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Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy

Spring/Summer 2011

WCSPPINTOUCH Spring/Summer 2011

Editor’s Letter

I suppose you’ve heard the quip that, if you ever wake up in jail, you know you’ve got a good friend when they

Without too much careening, glance at how many events have flown by in this first half of 2011: fireside chats,

come to bail you out. But, a best friend? A best friend will be clinical seminars, movies, theater, publications... saying “Dang! That was fun!” How about being a best friend? I'm not in jail. But, this

Whoa, the retreat! Enjoy thirty-plus! packed pages on this alone, like dance moves, sentiments, & panelists’ prose.

InTouch is wildly unbound. More ample than the last one, it One regret: InTouch’s excerpts of panelists’ full talks are makes me realize that I am not an editor. Rather, I'm an

like favorite tunes, only to have someone change the radio

add-itor. (Maybe this suits WCSPP's spirit: all-inclusive.) And, dang! What a road trip this add-itorial ride is!

station mid-note. You want to hear the whole thing. As keen examples, we do have Judith Levy’s full refrain,

Come along & you may very well spot every buddy,

“It Sucks to Be Me,” along with full pages of John Turtz’s

candidate, & alumni that rallied with WCSPP these past

remarks & Joy Dryer’s workshop. (Hush, Bob Katz can

six months. Plus, Steve Guggenheim fastens his seat belt as bail you out of jail. After all, at Sunday’s end, he spoke on InTouch’s new copy editor. Is he the add-itorial patrol? No. Rather, roll the car windows down. Turn the tunes

humor as a transgression of constraints.) Then, like the whir of the wheels, nearly taken for

up. Let the wind tousle your hair. Go on, tap steering

granted as the rubber treads roll us forward, this issue’s

wheels & dashboards. Let voices croon.

Members’ Endeavors inspires a nimble forward momentum.

Wait. Save the front seat for your marriage counselor.

Throughout, spot summer reads & media, such as t.v.’s

Screech. Halt. Huh? That is, read up on the Couples Symposium, along with the audience’s remarks. Then,

Modern Family and smart-phone apps. In Looking Ahead, see how others plan to relax. Also, take up Rob Muller’s

browse profiles of the couples counseling program’s

working-draft regarding countertransference & referrals at

inaugural candidates. Such intriguing people!

Andrea Deutsch’s home, June 16.

Don’t stop there. Make sure to read Steve Eliot’s feature

So much, here. Keep the InTouch

story A Troubling Trend, derived from his email that lit up

link. Return to read leisurely.

our list-serve, followed by InTouch’s various “op-ed” voices

Mostly, here’s to your InTouch road

like Michael Wald, Phil Maniscalco, and Mary Siemes.

trip. Remember to roll the car

Kate Washton, director of the Child & Adolescent

windows down, if just once. n

Psychotherapy Program may be game to ride shot-gun; she is “obstreperous.” You just have to enjoy InTouch’s interview of her to get the gist.

~Terry Klee


Inside this Issue Profile: Coffee with Kate Kate Washton, Director WCSPP’s Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Program, tells the truth about Legos. Page 4.

WCSPP’s Couples Therapy Symposium Conversations & Perspectives on Couples Therapy: Tapes, Books, & Various Looks. Page 18 ~ 23 • What Is the Real Issue Here? By Bari Smelson-Kanwal, LCSW, PhD. Page 20

Feature Story • A Troubling Trend in Psychoanalysis: “What kinds of patients do you...?” By Steve Eliot, PhD. Page 10

• Aggression, Convention, & Fix-Him: An Experienced Audience’s Q&A. Page 23

Op-Ed Replies WCSPP • Culture’s Pathology Is Psychoanalysis’ Value Retreat By Bob Katz, PhD. Page 13 2 0 1 1 • Call It Talking Cure, But... By Michael Wald, PhD. Page 14

Humor, Improvisation & Surprise I






April 8 – 10

• Chit Chat with the Nice Lady: And If...Then, So Be It By Nina Gershowitz, LCSW. Page 15

WCSPP Retreat: April 8 ~ 10, 2011

• I Too Have No Problem By Phil Maniscalco, PhD. Page 16 • Aren’t We “Good Enough”? By Mary Siemes, PhD. Page 16













Norwalk Dolce

Page 1 of 8

Retreat 2011: Extended Section • Browse photos throughout pages 37 ~ 63 • Dancing pics [Members’ Only Version*] • Wine raffle snapshots [Members’ Only Version*] • Panelists’ Presentations [Members’ Only Version*] • Humor as a Characterological Essence By Bob Katz, PhD. Page 42 • The Retreat’s Reverberating Reprise By Barbara Hyde Messer, [Members’ Only Version*] • It Sucks To Be Me: The Emergence of Humor & Resilience in a Masochistic Patient By Judith Schweiger Levy, PhD. [Members’ Only Version*] * If you’re a WCSPP, member, enjoy the private extended versions of InTouch at Members Resources, Not a member yet? Enroll in WCSPP’s training and discover the opportunities.

Profiles of Training Candidates WCSPP’s Couples Psychotherapy: The Inaugural (& Already Experienced) Class By Terry Klee and the Candidates. Page 24.

Looking Ahead & Voyeurism Glimpse at how others plan to relax this summer with music, books, movies, & destinations. Pages 33 ~ 35

WCSPP Happenings Pages 28 ~ 32

Technophobia & Apps Find out what other WCSPPers have on their smartphones. Page 7

Members’ Endeavors Yet again a list of encouragement & admiration in our community. Page 8

Summer Reads & Media Book: The Social Animal by David Brooks’ Page 12 Movie: The Kings Speech. A review. Page 17 T.V.: Modern Family, Page 22 Talking with Doctors by David Newman, LCSW. Page 27 Plus a full WCSPP surveyed list on page 34


WCSPPINTOUCH Spring/Summer 2011

INTOUCHPROFILE “Child work has expanded and deepened the way I think about work with adults, making more room for more spontaneous experiences.” Kate Washton, LCSW Director Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Training

Coffee with Kate

Kate Washton, Director WCSPP Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Program tells the truth about Legos. InTouch: Thanks for sharing “coffee,” Kate.

Kate: Unlike adult treatment, where there is one person

Kate: Virtual coffee is my cup of tea, and I am happy to

to think about, child work involves many people: the

talk with you about the Child and Adolescent

child, parents, siblings, nannies, school personnel. This is

Psychotherapy Program. It’s such an enriching program,

a complicated process, especially as one is trying to track

and each year I look forward to meeting the new

transference and countertransference responses in all the

students, helping them to really grapple with helping

people involved. So it is important to make the initial

children in our field; it is such complicated work.

trimester a safe and supportive environment where we can really engage with each other, with our patients, and

InTouch: You use the words “enriching” and “complicated.”

with the curriculum. That’s the complicated part of it all. Continued next page...


...Coffee with Kate, Continued from previous page InTouch: And the enriching?

to have three child cases as part of their training. Not a bad

Kate: Well, the enriching part begins with the candidates

idea, although I think few of us can find families that would

in the first trimester; we’ve a class entitled “In the

bring their child five times a week! But I can’t imagine

Beginning.” It’s theoretical and practical, introducing basic

working with adults without a background in child

concepts of work with children. There’s a real emphasis on

development. Plus, you know, I think it is the obstreperous

the child within the family. And even though candidates

child in me that enjoys the work as well as the analytically

may have read some of the papers in the past, it is always

trained therapist.

helpful to take a fresh look, especially in light of the current interest in the neurology of the brain and our expanding

InTouch: Obstreperous? Please, I’m intrigued…

understanding of attachment.

Kate: After I graduated from Columbia University, I moved to Boston and spent five years working with

InTouch: This is a real passion of yours, isn’t it.

seminarians and other like-minded mental health

How did you get your start?

professionals creating alternative services for street kids. It

Kate: Many years ago, in a field placement for graduate

was an amazing experiment in self-creation for all of us as

school, I was fortunate to be in a setting where social work

we learned to write grants, do crisis intervention, get up to

staff, not psychiatrists, got to see children for therapy. That

speed on the hottest street drugs, and fend off police who

was my introduction to work with children and I have never

were looking for runaway kids. We could be professional

stopped seeing children since then. I also had a wonderful

with the kids and obstreperous among ourselves (group

supervisor who encouraged me to continue with the work

decisions were made at a farm in New Hampshire—this

and hoped I would be teaching someday.

was the early 70’s after all), and it introduced me to the value of spontaneity of all sorts.

InTouch: And here you are, just as your long-ago mentor encouraged! Does it surprise you at all?

InTouch: Did you continue that kind of work or

Kate: Actually not, at least not now, but that word—the

move in another direction?

word surprise—how apropos that our retreat this year

Kate: I moved from Boston to Connecticut and worked on

focused on humor, surprise and spontaneity in our work.

one of Yale’s children’s research units, then spent a year at

Child therapy provides a context in which all those things

the Yale Child Development Center. Later, I moved to New

are central. In fact, child work has expanded and deepened

York where I began a private practice. There wasn’t much Ends on next page...

the way I think about work with adults, making more room for more spontaneous experiences.

“That word—the word surprise—how

InTouch: What a great discussion this would have

apropos that our retreat this year focused on humor, surprise and spontaneity in our work.

been at the retreat: how necessary our

Child therapy provides a context in which all

understanding of child & adolescent psycho-

those things are central.

therapy is to our adult clinical grounding. Kate: Some of us did discuss this. I spoke with Annabella

Kate Washton, LCSW Director, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Training

Bushra at the Retreat about an analytic training program in Seattle, Washington, which requires adult analytic trainees


WCSPPINTOUCH Spring/Summer 2011

Coffee with Kate, continued from previous page

“My decision to train at WCSPP was one of the best of my life, as it expanded my understanding of psychodynamics, exposed me to contemporary psychoanalytic thought, and was the beginning of many friendships—ones that continue today.”

room for spontaneity during those years; and when I began a private practice, it was the isolation and lack of a collegial network that inspired me to begin analytic training—that began my wonderful connection to WCSPP. InTouch: InTouch is all about

Kate Washton, LCSW

WCSPP community... Kate: My decision to train at WCSPP was one of the best of my

Kate: Some of the best reads of my

Kate: Well, I’m not sure my

life, as it expanded my understanding

recent past are Wolf Hall by Hilary

colleagues see that side of me very

of psychodynamics, exposed me to

Mantel, Cloud Atlas by David

often (maybe at some retreats) but the

contemporary psychoanalytic

Mitchell, The Zookeeper’s Wife by

kids I work with know first hand that

thought, and was the beginning of

Diane Ackerman, Sea of Poppies by

I can be a very wicked witch, a

many friendships—ones that

Amitav Ghosh, The Hare with the

starving monster, or a goofy adult as

continue today. I have worked in

Amber Eyes by Edmond De Waal and

needed. Plus, when I am not

many capacities for our Psycho-

To The End of The Land by David

engaging in such things, I can be

analytic Association and for our


found in my garden, restorative hours

Institute as a whole. I enjoy all of it.

of fussing over plants and playing in InTouch: Okay, I am prying

the dirt. And, cooking is equally as

InTouch: InTouch is starting to

even a bit more, but your

satisfying. Okay, reading too! Also

peek into people’s book-bags.

laugh’s lightness hints at, uh,

totally engaging. I only play Lego

What’s in yours?

maybe a well-tamed

wars at my office. n

“obstreperous” merriment!

