Update from the Board: Letter from the President

Yvonne De Cuir, PhD

President, WBCP Board


Dear All,

          The Board, the Institute, our Center programs and all our committees are operating at full tilt to keep our Center functioning with the usual high level of excellence that we are known for. Our impressive faculty, supervisors, advisors, students, candidates, committee members, Board members, and hardworking, dedicated administrative staff continue to support our organization’s operations with a commitment to excellence in teaching, programming, outreach, and service. Simultaneously, we are engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across the Center, efforts to become aware of who we are and have been and reaching/striving to become a Center in which all our members are valued, respected, respectful, and embraced.  That vision leads us forth, knowing that then we will be able to hold our heads up high, when we recognize and celebrate the humanity of all, while holding the tension that we have much to do. I could try to update you on all these matters, but there are so many, that none of you would still be reading this piece if I tried.  Instead, I have chosen to highlight a few of these efforts, and I apologize in advance since I could have written about several other efforts and/or named the work and contributions of many other distinguished members. Please understand that the works of our Center have taken a village, and, in turn, each member ‘s input and contributions are valuable, valued, and greatly appreciated. Thank you!  The news around our country and around the world being grim, and at times things happen within the Center that are disheartening, we nonetheless carry forth with this knowledge, a determination to do our part towards a more accepting way of being together that celebrates our differences and uplifts us all.  At a future date, I will give a historical account of our DEI efforts at the Center, provide broader updates from other committees and programs, and let you know what we still have planned.

       The Curriculum Committee is working to integrate DEI efforts by broadening the curricula and supporting faculty to be more inclusive of diversity in the classroom. A Diversity Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee was formed to review PSP and candidate courses and to talk with faculty about DEI recommendations (Jacqueline Neilson, Andrew Carroll, and Tyger Latham). A process is underway to study how diverse experiences, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color and LGBTQ+ persons, are represented in courses via theory and clinical examples. We recognize that these efforts must be expanded to include representation of all persons, and that work has already begun. Conversations about diversity pedagogy have led faculty to think about how to better approach teaching, both through historical and contemporary psychoanalytic theory and texts. Faculty are reflecting upon the texts they are teaching with “a DEI eye” and grappling with whether and how to teach passages and examples that are racially biased, heteronormative, pathologizing of diversity, or otherwise othering. Faculty are also contending with how to teach foundational theories and articles, which involves including clinical context, adding newer articles with diverse populations, and are themselves engaging in clinical workshops on diversities to increase understanding and teaching effectiveness. In addition, courses have been added to the WBCP PSP and candidates’ curriculum, specifically to expand clinical thinking about the diversities: Diverse Minds Diverse Bodies, Sexuality and Gender, Community Psychoanalysis, Racism: Psychoanalytic Conceptualizations Regarding Othering, and LGBTQ+ Special Topics Course. This overhaul of our curriculum will take some time, but I chose to highlight it as a model for all aspects of diversities work, and I believe this approach to our curriculum is a unique approach within psychoanalytic institutes across the country, for which we can be proud.

                    The Black Psychoanalyst History Project began almost 4 years ago. At that time, following a Raphling lecture by Anton Hart and feedback from his consultation with the Center, Dorothy Holmes challenged us to embark on an in-depth investigation of the training experiences of African American persons in the Center, seeing this as important scaffolding for the building of a racially inclusive Center. Dr. Holmes stated that the investigative approach would “help in the development of a robust and sustainable inclusion of race in all aspects of institute life.” Soon thereafter the country was horrified by the public deaths of George Floyd, Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and the myriad other Black men and women, details of which dominated the evening news. These acts of violence were not new, but the recognition and focus on mainstream media was. These and other pivotal events in the larger community and within our Center propelled a subgroup of the Diversities Committee to coalesce around studying and documenting the history of structural bias in our Center, starting with the Black experience. Under the adept stewardship of Raquel Adams and funded by the Board, this group of seven learned, respected, and dedicated analysts and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapists (Marilyn Martin, Joanie Liebermann, Constance Dunlap, Anne Adelman, Fred Pisoni, Lizbeth Moses, and Raquel Adams), created The Black Psychoanalyst History Project, and they have produced 3 videos of semi-structured interviews with Black analysts who trained in our Center. They plan to complete three more video interviews in the coming fiscal year, all of which will be made available for educational purposes within the Center.

