Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute Receives Transformative
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Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute Receives Transformative
$5 Million Gift
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March Scientific Meeting 3/25/23

March 25, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Free – $25.00

Western New England Psychoanalytic Society

Scientific Meeting

Saturday, March 25, 2023    4–6 pm

via Zoom (link sent via email the day prior to meeting)

WNEPS members, WNEIP candidates and all students/trainees attend free
Non-members: $25 professional registration fee (includes CME/CE certificate with completed evaluation)


Trauma, the Zero Process, and the Construction of Reality

Speaker: Joseph Fernando, Mpsy, MD
Discussant: Steven Marans, MSW, PhD


The Jungle

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This paper delves further into the nature and clinical applications of the zero process, an idea I introduced in my 2009 book on defenses to designate a specific form of mental functioning that is a product of trauma. The formation of zero process memories through the shutting down during trauma of various functions such as integration and abstraction that usually construct the present moment leads to unintegrated, unsymbolized bits and pieces of raw experience. While being retained over time like a memory, in most other ways they behave as a present or future experience. The experience refuses to retreat from the perceptual systems of the mind to the memory systems, and thus does not become part of the psychological past. Specific ideas about the nature of the zero process will be contrasted with other theories of post-traumatic functioning, as well as with Freud’s idea of the primary process. Specific defenses that use the “just happening or about to happen” nature of the zero process, such as temporal shifting and splitting of the identity, will be described, as will zero process structures such as introjects. One of the main findings of zero process theory is that the repetitions of trauma, rather than being merely passive, are phenomena that have specific dynamics and structures. While pointing out the similarity between a present action or feeling and a past trauma has little effect, analyzing the defenses and structures that hold the repetition in place allows us to crack it open and achieve structural change. Because the superego is a structure with zero process elements, these same techniques are helpful in superego analysis.

Learning Objectives

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

  1. Will be able to list the basic characteristics of the zero process, compare and contrast them to characteristics of the primary process, and identify them in their clinical work.
  2. Will be able to describe how zero process characteristics manifest in such zero process defenses as temporal shifting, and internal structures such as introjects and the superego.
  3. Will be able to describe specific clinical interventions that are helpful in analyzing traumatic memories and utilize them with their patients.

About Dr. Fernando

Dr. Joseph Fernando is a training and supervising analyst at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, and Director of the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis. He has been in private practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for over 30 years in Toronto. Dr. Fernando has published papers on guilt, narcissism, the character of the exception. His book, The Processes of Defense, won the 2010 Gradiva prize for a book on psychoanalytic theory. His second book, “A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Trauma: Post-Traumatic Mental Functioning, the Zero Process, and the Construction of Reality” was recently published by Routledge in the IPA ideas and applications series. He is presently at work on a book on the deeper links between trauma, guilt, and the the superego, which attempts to throw some light on issues of cultural transmission and group delusions. He has presented widely on his ideas in North America and abroad.

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CME/CE Accreditation

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 providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and Western New England Psychoanalytic Society. 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.                     

This program is being reviewed for Continuing Education Credit hours by the NASW, CT to meet the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal.

 A Certificate of Attendance for WNE Programs can be used to fulfill CE requirements for CT Psychologists.



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March 25, 2023
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Free – $25.00
Event Category:


Online via Zoom
CT United States


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