VIEW WCSPP Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Training CURRICULUM Click here



Technophobia & Apps A WCSPP list-serve survey indicates that, of those who replied, a comfortable crowd does not own any smart-phones yet...or are just learning to fumble with one. Yet, in our offices with patients, phones are quickly becoming more than just one’s reference library or personal assistant. The phone is taking its place as an attachment sublimation, if not a self-state contrivance. For instance, we’ve heard the word “crackberry” for some time now, right? And, InTouch welcomes your op-ed’s for future editions. Meanwhile, enjoy a bit of voyeurism: below are some of the apps (i.e., phone applications) that WCSPPers use on their phones. Future InTouch issues will feature and describe many of those listed here. But, um, if you just can’t wait until then, see your analyst. Or, go to the < iPhone App store > & < Blackberry app store >. Also, check out page 22, where we review the sitcom Modern Family embossed with techno-refractions. • The Weather Channel

• Facebook

• StarMap 3D

• Shazam

• Urbanspoon

• Free Books

• CraigsPro

• Phone flicks

• GL Golf

• Red Laser

• Pandora

• ibooks (i.e., Kindle)

• One Note

• Merriam Dictionary

• Sirius XM

• Holy Bible

• Weight Watchers

• Slacker

• Cook's Illustrated

• People's Bank

• BBC news

• AllRecipes

• Alarm Clock

• NPR news

• Epicurious

• Angry Birds

• Vlingo

• Big Oven

• Percents

• Poynt

• Netflix

• Grog Knots

• iLoupe

• Scrabble

• Flashlight Pro

• iHandy Carpenter

• TV Guide

• Medscape

• Google

• Farmville (Omigosh, I'm horrified to admit it.)

• Pocket Lab Values


WCSPPINTOUCH Spring/Summer 2011

In Touch: Celebrating WCSPP’s Community C i

Winter Issue / January 2011

Members’ Endeavors CAROL KEMELGOR, LCSW,a aWCSPP WCSPPfaculty, trained had psychoanalyst and co-author of the book Athena Unbound, had her work published in the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent both a journal article and a book chapter published: respectively, these are “The Gender Revolution in Science Psychotherapy, December 2010. It is entitled "Siblings In The Nursery And Beyond” and regards sibling relationships, their and Technology” in the Journal of International Affairs, Columbia University School of International and Public considerable impact 2010, on theVol. parents and children of thealso next“The generation, the importance Affairs. Fall/Winter 64, Number 1 and then Comingand Gender Revolution of in transgenerational Science” in The sibling Handbook of Science and Technology Studies,  The( M.I.T. Press. (Congratulations, Carol.) stories, often neglected, in our clinical work. Jane Bloomgarden, PhD,

ERIC MM. ENDOLSOHN , PHD, a faculty member andand supervisor for postgraduate in psychoanalysis at by the NY Stewart Crane, LCSW, psychoanalyst, faculty, former retreat committeeprograms chairperson, has been invited Adelphi University, the National Institutetofor the Psychotherapies (NIP), YeshivaHealth University, and ourin Westchester State Society of Clinical Social Workers present on March 5th at the Mental Association White Plains on his

Center (WCSPP), spoke on behalf of NIP’s Professional Association’s Focus Series on March 13. The title of Eric’s paper was “First Meetings in Analytic Therapy: Poetics and Pragmatics.” Eric focused on initial therapy huge impact onmeetings the lives between of men and often behow expressed through addictive behavior such asand sexual compulsivity and sessions as first twocan people and the hopes and dreads of both are carried represented experientially andStewart in the practical negotiations thatclinical mark the start with of therapy. substance abuse. will focus on the typical picture these patients and the treatment issues for therapy.

work with men sexually abused in childhood. This often unacknowledged trauma, (by society and by clinicians), has a


DAVID NEWMAN, LCSW, a faculty member and supervisor at The Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis and here Friedman, at WCSPP, LCSW, spoke ata The New Yorkcandidate Academyofofthe Medicine (NYAM) program on Feb 15. Hisgraduate topic follows hischild book& adolescent Geri second-year psychoanalytic and of the Talking with Doctors (2005), particularly he focuses on the creation and loss of collaboration between a doctor and program, has been invited to speak this month at the Ossining Public Library about “Pathways to Parenthood: Pre- and a patient who faces a life-threatening condition. Both NYAM and The Gold Foundation for the Humanities in Post-Adoption.” Some you may recall writtenwill expression similar matters when she presented at Medicine sponsored hisof presentation. ThisGeri’s monthbeautifully Keystone Books release a on paperback, expanded edition of David’s work; his newly aadded “Recurrence: Keeping theher Howling Bay,” the 2010 aforementioned WCSPP retreat. In turn,inShrinkRap, local epilogue, media venue, interviewed Geri on work inDogs this at area. To view Geri's David shares with us his most recent years’ experiences. (InTouch shares more about David’s work on p. 27. Thank interview, click here !Shrink Rap. ( you, David.) Steve Guggenheim, PhD, a graduate of the psychotherapy program, has been a volunteer co-facilitator of the Caregiver

MARGARET POSTLEWAITE, PHD, CGP, FAGPA, a WCSPP trained psychoanalyst, has been selected by the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society (EGPS) to be one of three distinguished honorees at their June 5th open to anyone for aMargaret sick or elderly friend or EGPS relative, he was interviewed on capacities, WVOX radio and appeared fundraiser in Newcaring York City. has served on the Board of Directors in many including President from 2005-2007. asked her experiences: Margaret says, “My involvement on Cablevision's Channel 78 program InTouch HealthTalk, in her Juneabout & July 2010 respectively. ( has both nurtured me and given me opportunities to express my vision and dedication to the field of group therapy and LCSW, its practitioners. It's an incredibly powerful adjunctiveSupervisory treatment inTraining which participants about Katie Hall, a psychoanalyst, recent grad of WCSPP’s Program, learn & Supervisor at ICP, themselves and their impact on others in ways that often can't be predicted in individual treatment alone. I'm conducted a community program in November; the Bedford Free Library invited her to return for a second time to share a grateful for having had this challenge and I feel honored to be chosen for this event.” (Congratulations, three-part workshop entitled “Calm, Cool, and Applying,” aimed at helping parents of high school juniors with the stress Margaret. We join you in your delight of this honor.)

Support Group at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle for over 15 years. To publicize this free service, which is

of the college process. Katie will also be leading a discussion group on “Others and Otherness” at a Stamford-Connecticut

DAVIDin SCHWARTZ , PHD, a WCSPP trained psychoanalyst and editorial board member for the journals church January. (

Psychoanalysis, Society, and Culture as well as The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, spoke on May 2 at the William Alanson White Institute’s Parent Center for the event “An Evening Discussion for LGBTQ Parents.” David spoke on dealing with parental gender roles and gender anxieties in LGBTQ families in a heterosexual culture. (Those of us who have heard David at WCSPP engagements know how fortunate the May-2 audience was.)  



NICK SINGMAN, LCSW, a WCSPP psychoanalytic candidate and this year’s chairperson for WCSPP’s annual retreat, will have his paper, "Getting to No," which he presented at last April's retreat, published in the May 2011 edition of “Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping.” MOLLIE SOKOLOV, LCSW, a WCSPP trained psychoanalyst, is carrying our WCSPP heritage north to New Paltz, where she will enjoy her new personal residence and her new private practice, too. (How great to have someone to refer to there.) Her office address is 134 Main Street, Suite 2A, New Paltz 12561. Phone (914)819-2348. JOAN STERN, PSYD, and NANCY AUSTIN, PSYD, both graduates of WCSPP psychoanalytic training program, are seeking therapist(s) to share their well-located three-room suite in Mamaroneck. Availability is Monday, Thursday, Friday. (A nice pair to share with, indeed!) For further details, please contact or IRENE STUDWELL, LCSW, a WCSPP trained psychoanalyst, was invited by Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services’ Children First Scholars to speak at the conference “Systems of Care: Providing Well-Being for Youth.” Irene’s particular workshop “Outpatient/Inpatient Care for Girls” became a lively, stimulating conversation amongst bright students eager to inquire about and volunteer thoughts on the clinical material presented. (Irene, how lucky those students were to learn from you.) BARBARA THOLFSEN, LCSW, a WCSPP trained psychoanalyst and founder of the on-line resource group “Lacanian Foothold,” epitomizes WCSPP contributions to our surrounding community with her series of speaking engagements. Most recently on May 7, Barbara spoke at the 42nd NYSSCSW’s annual conference “The Multiple Dimensions of Narcissism and How to Survive Them.” Barbara’s workshop is entitled “Reconsidering an Elusive Concept: Narcissism as Superegotistical Attack.” Catching up with Barbara, InTouch gathered Barbara’s engagements, below. October 2010

THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE PSYCHOANALYSIS OF CULTURE AND SOCIETY 2010 Annual Conference APCS – Rutgers University Psychoanalysis and Social Justice Doing Justice to the Unconscious: Freud, Irma and Das Ding.

October 2010

AFFILIATED PSYCHOANALYTIC WORKGROUPS AND THE LACANIAN SCHOOL OF PSYCHOANALYSIS The Ninth Annual APW Conference-San Francisco The Ends of Analysis The Ends of Analysis in the Navel of the Dream: Freud, Irma and Das Ding

May 2010

NEW YORK STATE SOCIETY FOR CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK 41st Annual Conference-NYC Lives Disrupted: Contemporary Approaches to the Treatment of Trauma Speaking the Unspeakable: Ruptures in Meaning Making and the Treatment of Trauma

April 2010

SOCIAL THEORY FORUM The VII Annual Social Theory Forum—The Campus of the University of Massachussetts Boston Critical Social Theory: Freud & Lacan For the 21st Century Bad Analyst Fantasies and the Enactments They Engender: Why American Psychoanalysis Needs Lacan

July 2009

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE OF CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK The 48th Annual ICAPP Clinical Conference-SanFrancisco The Therapeutic Crucible: How Clients Help Us Grow Bad Analyst Fantasies and the Enactments they Engender: Becoming Lacanian in a Post Modern Age.

MICHAEL WALD, PHD, a WCSPP faculty member, is forming a new supervision group, which addresses therapeutic and counter-transferential issues that particularly effect working with patients in depth. The group meets Wednesdays or Fridays depending on what is most convenient for the participants. The location is Larchmont. For more info:


WCSPPINTOUCH Spring/Summer 2011


“I am not criticizing any individuals for making these posts, but, rather, commenting on a trend in our field that is effecting all of us. (Certainly, I include myself.)”

