The Enigma of Desire with Galit Atlas

The Enigma of Desire with Galit Atlas

Macht Auditorium at Cambridge Hospital

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Date(s) - 12/10/2016
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Moderator: Rob Riethmiller, Ph.D.

Galit Atlas will join us to discuss her recent book: The Enigma of Desire: Sex, Longing, and Belonging in Psychoanalysis.  Dr Atlas offers new perspectives on desire and longing, in and outside of the analytic relationship.  She will discuss what she terms the Enigmatic and Pragmatic aspects of sexuality, longing, female desire, sexual inhibition, pregnancy, parenthood, and creativity.  Integrating her study of object relational theories, and her extensive work with Jessica Benjamin, Galit Atlas will re-examine the mother-baby relationship by focusing on its enigmatic aspects.  She says, “The ties to the mother, to the umbilical cord, are representations of he unknown and of the mysterious aspects of our existence, including birth and death”.  Dr Atlas will describe various clinical encounters, within different cultural contexts, that illustrate both her ideas and her approach to treatment.


Galit Atlas is a psychoanalyst and clinical Supervisor in private practice in Manhattan.  She is on the faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and NIP. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on gender and sexuality.

Continuing Education Credits

Non MIP members must pay $15 per credit if they wish to receive CEs. Each activity awards one credit for each hour of instruction. You are welcome to register and attend this program. After the program,  non-MIP members wishing to receive CE must pay at that time.

Psychologists: The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP) is approved by the American Psychological Associa­tion (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. MIP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Physicians: The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, Inc. is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, Inc. designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Social Workers: An application for social work continuing education credits has been submitted. Please contact Liz Martin at for the status of social work CE accreditation.

Learning Objectives

(1) At the end of this program you will be able to explain concepts of the Pragmatic and Enigmatic of sexuality.

(2) At the end of this program you will be able to identify the link between the mother – infant dialogue and adult experiences of sexuality and desire.

(3) At the end of this program you will be able to understand interrelationship of intimacy and culture.

Suggested Readings

Atlas, G. (2016). The enigma of desire: Sex, longing, and belonging in psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Routledge.

Benjamin, J., Atlas, G. (2015). The ‘Too Muchness’ of Excitement: Sexuality in Light of Excess, Attachment and Affect Regulation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96:39-63.

Benjamin, J. (2004). Revisiting the riddle of sex. In I. Matthis (Ed.), Dialogues on sexuality, gender, and psychoanalysis (pp. 145-172). London, UK: Karnac.
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