               In March, in Washington, D.C.  we hosted the highly successful Community Psychoanalysis Conference, “The Unseen: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Community Psychoanalysis into the Future”. This hybrid conference, of which WBCP was one of the many sponsors, was a tour de force, organized by Lizbeth Moses, Paula Christian Kliger, Lee Slome, Tom Veeder, Francis Lang, and Karol Kullberg, as part of APsA’s DPE Committee on the Analyst in the Community, attended by many from WBCP, and others from around D.C., the country, and from around the globe.

               Invited speakers, Daniel Gaztambide, Francisco González, and Kimberlyn Leary  in addition to talks by committee members, and a viewing of a gripping movie by Paula Christian Kliger, were stellar, providing attendees not only with a wealth of knowledge about community psychoanalysis, but also lighting a fire under us, underscoring the necessity of analysts’ and psychoanalytic psychotherapists’ proactive involvement in the world, reminding us that we have much to offer in the world outside our offices and classrooms, and, in turn, we have much to learn from such engagement. The world needs our psychoanalytic lens and expertise, and our communities need us involved, as we collaborate with other persons in the community to address crises in our communities, in our country, and globally.

               In the Fall we will be launching a new program in our Center specifically devoted to Community Psychoanalysis, chaired by Debbie Feldheim and Joy Kassett. The Community Psychoanalysis Certificate Program (CPCP) is now accepting applications for our first class. This exciting two year program will meet twice monthly throughout the year, and will involve didactics, teaching about working psychoanalytically in the community, experiential, reflective group work based on Balint-style work groups, and supervised field placements. The experiential groups are designed to help participants develop creative ways of thinking about challenging situations in community settings, help identify emotional factors evoked in the complex relationships involved in the issues being presented and foster a bonding experience among group members. The supervised hands-on field placements will be held in local, national, and international organizations where participants will have the opportunity to put into practice their learning in the program.

              Many of our members are already involved in important work in the community, and we welcome hearing from you about what you are doing. In community psychoanalytic work, we need everyone’s’ helping hands, as the stakes are high, and there is so much work to be done. Let us know about your current involvement in the community to which you bring your psychoanalytic lens.

             We are looking forward to Don Moss coming this May. His Raphling lecture, will be open to the public, and is entitled, “Encountering Representations of Evil”. It will include reflections on Israel/Gaza and the “Lynching Museum” in Montgomery, Alabama. In the morning, Dr. Moss will meet separately with students, candidates, and recent graduates, and then later in the afternoon with faculty on classroom curriculum and environment. With the faculty, Dr. Moss will focus more specifically on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in contemporary psychoanalytic education.

              Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to attend our 2024 Graduation and Awards Ceremony on June 15 at the lovely setting of Hogan Lovells. It is a joyous occasion to reunite in-person, post-pandemic with other Center members, to support and celebrate our graduates, and to thank our fellow members for their outstanding service to our Center and to the field of psychoanalysis. This year our Awardees are Judith Chused, Barry Landau, and Ernest Wallwork. These are familiar names to most of us and beloved persons to many. Please join us.

Conquer anger with love, evil with good, meanness with generosity, and lies with truth.

                                           –Gautama Buddha

Spring 2024 Newsletter Articles

Dr. Andrew Carroll Awarded 2024 Edith Sabshin Teaching Award

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Andrew Carroll, the 2024 recipient of the Edith Sabshin Teaching Award.  The Sabshin Award was established by the APsaP Council to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions as educators of students who are not psychoanalytic candidates, and those teaching in other settings such as undergraduate, graduate, medical schools, and psychotherapy training programs.

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2024 LGBTQ+ Workshop

We are pleased to announce that Sam Guzzardi, LCSW, a New York City-based psychoanalyst trained at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (IPSS), will present “Holding Laplanche Lightly: The Story of Two Queer Treatments” at our fourth annual LGBTQ+ Workshop on October 20th.  

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PsychBytes is Reverting to Re-runs

It is with a heavy heart that as Editor of PsychBytes since 2017, I must announce that we are closing down our 300 word essay publication .  PsychBytes  is prominently displayed on the WCBP website but has suffered a dearth of submissions since early 2022, and not a single submission in the last year.

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