A Troubling Trend in Psychoanalysis: “What kinds of patients do you...?” By Steve Eliot, PhD, Faculty, Supervisor, WCSPP

I don't think it is my

not criticizing any individuals

therapists (CBT to name

imagination that in just the few for making these posts, but,

just one) that have been much

years we have had the list-serve rather, commenting on a trend

better than psychoanalysts at

the referrals for various

in our field that is effecting all

marketing and explaining what

specialists have increased and

of us. (Certainly, I include

they do to the public.

continue to do so. “Looking for myself.) While I think there are

Here are three examples

specialist for eating disorders,

symptoms and disorders for

which may initially seem

OCD, dealing with aging parents, geriatrics, resistant

which specialization is disparate but if you listen as appropriate, I also think it is an good analysts you will see the

adolescent, young person with

idea that is greatly over-rated

theme. Several weeks ago an

social anxiety, sex addiction,

and has been perpetrated by

internist in my area asked to

PTSD, etc, etc, etc...” I want to insurance companies, drug

meet with me to learn about

be absolutely clear that I am

my practice. After some Continued next page...

companies and schools of


(Troubling Trend, S. Eliot, continued from previous) general discussion he asked me “what is your specialty, what kinds of patients do you like to work with?” Without forethought I answered something like this “My specialty is not one kind of patient, age group, cluster of presenting symptoms, etc., but the way I do psychotherapy.  I consider the person, their history, current life

Without forethought, I answered something like this "My specialty is not one kind of patient, age group, cluster of presenting symptoms, etc., but the way I do psychotherapy...”

situation, relational patterns, and their internal world; in

70% is a function of learned behavioral patterns, current

other words, the whole person. I work to create a relationship that promotes insight and growth.”

relationships, and stresses.  The show followed a young woman with a profound postpartum depression who first

Several years ago, a young man consulted me about

consulted a psychiatrist who was considered one of the

what would be called Sexual Identity Disorder. Both his

most knowledgeable and up to date pharmacologists in

confusion about his identity and the social problems

her area.  He administered checklists, barely looked at

associated were troubling him. At first, I thought I would her, explained little but gave her the most efficacious have to refer him to a “specialist” but I felt that he related medication regime possible.  She got worse and after well to me so before I made a decision I discussed it with three medication trials she went back to her gynecologist a fellow faculty member who was well-versed on this

who was a young, very empathic woman. She listened

issue. After discussing the case, she encouraged me to

carefully to her patients concerns, met with her and her

treat the young man, offered consultation, and advised me to relate and listen to him like I would with any other

husband, and explained some of the issues in postpartum

patient. The treatment lasted four years and had a very

walking out of the first session and the patient was

successful outcome; I also learned a lot.

already feeling better- she recovered fairly quickly and her

Several years ago PBS did an excellent special on

depression. The patient and her husband were shown

husband, when interviewed, said with deeply felt emotion

depression. They interviewed the psychiatrists at NIMH

that it was their trust in the Ob-Gyn that cured his wife.

who were doing the cutting edge research using the most sophisticated brain imaging techniques as well as

Several years ago, Ken Eisold from William Alanson White was the keynote speaker at our (WCSPP) retreat;

studying the function of neurotransmitters.  These very

he made the point that we, psychoanalysts, as a

biologically inclined psychiatrists concluded that

profession, need to do a far better job of letting the public

depression is generally 30% biologically determined and

know what we do. Certainly, some of the recently Ends on next page...

“At first, I thought I would have to refer him to a "specialist.” Steve Eliot, PhD


(Troubling Trend, S. Eliot, continued from previous)

“We need to be less inclined and quick to refer to specialists, and explain how psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy work.” Steve Eliot, PhD

published research such as Jonathan Shedler’s on longterm therapy is a good start. I believe that equally, if not more important, are our responses to the people who

approach since the numbers of people who come for two- or three-times weekly analysis have diminished; nevertheless our way of thinking, our conviction that one’s personal history is important, our belief in the unconscious and the evolution and understanding of the transference relationship remains our sine qua non. I know it is tough to keep this in mind in the current

come to see us everyday in our offices; we need to be less

environment where we are pressured by insurance companies, the economy, and patients’ expectations.

inclined and quick to refer to specialists, and explain

However, this is what we have to offer that is “special.” n

how psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy work. Interestingly, the most recent advances in the neurosciences (the work on attachment) profoundly support the notion that a secure, emotionally attuned relationship promotes growth and positive change and in effect is a requirement for emotional and cognitive development. As psychoanalysts, what we offer (regardless of our theoretical orientation) is an empathic relationship in

“Steve, I want to thank you for writing this post. ...In the spirit of attachment, support, and security, we need to do more of this with each other.” Judith Schweiger Levy, PhD

which insight is encouraged and interpersonal change promoted. We need to be creative in applying our

BOOKSHELF: A Letter from Author David Brooks nWe’re used to a certain story of success, one that emphasizes getting good grades, getting the right job skills and making the right decisions. But these scientists were peering into the innermost mind and shedding light on the process one level down, in the realm of emotions, intuitions, perceptions, genetic dispositions and unconscious longings. n This is not a science book. I don’t answer how the brain does things. I try to answer what it all means. I try to explain how these findings about the deepest recesses of our minds should change the way we see ourselves, raise our kids, conduct business, teach, manage our relationships and practice politics. nThis story is based on scientific research, but it is really about emotion, character, virtue and love. We’re not rational animals, or laboring animals; we’re social animals. We emerge out of relationships and live to bond with each other and connect to larger ideas. Source:



REPLYCulture’s Pathology Is Psychoanalysis’ Value By Bob Katz, PhD

objectification is perfectly consistent with the

I would like to add my voice to all of those who have praised Steve for his thoughtful and inspiring

contemporary cultural trends that are increasingly turning psychic experience into a virtual one

comments on a subject that deeply effects our

where the issues of agency and free choice are

experience of our selves as professionals on a

implicitly and insidiously blunted as the mind-

daily basis. His comments remind me of a point

brain controversy becomes decided in favor of the

that Erich Fromm made a long time ago. Fromm

latter. Hence, the subjectification of experience,

believed and I fully concur that the power of

being the essence of psychoanalysis,  can serve

psychoanalysis resides in its’ capacity to see

as the perfect antidote to the deleterious trends

through and deal with the pathological trends that

in the culture as just described.

inhere in the culture. Recall that the power of

Ultimately, I think we can turn the

Freud's ideas were a direct challenge to the Victorian morality that controlled the cultural

disadvantaged position we are in into an asset if we understand that it always takes courage to

attitude toward sexuality and the idea that man

fully live out and express one's individuality

was a rational being. In other words, the value of

according to what is valued. This type of

psychoanalysis was found in its' countercultural

conviction involves the willingness to go up

potential.' The idea of specialization that Dr. Eliot

against whatever tide is in the way. The more we

is writing about flows directly from the medical

develop a conviction about this, the more we can

model and this model is a subset of the scientific

love and appreciate what we do as analysts, the

zeitgeist that primarily controls the way the

easier it will be to help our patients find the

Western world has come to think about existence.

strength that resides in their own individuality and

Of course, it is this scientific-technological current that has resulted in the demeaning of unique

will to freedom. Of course, this difficult course is made all that much easier since we are all in this

internal psychic experience and has made

struggle together. Again thanks to Steve Eliot. n

psychoanalysis appear to be an antiquated art. I feel that it would be most useful for us to become more fully aware of the fact that ultimately analysis is about the "love of freedom and the freedom to love" and that, in the final analysis, love and intimacy are based on the appreciation of and deep respect for the other's unique individuality located in the ineffable internal realm. In short, even though it is well intended, a psychiatric diagnosis and its implicit meaning regarding specialization is a culturally sanctioned act that both requires and perpetuates the objectification of the patient's experience.  This type of

WATCHONLINE David Brooks at TED lends humor to how you cannot view humans as possessing fully conscious awareness, much less as separate individuals. Psst, TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Cool in itself. View video

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INTOUCHOP-ED Spring/Summer 2011


READ The New York Times article that sizzled the list-serve. Click the image.

“Language is a powerful determinant and mediator of attitude and consequently of power. The New York Times article is very much in need of deconstruction.” David Schwartz, PhD

Call It Talking Cure, But... By Michael Wald, PhD I believe the term “talking cure” was first used by Breuer's patient Bertha Pappenheim: Anna O in “Studies in Hysteria.” I have no problem being identified as a practitioner of the talking cure.  It is a complex endeavor of overcoming resistances to memories, associations, and intimacy.  Getting people to say whatever occurs to them in an uncensored way is not an easy task.  The rewards, however, are great. The process is life changing for people.  When I hear “talk therapy,” this is what it means for me.  Disturbingly, for most of the general public, this complex interpersonal event does mean

“chit chat.” Once again, it seems to me that psychoanalysis has an image problem. Another very disturbing part of the New York Times article [see image above] was the clear presentation of how insurance companies and drug companies have defined the field and discussion of what cures. I think practitioners of the talking cure have to start to talk more forcefully about the efficacy of the talking cure.  We need more research like Schendler's and better dissemination of that research.   We analysts are, of course, lumped in with other “talk

therapies” in the article. My own feeling is that there may be some techniques that are valuable in various other approaches and we might, in fact, benefit from incorporating them in our work.   But, as Schendler suggests,  it seems to be that the empathic contact with a caring other is the main factor in treatment success, even in those more structured therapies.  We make such contact our goal and life’s work. Thank you, Steve, for once again initiating a stimulating and important dialog--and, Lee and David, for taking it further. n


“Are we our own worst enemies when it comes to devaluing our skills? Why do we revert to "specialist" lingo when making referrals? Psychoanalysis enables us to work with a broad range...” Julie Willstatter, LCSW

Chit Chat with the Nice Lady (And If...Then, So Be It.) By Nina Gershowitz, LCSW

“Others” may try to devalue and minimize our no less than Herculean efforts of mind and soul and heart to help ease the pain of (pause) those same “others.” What comes through to me is so much anxiety for people to admit the potential transformative powers of our work. I'm reminded of my

experiences as a home hospice social worker years ago. Some of the terminally ill patients were welcoming and eager to engage with me about their practical existential thoughts and feelings. Others, however, saw me as the harbinger of death; they would adamantly refuse my services, as though that would put off the inevitable. For these people, I was able to get in the door only by not telling them who I was and what I was

there for. I wasn't a social worker, I was just some nice, concerned lady stopping by to see how they were doing. And so, if what would start out as our “chit-chat” just “happened” to evolve into a deeply meaningful exploration of existential questions and fears, and leave the patient a little bit more able to tolerate their death anxieties (whew, what a mouthful!), well... So be it. (You'll pardon the metaphor, I hope.)


INTOUCHOP-ED Spring/Summer 2011

Aren’t We Good Enough? By Mary Siemes, PhD There has been much dialogue on the Div. 39 by-laws and what I have taken away is a profound sense of gratification for the depth and breadth of my analytic training, what it affords in terms of thinking and working. This need for “specialty expertise” is certainly driven by many external forces, insurance companies and the like. But I also believe that it taps into a general anxiety of “are we good enough” which is what Winnicott proposed for the many parents and subsequent trainees he worked with.  How do we hold the environment when that anxiety is present?   Can we tolerate our own sense of “not-knowing” so that our patients can explore this arena and its meaning for them?   What is the need to rush in and “know”?   ...As analysts, we are equipped to facilitate meaningful dialogue, a curiosity for the internal space, and a fearlessness to explore such a realm of possibilities and potential...    With much thankfulness, Mary Siemes

I Too Have No Problem By Phil Maniscalco, PhD

In commenting on the conversation sponsored by the New York Times’ article on "talk therapy," I would like first to echo Michael's reaction [see p. 14] to being identified as a practitioner of the talking cure. I, too, have no problem with that description of myself. In fact, I kind of cherish it. It is what I do. I talk to people for a living. Obviously, ours is a special kind of conversation. And it may well be true that we don't always do a good job explaining to the general public what exactly it is that we do. But then, perhaps the difficulty is more in the nature of our work. It was never easy to translate concepts like “the unconscious, repression, transference, and projections” (in other words, the key concepts in dynamic psychotherapy) to the uninitiated. Therefore, some may think that what goes on is just "chitchat." On the other hand, there are likely many more who are resistant because resisting is what we humans do. If we accept the idea that people work (albeit unconsciously) at their own ignorance of themselves, i.e., through the various defense mechanisms, why assume that the project of deconstructing one's way of being in the world--that is, making oneself vulnerable--would be naturally appealing to the general public? While it is certainly true that psychoanalysis can be transformative and, at times, an almost magical experience, it is also lengthy, messy and,at times, painful. In other words, it is the best we got--but, it is not for everyone. Our best ambassadors ultimately are our patients. Only they are

witnesses to the value of our work. It seems to me that one way to think about psychoanalysis is that, given its modest beginnings in Vienna, in capturing world-wide attention and still thriving, it has been nothing short of a phenomenal success. Yet, we always seem to believe that we are on the verge of extinction. Consider Fromm's The Crisis In Psychoanalysis, for example. He wrote it in the seventies. He feared psychoanalysis’ imminent eclipse. Likewise, have we inherited from Freud a kind of paranoia, the "we" against the world? Might it not be better if we relish our success, enjoy what we do well, and perhaps focus more on the fact that, while psychoanalysis might not be for everyone, those who choose it are likely to live richer and more interesting lives. So, it is not about cosmetic change. (However appealing that might be.) Nobody frets that Zen Buddhism is becoming extinct, and though it too is not for everyone, many seek it and find its rewards. People will also seek and find us; we continue to be relevant. Our demise will come only when we cease to matter and, at that point, no marketing strategy will save us. n

“It may well be true that we don't always do a good job explaining to the general public what exactly it is that we do. But then, perhaps the difficulty is more in the nature of our work.” Phil Maniscalco, PhD


MOVIESTheKing’sSpeech AT O N E W I T H P S Y C H O A N A LY S I S After browsing these op-ed pages on “talk therapy,” put The King’s Speech into your movie queue. Sure, nod at the Academy Award winning performances, production, and script writing. Then, be at-home with how the film also nods at the spirit of our unique work and at our patients’ hope. Be taken in by the evolving, deeply felt relationship between two unlikely men; see the eruptions and joy familiar to our profession. And, like the preceding feature-story and op-ed pages about both professional regard (or not) and the enduring bond of how we work, the movie embraces life known only in finding one’s voice...(pause)...and in upholding one’s psychoanaltically-oriented capacity to aid another exactly because of society’s opposing superficial standards. --Terry Klee

How do you encourage psychoanalysis? Tell us what you say to patients, referrers, & people in general. Let others read it in the next InTouch. >> 17


WCSPP First Annual Couples Therapy Symposium: Conversations & Perspectives on Couples Therapy: Tapes, Books, & Various Looks Saturday, March 26 New York Hospital ~Columbia Presbyterian White Plains, New York

From left to right: Ke ynote Speaker: Laurie Abraham D i s c u s s a n t s & Fa c u l t y : Bari Smelson-Kanwal, PhD Rosalind Cohen, LCSW Susan Flinn, PhD


BRIEF: The Reason(s) The inception of WCSPP’s Couples Training Program brings with it the first annual couples therapy symposium. Special thanks goes to Jane Bloomgarden, PhD, who pioneered the idea over two years ago. Jane also made it possible for the community to meet keynote speaker Laurie Abraham, ELLE magazine editor, critically noted author, and contributor to The New York Times and more. For our particular interests, Abraham is also the recipient of the Award For Excellence, American Psychoanalytic Association. Jane credits Abraham’s featured book The Husband and Wives Club as being a solid resource for many clinical theories and theorists. No morning coffee was really needed given the author’s reading and reality video. And, Q&A gets its own cache on the following pages. Heck, the book signing just made it all that much more of a delight. n

Symposium Notes: “Consider loyalty as choice of love versus loyalty as obligation.” Rosalind Cohen, LCSW

Symposium Notes: “There’s the pursuer, sure. Then, there’s also the distancer with an ever-watchful eye over their shoulder to be sure the pursuer is still pursuing.” Susan Flinn, PhD

CAST: EventContributors Jane Bloomgarden, PhD (Chairperson) Ken Barish, PhD Ruth Greer, PhD Ari Kellner, PsyD Margaret Postlewaite, PhD John Turtz, PhD Kate Washton, PhD Michael Wald, PhD Julie Willstatter, LCSW

<< F OR MO RE abou t WCSP P’s keyno t e speaker L au r ie Ab rah am, cl ick her b oo k .



“Unhappy couples underrate their unhappiness.” Laurie Abraham, WCSPP Couples Symposium Keynote Speaker & Author of award winning books such as The Husbands and Wives Club, which earned the American Psychoanalytic Association ‘s 2011 Award for Excellence

Couples Symposium Respondents: What is the real issue here? By Bari Smelson-Kanwal, LCSW, PhD

A central aspect of how I work is to help each person in a couple to understand the deeper psychic experience of his or her spouse. And I help them to talk about it with each other. Perhaps Ann was attracted to Derrick because of his compassion, loyalty and old fashioned cultural values. And what else attracted her to Derrick?  Earlier in the tape she said that she was a lonely child.   I would want her to talk about that loneliness. I would want to understand the relationships that she might be replicating.   Did she ever feel like an outsider?  And what happened to her mother?  Were there any triangles in her own childhood? They both have difficulties with attachment.  Perhaps there have been other triangulations in this relationship, a child, a pet. And what about the group? Hasn’t even one group member had a similar experience to Derrick?  And what about me?  Why am I feeling so protective of Derrick?  Is my protective impulse an attempt to counter the wife’s unarticulated hostility?  What is

the real issue here? Why can’t these people open up to each other?  So after a careful and public exploration of the couple’s unconscious and conscious processes and a slow and steady detailed inquiry which would reveal the interpersonal anxieties and their origins, I would ask Derrick and his wife what it would be like to be alone without the mother.  I would help them to negotiate this process by looking at each other and talking.  An excellent book that I use to help me with this aspect of the process is Dan Shapiro and Roger Fisher’s book Beyond Reason, Using Emotions to Negotiate.  It is a step by step process of how people can get what they want. I would even elicit help from the group to assist them in finding a space where they could be alone.  At this point I might also give the couple an assignment to find some space and time to be alone, simultaneously making sure that everyone recognized the scope of these difficulties and the courage that is involved in restructuring a relationship. n


“What role does the ‘victim’ play in the creation of a relational problem?” Susan Flinn, PhD, WCSPP Couples Symposium Respondent, Psychoanalyst & Visiting Faculty WCSPP Couples Therapy Training Program



To L e f t : Co-Director of WC S P P C o u p l e s Psychotherap y Tr a i n i n g : Ruth Greer, PhD


T.V. MODERNFAMILY What “Modern Family” Says about Self-Analysis By Terry Klee In Steve Levitan’s and Christopher Lloyd’s most-watched creation of ABC’s televised “Modern Family,” we relax in story-lines that are probative of contemporary culture. Self-analysis plays in scenes as characters give confessional candor to an unseen person. (Say, you or the cameraman. You choose.) This mockumentary format makes us, the lounging viewers, laugh as we see the contrast between what the characters are really feeling and what they are willing to admit they were feeling in the scene. As psychoanalytic therapists,

>> .

these confessional interviews bemuse us with sensibilities of “does that happen at my office?” (It does.) But, then just the same, we can also feel comfort in the familiarity of such dialectic narratives. Unlike most popular hits, the show reaches directly into feelings. Characters are aware of their anxieties. The plots are less about how the characters act towards the world and more about how they experience life internally. But, there is still more. The show carries today’s family trees of divorce,

re-marriages, immigrants, adoption, gay dads, precocious adolescents, disappointing kids, and adults who never quite grew up. Yes, rich material for a lot of conflict and function. But, again, there is yet more. Characters also spend most of their time with their technology: phonecameras, phone-texts, spy-cams, iPads, baby monitors, YouTube videos, Facebook, karaoke gadgets, etc, etc. And, we the viewers witness (and study) the newfangled family’s modernity of techno-refractions. n

View Modern Family episodes online



Aggression, Convention, & Fix-Him: An Experienced Audience’s Q&A After watching a reality video of couples’ group therapy, filmed for the keynote speaker Laurie Abraham’s research, the audience leaned forward. Heads nodded as questions received replies of humor, theory, and clinical practicum. Here are a few paraphrases: ✤

Perhaps it’s when few words are said, that the most powerful moments are felt by couples.

Marriage is no longer conventional.There is no normal marriage; the work is in answering how each individual couple arranges gender relations?

Even if to the naked eye it seems otherwise, people of the same emotional developmental level find each other.

Symposium Notes:

“...the courage that is involved in restructuring a relationship.” Bari Smelson-Kanwal, LCSW, PhD Psychoanalyst, Panelist, WCSPP Faculty ✤

I’ve yet to hear acknowledgement of when couples ought to separate. The universal (and unspoken) precept seems to be to keep couples together. Sometimes the question might be why did they marry? Not, why stay together?

A couples-counseling therapist’s own anxiety risks demoralizing the couple they counsel. Take for instance when the counselor feels ineffective and, as we hear anecdotally from people, “My therapist said we should divorce.”

In the spirit of Winnicott’s case studies, when do you tell the patient “you hate them?” (Nervous chuckles). Serious discussion proceeded: one faculty member remarked, “How to use one’s own aggression well is not addressed often enough.”

Funny, we all want to fix the other so the problem will just go away. Is there a trained couples therapist in the house?

Symposium Notes: The focus can slip into looking at only one of the partners. It can also mistakenly only look at both of the partners. But there is a triangle. Yes, three: two partners and, three, their cocreation. Rosalind Cohen, LCSW Psychoanalyst, Panelist, WCSPP Faculty “I felt freer in my own marriage after reading how differently people construct their long-term relationships and love. One book in particular is “Parallel Lives” by Victoria Rose” Laurie Abraham



My thanks to all who organized the Couples Symposium event. Our classes are every bit as stimulating, rich, and thoughtful as the event was.   Though I've gone on for training in other fields after graduating from the psychoanalytic program, the fulfillment derived from returning to the Institute to study again is incomparable.  No less, my thanks to our outstanding teachers.  Lorraine Schorr, LCSW

WCSPPCouplesPsychotherapyTrainingCandidates The Inaugural (& Already Experienced) Class. By Terry Klee and the Candidates MICHAEL ALTSHULER, LCSW, CGP joined WCSPP’s Couples Psychotherapy Training Program to broaden his knowledge of couples treatment and to enhance his ability to work with high-conflict couples. Michael says, “In my private practice, I specialize in working with individuals, couples and families coping with extreme anger and destructive negativity.  As a certified group psychotherapist trained in Modern group analysis, my participation in the couples program has deepened my appreciation of the therapeutic value of working with couples in combination with individual and group treatment.”  To that end, Michael offers a variety of therapy groups including a couples therapy group ("Repair Your

Marriage Now"), an anger therapy group ("Using Anger Well"), and a young adults group for 20somethings who are failing-to-thrive during their emerging adulthood. In addition to his full-time practice, Michael is an active member of the Westchester Chapter of the NYS Society of Clinical Social Work. As the chair of the Education committee, he coordinates the Chapter's monthly clinical presentations; and as the chair of the Group Therapy Practice committee, he conducts a monthly experiential training group for group psychotherapists. In good stead with modest professionals, Michael humored InTouch’s imploring him (as well as all the candidates profiled here) to let us know what he does when not at the office: “When I'm not working, you can find me at home---in the kitchen cooking Indian food, on the back porch learning to play jazz guitar, or in the family room consulting my wife (a non-therapist) about the latest reading assignments for class.” You can reach Michael at (914) 478-7952; Or though his website:

