presenter will introduce participants to the classical view of object constancy and illustrate its role in psychoanalytic treatment.  Relational psychoanalytic concepts of multiplicity of the personality will then be discussed.  The presenter will posit that rather than entailing integration of good and bad part objects, object constancy is better conceptualized as the capacity to hold the tension between and among good and bad part-objects.  This understanding allows for the elaboration of multiple, variegated self-states, and more flexible, dynamic movement among them.  Holding tension between self-states entails maintaining emotional and cognitive regulation, engenders complexity of experience, perception of nuance, and creates potential for a more vibrant, authentic way of living.  Illustrative case examples will be presented.

Alan J Levy, a psychoanalyst who serves as Vice President and faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.  He is a Lecturer at the University of Chicago where he teaches courses on psychodynamic theory and practice.  A former dean of the Institute for Clinical Social Work, Dr. Levy is widely published and has received the Distinguished Career Award, and has been recognized as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow by the National Academies of Practice.  He maintains a private practice in Northfield, Illinois on Chicago’s North Shore. 

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

  1. Define and apply the classical conception of object constancy to their clinical work.

  2. Recognize and use relational concepts of multiplicity of self-states in their clinical work.

  3. Utilize the notions of holding tension among multiple self/other states in order to achieve complexity in their clinical work.


Suggested Readings

Benjamin, J. (2010).  Where’s the gap and what’s the difference? The relational view of intersubjectivity, multiple selves and enactments.  Contemporary Psychoanalysis: 46(1):112-119.
Blass, RB (2015).  Conceptualizing splitting: on the different meanings of splitting and their implications for the understanding of the person and the analytic process.  International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 96(1): 123-139.
Bromberg, P.M. (1996).  Standing in the spaces: The multiplicity of self and the analytic relationship.  Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:509-535.
Davies, J.M. (1996).  Linking the ‘pre-analytic” with the postclassical: Interaction, dissociation, and the multiplicity of unconscious processes.  Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:553-576.
Flax, J. (1996).  Taking multiplicity seriously: some implications for psychoanalytic theorizing and practice.  Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:577-593.
Goldin, D. (2015).  The storied self: the search for coherence amidst constant change.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 25(6):662-679.
Hartmann, H. (1952). The mutual influences in the development of Ego and Id.  Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 7:9-30.
Mahler, M.S. (1974).  Symbiosis and individuation--the psychological birth of the human infant.  Psychoanalytic Study of the child, 29:89-106.
Meares, R.A. (2012).  A dissociation model of borderline personality disorder.  New York: W.W. Norton.
Newirth, J. (2018).  From sign to symbol: transformational processes in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychology. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Segal, H. (1978).  On Symbolism.  International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 59:315-319.


Continuing Education Credits: This program offers 2 CE credits. For non-MCPP members there is a $25.00 fee.


Driving Directions:

Address: Lake Superior Room
3rd Floor, Michigan State University Union Building
49 Abbot Road
To nearest (and free) parking:
Go to Grand River Ramp #6 (lot #103, bldg. #0222), which is right next to the Olin Health Center off East Grand River Avenue.
For navigation purposes use:
Olin Health Center
463 East Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824.
Walking directions to M.S.U. Union from Grand River Parking Ramp #6:
Walk out of the parking structure on the E. & W. Circle Drive side NOT on the E. Grand River Avenue side.  Take a RIGHT on the sidewalk, such that West Circle Drive is on your left side. The first building you pass (on your right) will be the Human Ecology Building, followed by the Union at the corner of West Circle Drive and Abbot Road. 

If you need wheelchair access, take a right on Abbot Road and you will see the Union’s access on the right.  Once in the building, go up to the 3rd floor and look for the Lake Superior Room. 

  Questions?  Please email David Freiband, Ph.D., V.P. for Programs, at



Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (MCPP) is an independent, contemporary training institute founded on feminist principles and open to diverse theoretical perspectives.  We offer a positive professional community and welcome colleagues from within and without the psychoanalytic community to join us for our free monthly programs and classes. Monthly programs include continental breakfast.

This presentation is open to all interested persons, regardless of their level of experience or knowledge of psychoanalysis. There is no registration needed for our Sunday presentations.

Two social work CEUs and psychology CE credits are available. There is a $25 fee for non-members.*  

The Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative to provide CE credits for social workers. The Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  

The Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education credits for psychologists. The Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Click here for the APA certificate. 

For more information please contact V.P. for Programs, David Freiband, at Regarding CEUs for social workers, please contact Marybeth Atwell, LMSW at and CEs for psychologists, please contact Ralph Hutchison, PhD at

* None of the planners and presenters of this continuing education program have any relevant financial relationship to disclose.