Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP – April 25, 2020

What Can Psychoanalysis Contribute to the Care of Physical Illness and Pain?

Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP

In health care settings worldwide, psychological treatments of pain related physical illness have been dominated by therapies aimed at conscious control and stress management (i.e., cognitive behavioral therapy and its derivatives) leading to the marginalization of psychoanalytic perspectives.  This course will provide an alternative viewpoint. It will consider the efficacy of psychoanalysis for patients with medical conditions and in particular those suffering with chronic pain. It will also include discussion of psychosomatic presentations. The course will begin with a review of the history of psychoanalysis and medicine including the current state of medical practice and the doctor-patient relationship.  An explanation of the biology of pain and common pain conditions will follow.  The presentation will conclude with an integrated psychoanalytic perspective (classical and contemporary) informed by sociocultural and neurobiological insights. The presentation will be illustrated by relevant clinical vignettes.


Course Schedule:

8:30 am – 09:00 am:  Registration

9:00 am – 09:50 am:  Course Overview

History of Psychoanalysis and Medicine – From Freud to Alexander to Engel to Fonagy

Contemporary Medical Practice – Empiricist, Objectivist vs. Relational, Humanistic?

Conundrums of Evidence Based Practice – Individual Differences vs. Populations Generalities

10:00 am – 10:50 am:

Terminology Used to Describe the Mind/Body Relationship in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

Common Medical Conditions Leading to Pain

Psychosomatic Illnesses in the Era of DSM 5

Definition of Pain, Brief Overview of Pain Medicine Treatments and Guidelines

11:00 am – 11:50 am:

Theories and Techniques (Psychoanalytic, Neurobiological, Sociocultural) for a Psychoanalytic Orientation in Medical Illness and Pain

How to devise a treatment plan for pain disordered psychoanalytic patients

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm:

Case Vignettes

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Discussion and Questions

Course Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, the participants will acquire an increased ability to:

  1. Describe the history of psychoanalysis and medicine and the influence of social context
  2. List the common medical conditions leading to pain and accepted treatments
  3. Explain how psychoanalytic treatment is effective for pain and psychosomatic illness
  4. Design a treatment plan for patients with psychological distress related to illness and pain


Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified psychoanalyst with a specialization in psychoanalytic pain psychology.   Dr. Jacobs was trained as a physician’s assistant and worked for a decade in clinical medicine prior to becoming a clinical psychologist.  Dr. Jacobs is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and a Clinical Instructor of Anesthesiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Medical Center (Voluntary Positions) and a faculty member of the Wright Institute Los Angeles. She regularly consults with the health care industry about the need for a psychological sensibility in devising invasive medical treatments.  She is a member of the American Psychological Association (Division of Psychoanalysis), the North American Neuromodulation Society (Women in Neuromodulation), the American Academy of Pain Medicine (Ethics Council) and a member of the Board of Directors of Grex – the West Coast Affiliate of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.   Dr. Jacobs has a private practice in Westwood.


National University, Costa Mesa

General: $105 / $95 prior to March 20, 2020

Members: $95 / $85 prior to March 20, 2020

Students and Pre-licensed: $65 / $55 prior to March 20, 2020

To Register go HERE