RONI BERNSTEIN, LCSW shares the integrity of WCSPP’s culture; she sought the Couples Psychotherapy Training Program because one can always use more training and thus, in her words, she feels “eager to get involved in ongoing professional learning.” Her outlook presently benefits Counseling & Psychotherapy of Throgs Neck as well as in former days, The Guidance Center in New Rochelle and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison. In addition to her Throgs Neck practice, Roni also meets with patients in White Plains. While she works with most ages, Roni specializes in adolescents, young adults, and women ages 40's & 50's experiencing hormonal as well as life changes. And, what’s in Roni’s bookbag? She admits to InTouch that there are so many; recently, Sue Johnson’s work on Emotional Focused Therapy has her attention. And, as InTouch asks all its prey (strike that word), where can we find her if not at the office? “I can be found enjoying my family, our pets, reading, or at the beach.” Does this mean Roni’s wishful view from her back porch would be the ocean? Yes! But, as this blurb began, the shared buzz word is integrity: “I find our work so rewarding---the opportunity to help others through relating & connecting to them...and, again, the fact that there is always more for me to learn.” Reach Roni at (914)997-1792; (718)792-4178, x658;


REBECCA CONKLING, LCSW maintains her primary office on North Broadway in White Plains with full hours all week. Then, there’s Friday when she enjoys her other location in the Bronx on East Tremont Avenue. Before joining WCSPP’s Couples Psychotherapy Training Program, Rebecca earned two prior certifications elsewhere: one, Marriage and Family Therapy by Children’s Village; and two, Fordham University’s Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy. She chose to fortify these programs with the reputation of WCSPP--and not just its academic reputation but it known collegial community. To InTouch’s voyeurism of “Hey, what about when you’re not at the office?” Rebecca replies: “When I'm not working, I can be found spending time with family and friends, sharing a dinner, a movie or just good conversation.” And, if you could have any view from your back porch? “I'm lucky enough to be living right on the Hudson River which satisfies my passion for a water view. I especially love the ocean and look forward to spending a week in Montauk or some similar setting every summer. Reach Rebecca at (914)684-1887

NANCY EISNER, LCSW brings rich experience to WCSPP. After twelve years with the New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, she worked at places such as Four Winds Hospital and Stony Lodge. Nancy taught as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work. Today, she keeps a private practice, with three locations: White Plains, Ho-Ho-Kus, and New York City (Fifth Ave & 20th St.).   Nancy discovered WCSPP by attending its film nights. “I found them to be very stimulating, engaging in impressive discussions following the films; I became impressed with the intellect within the community.  So, in addition to my interest in developing my skills in couples therapy, I was also very interested in becoming a member of this community.” To InTouch’s inquiry of what view she would want from her back porch if she could have any, Nancy replies (& I think we all want to go with her): “Paris, or Lago Maggiore or Venice or the Alps or, nearby, the Green Mountains.”  And, InTouch loves to ask, when not at work...? “When not at work, I can be found at the ballet or other dance performances, first and foremost; attending theater, symphony, & museums; and I'm hoping to be outdoors more often and in yoga classes. But, mostly this year, you'll find me with my nose to the books, as I am reading for class.” Reach Nancy at (201)327-1616

JOHN GERSON, PHD does more than maintain a private practice in both the city and in northern Westchester’s town of Katonah. He has written for publications such as The Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, Voices, and The Record Review. Couples therapy has been a key part of John’s work for years. He shares a candor and sensitivity: “My work developed in response to both family-of-origin issues and a failed first marriage. I came away from efforts to navigate & improve a troubled relationship with some implicit knowledge of the dynamic ingredients that add up to relationship failure and a deepening wisdom of what ingredients support a growing and working relationship.” John studied family therapy from viewpoints of Bowen, Minuchin, Whitaker, Satir, Framo and others, including week-long workshops with Scharf & Scharf. But, John sought a more structured and intensive learning experience; he applied to WCSPP. With John’s value of academic rigor is his value of professional community: “I am increasingly enjoying community both in classes and the many WCSPP events. To InTouch’s inquiries a la slightly prying, John replies: “If I could have any view from my back porch, it would be overlooking a lake.” and “When I’m not working, I can be found speed skating, playing jazz piano, listening to music, singing...enjoying my wife, our home, and Mtzi, our Standard Poodle. Reach John at (914)232-4702



STACEY OCHS, LCSW left Wall Street to devote her time to caring for her children in the late 80's. A decade later, she discovered her family’s history of the BRCA mutation and seriously considered a masters in genetic counseling. Rather, Stacey pursued an MSW, so she could help families cope with positive genetic test results. In her NYU program, she interned at New York Presbyterian Hospital’s dual diagnosis unit and then Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury Unit. For five years, Stacey was at Andrus Children's Center’s outpatient mental health setting in White Plains as a staff therapist for children and families. She has also been a clinical consultant of the Eastchester Child Development Center in Tuckahoe and Cornerstone Children's Center in Scarsdale. Today, Stacey focuses on her Scarsdale-NY private practice, where she enjoys helping both children and adults. Stacey became interested in doing more couples work because, as she says, “it is a powerful way to help children who are all too often caught in the cross-fire of parental strife and divorce. The Couples Program provides a fabulous environment for exploring, sharing, and learning from supportive peers and professors. I am so inspired by this experience that I will continue my training in the Child and Adolescent Program next fall.” To InTouch’s playful inquiries, Stacey replies: “If I could have any view from my back porch, it would be that of the Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island.” And, what about influential reading? “To quote Alfred Whitehead from one of our course readings, ‘The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.” Reach Stacey at 914 772-4530;

LORRAINE SCHORR, LCSW is a WCSPP psychoanalytic graduate. Because she knew first-hand the excellence in training, Lorraine chose to enroll in WCSPP’s couples curriculum in order to gain a solid foundation for her couples practice to which she also brings her own experience as a step-parent. Her affinity for the community’s academia, professional association, and friendships made her decision that much more certain. Lorraine’s private practice is in Rockland County’s town of Pomona.  There, she has worked with adults and adolescents for over twenty years. Building up to this, she formerly worked at WJCS & Columbia Presbyterian. In addition to her practice in Pomona, she is on the staff of a group practice in Throgs Neck and is a consultant at ConEdison. She is certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy by the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis; certified in "Brainspotting" via training with David Grand; and trained in mindfulnessbased stress reduction and relaxation as taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn. She has taught mindfulness meditation at places like Barnard College and ConEdison. Lorraine also served as a volunteer counselor for the American Cancer Society and NYDCC and has, for many years, chaired NY State Society of Clinical Social Work’s education committee. She now contributes to their Managed Care committee. Okay, but InTouch still wants to know where can we find you if you’re not working? “I live in Piermont and the summer here is reminiscent of my days at summer camp. So, you might find me walking along the Pier, kayaking on the Hudson, tending to my plants & vegetables in the organic community garden, or biking. At other times, tango and Latin dancing in Nyack and always enjoying local dining and the company of others. Reach Lorraine at (845) 729-9851; 

ISAAC SHAMAH, LCSW sought WCSPP’s Couples PsychotherapyTraining Program because of his interest in effectively integrating family systems theory with his psychoanalytic training. Isaac is in the midst of completing his psychoanalytic training at the Institute of Expressive Analysis in NYC. Isaac has worked with couples and individuals throughout his career. Until most recently, Isaac had split his week between his private practice and Family Services of Westchester in Pelham, NY. He presently only sees patients at his private practice in Nyack, NY. Isaac's practice is influenced by mindful awareness as influenced by his 21 year practice of Vipassana meditation and many years working with John Welwood on “the healing power of unconditional presence.” Isaac is on staff of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY as a staff counselor and also is an EMDR practitioner. To InTouch’s curiosity of “And, when you’re not at the office...?” Isaac gives us inspiring ways to be: “When I'm not at work, I am with my wife and eleven-year-old twin girls.  If not, I am tending our organic vegetable garden, caring for the chickens, or meditating...or, on the paddle & racquetball courts, on my bicycle, in the ocean...and there’s time for walking with a friend. And, if Isaac could have any view from his porch? “I see the Hudson River and I'm fine with that.” Reach Isaac at (845)641-9041 or


WCSPP Supervisory Training: A Candidate MARGOT RUBINSTEIN, MD

joins the WCSPP Supervisory Training Program as an alumna, having also graduated from the Psychoanalytic Training Program in 2005. She is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Armonk, NY. During and after her medical residency, Margot worked at New York Hospital Cornell’s Personality Disorders Unit. In 2007, she presented at the annual WCSPP Retreat on Countertransference. To InTouch’s inquiry of what’s a memorable reading, Margot replies: “Melanie Klein is the writer who made the deepest impression on me as she was fearless in grasping the central role of affect in any transformational process.” Margot, we look forward to knowing you as a formally trained supervisor. Reach Margot at 914.273.2210

Alumni Give Reasons for Supervisory Training: Understand one’s self even further Enhance analytic competence Meet supportive peers & faculty Develop supervisory identity Enjoy WCSPP’s community

VIEW Curriculum


In 1999, David Newman, a WCSPP faculty member and supervisor, learned he had a rare and life-threatening tumor at the base of his skull. He consulted with leading physicians at four major medical centers; the doctors offered drastically differing opinions. This led David to author the book Talking with Doctors (2005). Then, in November 2008, Newman faced a remarkably similar situation again: tumor recurrence. This May Keynote Books published an expanded version of David’s first edition. In a new epilogue called “Recurrence: Keeping the Howling Dogs at Bay,” David shares his most recent experiences, building on his writing of a patient in life-anddeath dialogues with doctors. He reveals how patients and doctors personally affect each other routinely; collaboration can be created or lost. David also explains the principles and

behaviors of a mutual valuing of inquiry and a commitment to communication. Upon InTouch’s request, David shares: “It is the doctor's responsibility to make compassionate use of the authority with which he is invested in a way that recognizes the distinctness of the patient as much as possible, in a way that affirms the patient.” And from his book: “I do believe in such a thing as cumulative experience, cumulative consciousness. In some realms, to some degree, knowledge does add up. Cultivating multiple points of view can make each one less coercive, but it is still the case that some maps are better than others, and that one may move from confusion to a temporary and contingent sense of mastery. Sometimes, of course, more knowledge simply does not matter, a more refined understanding is of no avail.” This quote is in the Epilogue of the paperback, expanded edition Talking With Doctors (2011, Keynote Books). The Epilogue is titled: "Recurrence: Keeping the Howling Dogs at Bay.” n To L e f t : WC S P P Fa c u l t y Member S u p e r v i s o r, & Author David Newman, LCSW


WCSPPHAPPENINGS Spring/Summer 2011

INTOUCHEVENTS So Many Opportunities & Occasions in Review

Theater in the City Freud’s Last Session Majorie Deane Little Theater March 6, 2011 Katie Hall, Sharon Picard, and Suzanne Weisman gathered us together for theater, post-curtain chats with actors, and then wine at 63 Bites Cafe. Eavesdropping on Freud’s last session with C.S.Lewis, WCSPPers smiled & laughed. How moving and amusing love, sex, and religion can be! Freud's Last Session centers on Freud, inviting the rising academic star C.S. Lewis to his London home. There on the day England entered World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex and the meaning of life. The play is by Mark St. Germain and has enjoyed highly acclaimed attention off-Broadway. One WCSPPer says, “A night in the city with collegial friends in such a fun venue: let’s do it again, and soon!”

