Working with primitive states of mind – Autumn School – October 6-8, 2023, Bankya

The Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (SPP) is pleased to invite you to an autumn school on the topic „WORKING WITH PRIMITIVE STATES OF MIND with Dr Petya Petkova and Dr Paolo Carignani – psychoanalysts, guest speakers and lecturers in the training program of the Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

Dates: 6, 7 and 8 October 2023

Conducting method: live.

Venue: “Bankya Palace” Hotel, Bankya.

Working language: Bulgarian – translation from English and Italian into Bulgarian and vice versa will be provided.

Main Speakers:

Dr Petya Petkova is a fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London, and the British Psychoanalytical Society. She works as a psychoanalyst in full-time private practice in London. She was a visiting Lecturer at Imperial College in London, The Tavistock Institute in London, and the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London. She has also been teaching and supervising in South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Bulgaria.

Dr Paolo Carignani, Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists. He was a teacher on the Tavistock Model Observational and Clinical Training for 30 years. He works as a psychoanalyst with children, adolescents and adults in private practice. He has published several papers on psychoanalytic technique with children and adolescents, on the body-mind problem in psychoanalysis, and on the relationship between philosophy and psychoanalysis.

The Topic of the Autumn School:

Dreams, symbols, jokes, art, but also illness, suffering, perversion, madness, war – what is common between all of them is that they are a manifestation of the unconscious and provide us with access to the primitive phantasies, objects, and emotional experiences with which it is populated.

The discovery of the mechanism of projective identification made examination of the more primitive forms of communication and emotional experiences possible. It allows us to recognise them in our clinical work (transference and counter-transference), in the course of human development (reverie and the container-contained relationship), as well as in the processes of symbolisation, in creativity, art, language, learning from experience and intuition.

As therapists we are constantly exposed to primitive states of mind – both our patients’ and our own. Working with them is the core of what we do and presents us with a lot of technical, theoretical and ethical questions. This is what we invite you to explore together during the Autumn School of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.


Friday, 6th of October, 2023

18.00 – 19.30.: “Difficulties in working with primitive states of mind” – panel discussion with Dr Paolo Carignani and Dr Petya Petkova, moderated by Viara Videlova

20.00 – 20.30: Welcome drinks.

Saturday, 7th of October, 2023 

The sessions between 9.30 and 17.00 are open for all participants and include presentations by the two main speakers, related to the topic of Working with Primitive states of mind.

9.30 – 11.00: “Some aspects of communication in the analytic relationship with children, adolescents, and psychotic patients – part one, theoretical aspects” – Dr Paolo Carignani;

11.10 – 12.40: “Encountering primitive mental states in the analyses of an adolescent and an adult patient” – Dr Petya Petkova;

12.40 – 15.30: Lunch and free time;

15.30 – 17.00 “Some aspects of communication in the analytic relationship with children, adolescents and psychotic patients – part two, technical aspects” – Dr Paolo Carignani

17.10 – 18.40: Clinical seminars held in parallel in three groups in three rooms;

Access to Group 1 and Group 2 is limited to Candidates in training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with the Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (SPP) or Candidates in training in psychoanalysis with the Bulgarian Psychoanalytic Society (BPS). Group 3 is open to all participants who are interested in the Baby Observation method.

Room 2, group 1, supervision of a clinical case, led by Dr. Paolo Carignani. Access limited to Candidates of SPP and BPS;

Room 3, group 2, supervision of a clinical case, led by Dr. Petya Petkova.  Access limited to Candidates of SPP and BPS.;

Room 1, Group 3, “The Place of the Baby Observation Method in the Containment of Primitive States of Mind”, led by Elena Bozhinova and Maria Eneva. Open to all participants.

18.50 – 19.50: Closing session, common to all participants.

Sunday, 8th of October, 2023

9.30 – 11.00: “Ethics and Psychoanalysis. Ethical Problems and Deviations from Method in Psychoanalysis”, presenter Dr. Petya Petkova

Session on professional ethics – an initiative of the Professional Ethics Committee (PEC) of the SPP. This session will present ideas from the following two texts:

  • Zachrisson, А. (2014) Ethical breaches and deviations of method in psychoanalysis: A heuristic model for the differentiation of boundary transgressions in psychoanalytic work, Int. Forum Psychoanal., (23)(4):246-252
  • Joseph, B., Ethics and Enactment, Bulletin 57, 2003 (Page 147-152), EPF Conference 2003

11.15 – 12.00: Presentation of the training program in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at SPP. Meeting with members of the Organization Committee of the training and candidates in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Questions and answers session.


For any questions or comments, you can contact us at the following email address: