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2012-2013 Scientific Meetings

Listening to Shahrazad and The Arabian Nights
Can Stories Heal? And If So, How?

Presenter: Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D.

In the Arabian Nights, Shahrazad’s never-ending tales ultimately transform the murderous, vengeful king. They create a compelling “transitional space,” brimming with memories, terror and erotic longing. How does this archetypal storyteller dream her way into the king’s trauma, healing his heart? Listening to Shahrazad, we hear how, through multiple, unfolding narratives, she creates a new relational context, facilitates mourning, allows new structure to grow—and saves her own life.

Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D. is the President of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, MIP. He teaches and supervises at many psychoanalytic institutes worldwide and is an editor at Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. He practices and teaches psychoanalysis in broadly relational and existential terms—focusing on mutual recognition, creative re-narration, and the analyst’s capacity to be opened and known in the process of change.

Educational Objectives: 1) Participants will recognize the role of narration and re-narration in the encoding and processing of trauma; 2) Participants will recognize and include dreaming as an essential component in re-narrating trauma-induced thinking and restoring a sense of agency; 3) Participants will expand their use of empathy, mutual openness and risk-taking in the treatment process.


  • The Arabian Nights, (Translated from the Arabic by Hussain Haddawy) NY: Norton.
  • Ogden, T. (2005), This Art of Psychoanalysis. Routledge: London.
  • Slavin, M., and Kriegman, D. (2005a) ”Why The Analyst Needs To Change: Toward A Theory of Conflict, Negotiation and Mutual Influence In The Therapeutic Process.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 8 (2). Read it as the chapter and
    afterword in Relational Psychoanalysis 2, Aron, L. and Harris, A, (eds), Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.
  • Stolorow, R. (2007), Trauma and Human Existence. NY: Analytic Press
  • Winnicott, D.W., Playing and Reality (esp.,”The use of an object and Relating Through identifications”), Middlesex, England: Penguin.

Target Audience: Psychoanalysts, other interested mental health professionals, and members of the community.

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