Scientific Meeting “Inspiring Hope” A Closer Look: Deepening the Therapeutic Connection Dr. Sandra Buechler, Author An Open House Event Wainwright House, Rye March 12, 2011 March 11, 2011 Dr. Sandra Buechler, a supervising training analyst at the William Alanson White Institute, combines contemporary emotion theory with interpersonal psychoanalysis. In her most recent book, Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives, she shows how we can help patients with painful emotions, such as shame, grief, and regret; she highlights the necessitude of positive emotions, with joy as “a universal antidote.” At our WCSPP gathering, Sandra spoke in an empathic, jargon-free way about not only the emotional experiences of patients but analysts as well. Ken Barish, Ann Crane, Jill Delaney, Jim Galloway, Katie Hall and Kate Washton made this event possible. Enjoy reviews and quotes from Sandra’s book


In support of WCSPP recruitment, Jane Kuniholm & Janice Curran invited potential candidates to hear Mellen Lovrin and Sharon Picard discuss what is meant by deepening a therapeutic connection. Attendees gained greater clarity about the therapeutic process and just what analysts do. Particular focus was given to the role of language, both developmentally from the patient's point of view (i.e., self-regulating and self-soothing) and from the analyst’s ability to help a patient by exercising theoretical grounding and expanded lexicon. Those present also realized how therapists may be well trained to set concrete goals for treatment but may be less able to articulate and encourage the essence of a deeply connected treatment.


Film Night “The Class” Wainwright House, Rye April 29, 2011 Organized by Jane Bloomgarden, film night brought out WCSPPers for appetizers and a screening of The Class, nominated for the 2009 Academy Awards® Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards®. This spirit found its way into dialogue led by Director Kate Washton & Ken Barish. (See Kate’s profile, p. 4 of this InTouch & a review of Ken’s book in the last InTouch.) The movie’s plot is far from esoteric. In The Class, teacher François Bégaudeau reveals a year with tough Parisiansuburb, racially mixed students. Adolescence moils the Self with social contexts of class, race, and otherness. We need not be in France. Read New York Times Magazine’s related story of fragile South-Bronx education-reform by clicking here


Supervisory Training Program Brunch & Open House Private Residence, Irvington April 30, 2011

Child & Adolescent Training Program Faculty Presentations Wainwright House, Rye May 3, 2011 Psychoanalytic graduates from around If you have not yet read the profile the county got together for coffee, of Director Kate Washton in this conviviality, and considerations of issue of InTouch, p. 4, then you pursuing WCSPP’s one year program may yet discover the contagion of leading to a certificate in the supervision of WCSPP’s child & adolescent psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Hosted psychotherapy training. With kindred at the home of the program’s Director passion, Dr. Tom Lopez discussed Linda Fleischman, several faculty his connection with a young child members, candidates, and alumni of within a therapeutic nursery. Tom the program shared how this advanced training helps experienced clinicians to helped the child grow and expand during the child’s tender ages of examine and deepen their clinical four to six years old. Our practice. Enjoy a profile of a current capacities of helping adults is candidate, Dr. Margot Rubinstein, on enhanced in our knowledge of page 27, along with more reasons analytic graduates come to adore this children’s lives. Delight in your advanced program. Preview the possible enrollment with the Child curriculum >> & Adolescent Psycho-therapy Training’s program >>


WCSPPHAPPENINGS Spring/Summer 2011

MoreHappeningscontinued So Many Opportunities & Occasions in Review The Odd Patient: Relational Psychoanalysis Meets the Asperger Dx Scientific Meeting, Wainright Grounds, May 20 If you’re reading this InTouch closely, you’re aware of just how busy Ken Barish and Kate Washton are on behalf of our institute; in this case, we thank them for making Dr. Ron Balamuth’s WCSPP engagement possible. At this Scientific Meeting, Balamuth opened minds to consider “oddness” as an elusive quality in physical, emotional, communicative, and relational patterns. Patients who seem absent, peculiar, and unrelated can challenge the analyst’s empathic, relational capacities. In turn, the analyst’s struggle to gain connection often leads to counter-transferential enactments, if not prematurely terminated treatments. Yet, for those in attendance, Balamuth’s experiential exercises and video clips provided a key to a better understanding of a patients’ sensory, motor, and cognitive dispositions. In particular, Balamuth illustrated the integration of a relational, Neo-Kleinian analytic framework with DIR®/Floortime™. This is proven to be effective with these patients (Greenspan and Wieder, 2008). This broad, holistic perspective also encouraged WCSPP participants to see how its use fosters empathic resonance and connection, otherwise absent, and potentially grounding for individuals in need of a difficult-to-secure healing relationship. Like the many guest speakers this spring, Balamuth shared a breadth of expertise and training. He is a faculty member of the DIR Institute. The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®/Floortime™) Model is a framework that helps clinicians, parents, and educators conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop an intervention program tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges. No less, Dr. Balamuth, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, is also on the faculties of William Alanson White Institute, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and Columbia University Teacher’s College.

Learn about DIR®/Floortime and its benefits for children with autism.



Psychoanalysis and the Application of Buddhist Meditation Practice Fireside Chat, Private Residence, May 5 Psychoanalysts Pilar Jennings and Paul Cooper got acquainted with WCSPPers at the home of Andrea Deutsch. A rare duo of an evening! Jennings and Cooper together informed guests about how Zen practices and beliefs can inform, relate to, and enhance transformative psychoanalytic practice. In her book “Mixing Minds” (2010) Pilar Jennings, PhD, looks at the interpersonal dynamics between Buddhist teachers and their Western students; moreover, she compares this to that of psychoanalysts with their patients. Similarly, Paul Cooper, L.P., received the 1996 Ernest Angel Award for his article “Affects and Self States: A Case study on the Integration of Buddhist Analytic Meditation and Psychoanalysis.”  His books include “The Zen Impulse and the Psychoanalytic Encounter” (2010) and also “Into the Mountain Stream: Psychotherapy and Buddhist Experience” (2007). Thanking the group, Deutsch says, “There was an excellent turnout, lots of interesting discussion, and plenty of food and drink to sustain everyone after a busy day.”

Miss this Fireside Chat? But still want to become familiar with psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism? The guest speaker Paul Cooper, above, suggests the article, “Attention and Inattention in Zen and Psychoanalysis.” Access it by clicking here



WCSPPHAPPENINGS Spring/Summer 2011


Summer’s Quiet, So Catch These Few Opportunities

Summer’s Fireside Chat “The Referral Source as a Countertransferential Factor in Treatment” Dr. Rob Muller Thursday, June 16th 7:30 p.m. Private Residence, Dobbs Ferry Dr. Rob Muller will be discussing a paper he is writing, “The Referral Source as a Countertransferential Factor in Treatment.” Rob says, “In reflecting on my own experiences and interviewing other clinicians about theirs, in certain cases, the referral source becomes a factor influencing how the therapist approaches and intervenes with the patient. There can be a complicated matrix of relationships, real and fantasized, amongst the referral source, the therapist, and the patient.  As if the consultation room wasn't crowded enough already?” Rob looks forward to both sharing his ideas and hearing your thoughts and experiences on this topic.  Mark your calendars for this yet-another interesting and enjoyable evening. RVSP with Andrea Deutsch: <> or (914)328-7871.


LOOKINGAHEAD With WCSPPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s summer lull, the next pages peek at how colleagues and friends say they will be rejuvenate.



This summer here’s how your colleagues and friends plan to lay back & relax.



• Allman Brothers

•Amos Lee

•Temple Grandin

• BB King

•Carla Bruni

•The Lincoln Lawyer

• Talking Heads

•Katie Melua

•It’s a Beautiful Life

• Springsteen (early)

•Ben Folds

•Another Day

• Jimmy Cliff

•Diana Krall

•Ira & Abby

• Mary Chapin Carpenter

•Regina Spektor


• Stevie Ray Vaughn

•Debussy & more

•The Red Balloon

• Janis Joplin

•Hotel Costes series

•Black Swan

• Judy Collins

•Duke Robillard & the Pleasure Kings

•A Solitary Man

• Eva Cassidy

•The King’s Speech (see page 17)


Culled from an On-Going WCSPP List-Serve Survey Destinations


• Bard Summerscape

•Twin: A Memoir, by Allen Shawn

• Williamstown Theater Festival

•Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

• Caramoor’s Music, Bedford NY

•The Best of Rolling Stone

• Wesport’s Playhouse

•The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

• Open Garden Conservancy trips

•The Bear, by R.A. Salvatore

• Camping

•Ficciones, by J. L. Borges

• The backyard

•Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science, by Sisela Bok

• Boscobel lawn music on Hudson River • Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen • The community garden • The NYBG’s summer workshops • Cold Spring for Sunday brunches • Norfolk Chamber Music, Litchfield County • Sunset Beach Hotel, Shelter Island • Inn at Perry Cabin, Chesapeake Bay area • A beach anywhere

•Complete Pebble Mosaic Book, by P. Howarth •The New York Times •The New Yorker •Partners in Thought, by Donnel Stern •The Embedded Self, by Mary-Joan Gerson •The Ambiguity of Change, by Edgar Levenson •The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon •The Shadow of the Tsunami, by Philp Bromberg

Tell us yours & see it in the next InTouch

>> 35


I am really pleased to meet the candidates, our institute's future. What keeps me coming back is the truly warm, outgoing reception I got at my first retreat.

Brice Moss

“ I particularly enjoyed getting to know new members. What a pleasure to see so many new faces and, once again, to be reminded of the warmth and vitality of our WCSPP community. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.” Stewart Crane


Special Extended Section: Thirty-plus!* packed pages of WCSPP’s Retreat 2011. (*Now that’s funny and surprising.) 37


“I have never seen a Retreat Chairperson put more effort into a Retreat than Nick did. Congrats, Nick, on making this such a memorable weekend !” John Turtz, PhD Co-Director, Couples Therapy Training Program

Above: Nick Singman, Retreat Chairperson 2011, with friend and colleague, Aviva Gitlin, last year’s retreat chairperson & incoming association president

How Laundry Piles Become Less Important (Hint: the conversing you wish could go on) By Aviva Gitlin, PsyD

n Committee Members: Holly Dollinger, Mark Finn, Nina Gershowitz,

As I re-enter into our more consistent community home of cyberspace, it takes a while to transition from the intensity of talking to so many interesting people and from having to

Aviva Gitlin, Bob Katz, Terry Klee, Barbara Messer, Marty Mintz, Brice Moss, Rob Muller, Joan Nordlinger, Irene Studwell, Julie Willstatter, Glenn Wolff n Printed Material: Terry Klee n Meditation: Mark Finn

n Friday Evening Entertainment “Three Shrinks Walk into a Bar. . . conclude so many conversations that I wish could go on a bit longer. Somehow the laundry pile, to which I inevitably return, Mitzvah”: Bob Katz, Martin Mintz, Rob Muller n Papers Written and

just becomes less important. Personally I really want to thank everyone...Nick especially for a relaxed, full, and fantastic weekend. For a weekend on humor, I was mostly struck by how the papers conveyed how seriously we all take our work, and how thoughtful we are about every step we take. It is a treat to come together once a year and get to share our work. I hope everyone gets to take a bit of the joy of the weekend into the office. Nick, a perfect job.

