James Tobin, Ph.D.             

Parent Guidance 
Organizational Consulting

Finding the Subversive in the Persona of the Therapist 

Upcoming Talk on March 20, 2014

In this presentation, I will describe my view of the therapeutic space as an atypical reality in which the therapist must gradually draw the patient into an experience of the self unencumbered by social censorship and attachment conventions.  This transition is perhaps the most significant yet often under-emphasized component of the clinical encounter. The patient, harboring a lifetime of accommodating responses to important caregivers and the world at large, is portrayed as a conflicted, suppressed and/or interrupted identity who must tolerate the therapist's subversion of social convention.  The anxiety this causes in the patient is ideally counteracted by the therapist's persona, a humble, consistent presence and way of being that approaches the patient non-narcissistically.  As treatment proceeds, the transactional quality of human relatedness gradually gives way to the therapist's facilitation of the patient's creative expression, enhanced self-experience, and capacity to mourn.  This view of the therapeutic process is especially applicable to the training and supervision of early-career clinicians who struggle with unrefined assumptions about helping the patient and adhering to social convention in order to promote the therapeutic alliance.  This talk will be held on Thursday, March 20, 12:00 to 1:00 PM at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Orange.  For more details, consult the website of the Orange County Psychological Association. 



Relationship Series: 7 Talks

Available for Download  

In the last several months in a variety of settings, I have presented on relational dynamics and offered my view that interpersonal patterns are largely pre-determined by early relational experience -- the components of which are repeated across the lifespan. The unconscious recruitment of others to play a role in the most unresolved and painful elements of our emotional histories was a central focus of Freud and continues to be a major concern in contemporary object relations and intersubjective theory.  The 7 talks below attempt to elaborate on the relevance of psychoanalytic theory with regard to the pragmatic concerns of everyday life, including the dynamics of coercion, power, control, and emotional manipulation so common in romantic relationships and the workplace.  Transitioning from a habituated attachment repertoire to a more well-boundaried and firm self-concept less susceptible to projective influence is emphasized in these talks and conceptualized as a significant achievement in adult psychological development.   


False Intimacy: The Plague of Relationships


Why We Love Who We Love: A Psychodynamic Perspective on the Loss of Free Will


Repeating the Trauma: Unconscious Factors That Determine Contemporary Life


Interpersonal Transformation: Part I


Interpersonal Transformation (Part II): Attachment vs. Relatedness


Inducing and Being Induced: How to Recognize Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics


The Weakened Masculinity of Modern Man: Revisiting Oedipus 


Group Meetings 

The Men's Group

The Dating & Relationship Group 

These groups continue to meet the first and third Saturday of every month at The Water Garden Business Center, 23421 South Pointe Drive, Suite 130, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.  They are "hybrid" groups, i.e., partly psychoeducational and partly allowing for supportive group discussion and the investigation of personal dynamics.  The Men's Group focuses on psychosocial stresses and emotional challenges unique to men, and is open to all men 18 years of age and older.  The Dating and Relationship Group addresses difficulties encountered in forming and maintaining healthy viable relationships, with an emphasis on self-insight and the recognition of one's vulnerability to role assignment and breakdowns of intimacy.  For questions on these groups or to make a referral, please contact me at 949-338-4388 or jt@jamestobinphd.com.  


James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 | jt@jamestobinphd.com