BACK INTO THE OCEAN: Music, Identification, and the Oceanic Feeling
This is a virtual event, accessible online. Access instructions will be provided after registration.


Course Overview: 

All his sea dreams
Come to me
Joni Mitchell, "The Dawntreader"

What might the oceanic feeling have to do with music? One answer is that Freud claimed to feel neither of them, a biographical detail that is often attributed to his anxiety about undifferentiation, a fear of sameness, literal homophobia. This program resumes a Freudian voyage potentiated by his sea-change theory of sexuality using contemporary cultural objects including William Finnegan's surfing memoir, Barbarian Days; John Luther Adams' environmentalist composition for orchestra, "Become Ocean"; and Frank Ocean's Blonde trilogy to explore and contrast the erotics of identification (based on shared experience) with sexual complementarity (based on difference) through the work of Adam Phillips, Harold Boris, Leo Bersani, and Jean Laplanche.



Course Objectives: 

At the end of this event participants will be able to:

  1. Describe history of the concept of "oceanic feeling" in psychoanalytic work.
  2. Demonstrate the effect of musical experience in cultivating contact between patient and therapist.
  3. Compare the concept of homoerotic identification with heterosexual complementarity.


Empirical Reference: 

  1. Westen, D. (1998). The scientific legacy of Sigmund Freud: Toward a psychodynamically informed psychological science. Psychological Bulletin, 124(3), 333-371.
  2. Phillips, A. (2014). Becoming Freud: The making of a psychoanalyst (Jewish Lives). New Haven : Yale University Press.
  3. Goldberg, P. (2012). Active perception and the search for sensory symbiosis. JAPA, 60/4. 791-812.



Adam Blum, Psy.D., has written about psychoanalysis and the music of Björk, Kendrick Lamar, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Sondheim, Copland, and Michael Jackson. He has a private practice in San Francisco.

Francisco J. González, M.D., is a personal and supervising analyst and faculty at PINC. He has published articles on film, sexualities, and socio-cultural process, and sits on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. He has a private practice in San Francisco and Oakland.


Target Audience & Level: 

This course is for clinicians with all levels of experience in clinical work with some background in the principles of psychoanalytic approaches and an interest in music.


Program Committee

Jeremy Mintz, Psy.D., Chair

Danni Biondini, MA
Geetali Chitre
Danielle Dunchok, Psy.D.
Justine Leichtling, Psy.D.

Continuing Education

Production Date:


Price: $25.00