Presented By: Wade Anderson, Ken Barish, Stewart Crane, Joy Dryer, Mark Finn, Geri Friedman, David Rabinowitz, Judith Schweiger Levy, Steven Spitz, Elizabeth Stuntz, John Turtz, Janet Zuckerman n Panels Moderated By: Annabella Bushra, Linda Fleischman, George Goldstein, Eric Mendelsohn n Saturday Dance Party: SIG! featuring Lewis Aron, Jonathan S. Berck, Steven Knoblauch, Elisabeth Schreiber, John Shaw, Stephen Solow, Andrew Tatarsky n Weekend Wine Raffle Fundraiser: Holly Dollinger & Nina Gershowitz n Caption Event: David Schwartz n Culminating Paper: “Humor as Characterological Essence,” Bob Katz n Improv Performance: The P.I.T., Peoples’ Improv Theater n Community: Can't do without you


“What a wonderful time at the retreat! ...I haven’t laughed this hard in years. I left feeling energized and so grateful to be part of such a wonderful community!” " " " " " " " " " " Rebecca Abramson



EVENTSRETREAT Spring/Summer 2011

Type to enter text

Humor as a Characterological Essence A Personally Raw Self By Robert J. Katz, PhD My thoughts about this topic began to percolate when Dr. Rob Muller chose me to be one of the three people on the committee to plan the Friday night program for the retreat. Evidently, this choice was based on his opinion that I am one of the funnier members of our community. Dr. Marty Mintz was the other lucky winner of this rather esteemed but unofficial designation. The charge of the committee was to create a program that would help to kickoff the weekend on the right foot (no pun intended). The Funny Committee Based on the composition of the committee which could be dubbed the “Funny Committee” or “Three Old Jewish Men” attempting to make a psychoanalytic community laugh, I began to attempt to develop some humorous ideas that might accomplish this goal. In short, I found myself in the position of being a ‘comedy writer.’ Much to my surprise, I found myself completely stymied. In fact the only ideas I came up with were somewhat whacky. When I shared them with Rob and Marty, that isolated feeling that our patients probably experience when they share some piece of their psychology that they consider to be socially unacceptable washed over me. At the risk of re-experiencing the anxiety I am discussing, here are the embarrassing ideas – I suggested that the three of us dress up as women analysts and have an in depth discussion of what we as women analysts think of male analysts. To be honest, I think the idea generated too much homosexual anxiety in Rob and Marty- they immediately began to discuss the latest football game. Of course, being much more in touch with my feminine side than they, I couldn’t relate and again felt alienated. My other nutty idea was to dress up as Hasidic Jews and discuss psychoanalysis from that perspective. This was another suggestion and an even greater sense of alienation took hold as Rob and Marty looked at me with that momentary and pregnant pause that silently communicates “this idea is so bad that we really

don’t know what to say.” It wasn’t until the writing of this paragraph that I spontaneously had the thought that we could have combined the two ideas and dressed up as Hasidic Jewish women. My hunch is that had I made this suggestion, Rob would have forgotten to email me about the time of the next meeting. Risking Social Isolation Although these remarks and the way I am conveying them may have a humorous ring, they actually mask an underlying anxiety that quite often accompanies free and spontaneous self-expression. Of course, these anxieties mostly have to do with the interpersonal concerns about how what is expressed will be received and how this will reflect on the ‘Self ’ with intense shame being the most dreaded of all outcomes. In my remarks regarding my feeling of being socially outcast by my fellow members on the “Funny Committee,” this fear was and is being handled by converting it to humor. This oppressive anxiety, the fear of some form of social sanction and the concomitant sense of isolation, is always potentially present. It constitutes a primary source of constraint on the use of the spontaneous resources of both patient and analyst. To be humorous or for that matter, to think freely and originally in general, (continued next page) “To be humorous or for that matter, to think freely and originally in general, requires the courage to risk the social isolation that can arise from leaving the familiar territory of the normal in order to enter the more opened, dangerous and unfamiliar waters of the strange. ” Bob Katz, PhD


EVENTSRETREAT Spring/Summer 2011

Continued from previous page: Humor as Characterological Essence, B.Katz requires the courage to risk the social isolation that can arise from leaving the familiar territory of the normal in order to enter the more opened, dangerous and unfamiliar waters of the strange. Stated differently, to be spontaneous is to risk exposing the Self in a purified state since what is being expressed momentarily suspends the empathic anticipation of the other that generally guides most social discourse. In other words, spontaneity holds the potential to reveal the Self in the raw. It is a form of psychic nakedness that comes into being by discarding the clothing whose fabric is mostly woven with the intent of dressing us in order to appear socially acceptable and approved of. Recall, that the meaning of the prefix ‘persona’ in the word personality means ‘mask.’ Hence, to remove the ‘mask,’ to bypass the defenses, to risk being vulnerable is to undergo the anxieties associated with the risk of social condemnation both fantasized as well as real. Without much thought, it can be

seen that these same anxieties lie at the core of the process of psychic change itself and must be overcome in both patient and analyst if a metamorphosis of personality is to occur. Boundary Transgression Due to their asocial origin and being a more direct, alive and uncensored expression of the true Self, acts of spontaneity, including humor, are able to become manifest in a manner that bypasses or circumvents the usual means of defense. Bear in mind that the bypassing of the defenses effects or more accurately, infects both participants since spontaneous expression works like a contagion that spreads affect across the interpersonal divide. Hence, the desirability of the unconstrained expression that is sought after by all psychoanalytic persuasions. By definition, free expression involves the relative absence of both internal and external constraint. The surging feeling of aliveness that accompanies spontaneity

emanates from the transcendence of the normative internal boundaries that control affective expression. Spontaneity’s direct relationship to humor is found in the fact that nearly all theories of humor postulate that it is primarily derived from the transgression of the usual limits that generally define social situations. In fact, a large part of what makes us laugh is the boundary transgression itself. The other main ingredient of humor is the bringing together of associations, ideas or facts that were hitherto considered seemingly incongruous. T.C. Veatch purports that humor contains two incongruous elements that are brought together – one is socially normal and the other constitutes a violation of the “subjective moral order.” Although it may go a little far afield of what I am trying to get at, it seems worth noting that the dynamics of humor appear to be highly similar if not identical to the creative process in general and the interpretative process in psychoanalytic (continued next page)


(continuing from previous page) work more specifically. In other words, the dynamic aesthetic regarding the production of humor, artistic creation, and psychoanalytic interpretation are highly similar. Listen to Riess’s (2006) description of all that is involved in the creation of a joke: “...even a simple joke can utilize language skills, theory-of-mind, symbolism, abstract thinking, and social perception, humor may arguably be humankind’s most complex cognitive attribute.” The anxieties I have focused on primarily arise when going past the “subjective moral order” that Veatch is referring to comes into play. Of course, although it may be sweeping with a broad brush, psychopathology per se can be considered to be a uniquely constructed “subjective moral order” that allows for certain experiences and pre-reflexively excludes others. Likewise, the analyst’s countertransference is subject to a particular set of inhibitions that also limit what is permissible to experience Although it may be evident, I would like to underline that for both patient and analyst, spontaneous forms of selfexpression are extremely useful in bypassing the inhibitory effect of the generalized characterological rigidity of the selfsystem. Given that a spontaneous response is implicitly more personal in that it comes more directly and wholeheartedly from the self then it follows that this type of interpersonal cuing facilitates the kind of deep and enriched analyst to patient connection that promotes cure as the two person conception of psychoanalysis would have it. The Inspired Versus Routine Psychoanalytically, it is useful to think about spontaneous expression as existing on a continuum that begins with the raw expression of emotion and ends in a more unconsciously judicious state of what might be called ‘integrated spontaneity.’ Integrated moments of spontaneity occur when the analyst surrenders conscious control and just responds naturally according to what is being experienced at the moment. In these instances, all of the factors that are involved in the synthesis of an intervention coalesce into an integrated whole that nonvolitionally incorporates the entirety of the analyst’s training and resources. These are actually moments of artistic creativity where an aesthetic balance is struck between all of the dichotomies and contradictions that comprise each psychoanalytic moment including the split existing between patient and analyst. Although this response may be spontaneous, it contains a deep empathic resonance with where the patient is

“Due to their asocial origin and being a more direct, alive, and uncensored expression of the true Self, acts of spontaneity, including humor, are able to become manifest in a manner that bypasses or circumvents the usual means of defense.” Bob Katz, PhD

Given there are no longer clear boundaries that determine the limits of the nature of the analyst’s participation on an a priori basis, the anxieties associated with how alive one is permitted to be seems to be a constant presence in contemporary work.

Bob Katz, PhD

experientially existing at that particular moment. Transcending conscious control, these are peak moments that come from allowing one’s self to be deeply immersed in the unconscious flow of the process. This type of experience is no different from peak experiences in sports, writing, or art where years of specialized training climax in a performance that transcends conscious control. Most germane to our work and the issues at hand is that in order to cultivate these states, the foundational discipline of psychoanalytic theory and technique has to be combined with the kind of ‘letting go’ that facilitates free and spontaneous self-expression. Thinking about this reminded me of Meltzer’s distinction between “routine and inspired” interpretations. The distinguishing factor between these two types derives from their origin. The “routine” interpretation is more heady and comes from the analyst’s more or less consciously discerning a pattern of behavior to which a theory is then applied in an explanatory way. In contrast, an “inspired” interpretation originates in the analyst’s personal response to the patient which is then used to explore the meaning of the relationship at that moment. Meltzer goes on to explain that the dangers of each approach are dullness on the one hand and megalomania on the other. Now these variables are most germane because the anxieties being discussed can be recast as the anxieties associated with what it means to be more alive. Clearly, the professional guise of each analyst is a blend of personal aliveness and some variant of judicious restraint based on theoretical and technical consideration. Given that there are no longer any clear boundaries that determine the limits of the nature of the analyst’s participation on an a priori basis, then the anxieties associated with how alive one is permitted to be seems to be a constant presence in contemporary work. In fact, I am quite confident in the belief that many analysts may resist the use of humor, especially of the spontaneous variety, because it feels too alive or maniacal for the way in which their professional mask is constituted. Of course, it is important for the analyst to be free in the area of any type of spontaneous self-expression because this is precisely what we are asking the patient to do, that is, to express himself without constraint –to “freely associate” and to “associate (that is, relate) freely.” It was Ferenczi who first made clear that a lack of freedom in the analyst could counter-resistively inhibit the patient’s ability to be more opened. I don’t want to belabor the point but it seems evident that the freer the analyst, the freer the patient. In writing about humor, Freud (1916) quotes Jean Paul (continued next page)


Continued from previous page: Retreat’s Closing Remarks, Humor as Characterological Essence.

“The surging feeling of aliveness that accompanies spontaneity emanates from the transcendence of the normative internal boundaries that control affective expression.” Bob Katz, PhD

who indirectly summed up the issue by stating “Freedom produces jokes and jokes produce freedom.” The Personal Speaking of these inhibitions brings me back to my anxieties regarding the zany ideas I proposed above and the fact that for the most part I felt totally blocked and unable to generate any ideas that seemed to be genuinely humorous. I was struck by how stuck I felt since ideas in almost any other area generally flow much more easily. After struggling with this for some time, I came to the realization that my being funny could not be scripted. My humor was actually a function of the capacity to be spontaneous. Although, I frequently create routines in my head, they are always in response to “here and now” happenings. These musings brought me to the awareness that for me humor is actually a way of life, or in psychoanalytic terms it is characterological. Clearly, it was one of the more constructive formative factors in my family of origin and was an integral part of the post World War II Jewish subculture in which I was raised. In fact, the origins of Jewish humor can be understood as being an antidote to all of the misery and anxieties that came into being from the constant exposure to years of persecution. In my childhood, humor was clearly the sub-culturally sanctioned palliative to the devastation of the holocaust. Even as a child, as I watched adults exchanging jokes, I always noticed that behind each telling, there was an inveighing of the other to join in a moment of joy that would temporarily overcome the profound and underlying sadness that gripped a people who first experienced the Great Depression as children and then the horror of the Nazi onslaught as adults. Each joyous punch line was a momentary triumph over the tragic realities of life. Jewish humor was the antidepressant of that era. I was much more fortunate than my forbearers in that my laughter could share in this joyous vitality without having been as directly subject to the pain that was driving it.

As I look back at the experience of observing my father telling jokes, I can still feel the way in which the beginning of the telling existentially bracketed time. For the moment, the world magically stood still. As the joke began, one had to intently listen and surrender to the processing of the meaning of the words that you knew would ultimately crescendo into a positive climactic release whether the joke was funny or not. More important than the quality of the joke or the momentary joyous laughter it produced, from beginning to end, the telling was suffused with the good intention of wanting to create a mutually shared pleasurable moment. In my experience, the use of humor was a sheer, unadulterated act of love. By the time I approached adolescence, humor had become a well integrated part of the way I was to journey through life. Of course, this proclivity set me up to be totally smitten by all of the tomfoolery that characterizes that epoch of development. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have never quite recovered from the aliveness that goes with being involved in this way. In total, my childhood experience with humor taught me about the intimate connection existing between spontaneity, humor, play, aliveness, freedom and love. Uses of Humor Analytically My conviction that psychoanalysis is ultimately about the ‘love of freedom and the freedom to love’ makes the comedic a natural and most useful companion in traveling the often depressive and sometimes dull roads paved by the more tragic elements of the patient’s difficulties in living. Most germane is the fact that, in both the analytic and extra-analytic dialogue, humor tends to facilitate a non-defensive type of openness. The intent to impart some type of positively toned communal experience is almost always well received as humor possesses the power to ‘tickle’ the person on the inside in a way that allows for the relaxation of the defensive structures that are generally at work. Of course, in addition to generating a feeling of goodwill, the loosening up of the patient’s defenses and creating a shared (continued on next page)


(continuing from previous page) sense of positively toned spontaneous mutuality speaks to the utilitarian value of humor to the psychoanalytic endeavor. In fact, shared laughter can be viewed as an involuntary, orgasmic-like experience of surrender. In good Sullivanian fashion, it seems to relax the self system and in the process instantaneously humanizes both participants. Humor has many other qualities that are beneficial to the psychoanalytic effort. The creation of a healthy and positively toned distance that ultimately facilitates a better understanding of the patient’s difficulties is amongst the most salient. Being able to laugh at one’s own foibles especially when occurring within a context where it is evident that the other person (Here, I mean the analyst.) also has problems goes a long way towards promoting the kind of healthy acceptance that promotes the type of distance that necessitates insight. Existentially, humor about the patient’s or analyst’s difficulties is actually a gaff at life. Here, the reminder that life can be absurd takes the sting out of the dour seriousness that can come to characterize the analytic atmosphere and the patient’s weighty experience of her own problems. The use of humor transforms the exploratory atmosphere into a play space where the capacity for a freer, less bounded and more creative mode of thinking is more likely to come into being. As a rule, I have consistently

found that this type of humor is particularly useful in dealing with grandiosity. Clinical Illustration Before concluding, I would like to briefly present a clinical instance of the use of humor as a characterological essence. As you will see momentarily, it does not involve sharing a humorous comment with the patient. Instead, it is an example of utilizing my humorous character as a diagnostic tool that subsequently proved useful to the individual in question... [Clinical description removed from text.] The patient seemed to be lacking in the kind of aliveness that makes life worth living. We reached a point in the work where regardless of what he was talking about, I would frequently find myself thinking about the contrast between his dour characterological way of being and the more alive family atmosphere that I was raised in as described above. Perhaps, this was a way for me to counter the deadness in his self presentation. As these thoughts kept occurring, I became uncomfortable. Mostly, the concern had to do with the possibility that I could be narcissistically imposing my experience as being a yardstick for how he should live. However, as these countertransferential thoughts continued, I decided to listen to them and began again to explore the family atmosphere in

“Although it may be evident, I would like to underline that for both patient and analyst, spontaneous forms of self expression are extremely useful in bypassing the inhibitory effect of the generalized characterological rigidity of the self-system.”

Bob Katz, PhD

which he was reared with an eye turned toward the aliveness factor. It turns out that it was totally devoid of any kind of play, humor or aliveness. This proved to be a very productive area of exploration and helped to bring the patient to a point where he is considering becoming more alive by really letting go of the characterological control that, up to this point, has significantly strangulated his affective vitality or in his words has kept him in a state of “protective custody.” An Inspired Form of Intervention Please note that this particular use of my countertransferential thoughts does not represent a major insight. As an interpersonalist, I had explored his family atmosphere many times before and was well aware of the lack of love, aliveness and affection. However, the importance of this is found in the fact that these thoughts kept occurring to me spontaneously and involuntarily. As an (concludes on page 49)

Existentially, humor about the patient’s or analyst’s difficulties is actually a gaff at life. Here, the reminder that life can be absurd takes the sting out of the dour seriousness that can come to characterize the analytic atmosphere and the patient’s weighty experience of her own problems. The use of humor transforms the exploratory atmosphere into a play space where the capacity for a freer, less bounded, and more creative mode of thinking is more likely to come into being. Bob Katz, PhD


Retreat Committee:


(continuing from page 47, Humor as Characterological...) involuntary internal response, these thoughts were part of the ongoing process. Trusting them meant that the inquiry about his family atmosphere, in this instance, was more experientially meaningful in a way that comes closer to meeting Meltzer’s criterion for an ‘inspired’ form of intervention. Dx 3.14 Dysfunnia In concluding, I would like to recommend that the lack of a sense of humor is a serious symptom deserving of a separate diagnostic category. I would like to propose the term “Dysfunnia” with the numeric designation 3.14 or Pi as in ‘pie in the face in all of the old comic routines’ to indicate the complete absence of a sense of humor. This dire infliction is best treated countertransferentially - the analyst must demonstrate the willingness to both privately and publicly surrender to her own spontaneous resources. In effect, doing so demonstrates both the willingness and courage to enter life on a less controlled and more opened and vulnerable basis. Spontaneity expressed as humor carries an affective contagion that rarely fails in reaching the patient in an analytically desired way. In neurobiological terms, it is readily able to directly tap the more emotion oriented right brain functions that account for deep psychoanalytic change. Existentially, the spontaneous use of humor generates an experience that clearly allows both patient and analyst to share in a momentary triumph over the more tragic elements of life. Mocking life, humor temporarily allows us to experience and see life’s absurdity. As the pleasurable affect of laughter recedes giving way to the more serious business at hand, this manic instance of absurdity has joined patient and analyst in a new way that often creates a more novel and healthier

My conviction that psychoanalysis is ultimately about the ‘love of freedom and the freedom to love’ makes the comedic a natural and most useful companion in traveling the often depressive and sometimes dull roads paved by the more tragic elements of the patient’s difficulties in living.

Bob Katz, PhD

distance from which the patient’s difficulties in living can be viewed. All totaled, it seems that the imparting of humor is highly consistent with if not identical to the general spirit of psychoanalytic discourse. It is a loving attempt to bring some relief from the vulnerabilities that haunt us all. n

Robert J. Katz, PhD, is on faculty at WCSPP, NYU PostDoc, and Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy; he is also on staff at Phelps Memorial Hospital and Visiting Faculty at Manhattan Institute.

Watch the YouTube video that has nearly 17 milllion views and that put the WCSPP Retreat into hysterics.

>> 47


PANELISTSEXCERPTS “There is no doubt about how seriously we take our work, and I appreciate all the presenters' dedication and the depth of their thought....I'm really pleased with the apt topic this year. Joy is too often overlooked and, I fear, at times under-valued.  Holding space in our serious work for our human-ness, our humor, and our joy is, I believe, of serious benefit to us and to the clients with whom we spend so much time.” ~ Brice Moss


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Oops. Your curiosity in these missing pages is worthy of the missing article’s content. But, it’s not available to the general public. Parts of InTouch remain private to WCSPP membership. If you are a WCSPP member, enjoy the full extended versions of InTouch at your Members Resources page of Not a member yet? Enroll in WCSPP’s training and share in the opportunities.

It Sucks To Be Me:

The Emergence of Humor & Resilience in a Masochistic Patient By Judith Schweiger Levy, PhD

Humor is a sign of resilience. It indicates symbolic capacity, the ability to appreciate irony, and is a sign of reflective self-awareness. It is that capacity within us which allows us to harness aggression, make the unbearable bearable, and beyond that, even to transcend suffering. As Freud said, “Humor has something liberating about it; but it also has something of grandeur and elevation…It is not resigned; it’s rebellious. “ So, with that in mind, I want to begin by showing you this clip from Avenue Q. (Click picture to right >>) Why is this funny? What makes us laugh? The clip speaks to the paradoxes and absurdities of the human condition: It holds up a mirror to us, and normalizes the thoughts and feelings that we all have but often feel too embarrassed to admit — and it does so hilariously and touchingly. We know that despite hard work or beauty or talent or good intentions, we can (continued next page)

It Sucks to Me! VIEW the video that got people laughing during Judith’s presentation. Click image.

Oops. Your curiosity in these missing pages is worthy of the missing article’s content. But, it’s not available to the general public. Parts of InTouch remain private to WCSPP membership. If you are a WCSPP member, enjoy the full extended versions of InTouch at your Members Resources page of Not a member yet? Enroll in WCSPP’s training and share in the opportunities.

Want to be a part of next yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retreat? Click here.


In Touch: Celebrating WCSPP’s Community C i

Winter Issue / January 2011

Continued from previous page


”Heritage,” Barbara Messer STAFFINTOUCH

2011’s Leadership Team

In Touch: Celebrating WCSPP’s Community As the Association grew it became a Terry Ann Klee, Editor & Graphics S U B M I S S I O N S : InTouch, a publication clearinghouse for available peer groups. As the C i of WCSPP’s association and faculty, is for Contacting In Touch

graduates became more experienced analysts the Steven Guggenheim, Copy Editor

Association took on a new role; it advocated and the exchange of clinical ideas as well as WCSPPlobbied Community, Contributors for faculty expansion of both teaching and the celebration of ouracommunity. Submissions: In Touch, publication Issued Errors? We dislike the “oops” that supervising positions, so that graduates would edition recaps of seasonally, the WCSPPeach Association and and invites inherently happen, despite our efforts have a chance to teach and supervise. This resulted in USEFULDOWNLOADS the cultural engagement that is unique to graduates being notified of available positions before Faculty, is for the exchange of clinical to do well for all. Thus, the editor and canvassing the larger professional community. WCSPP. Please share ideas and experiences in your our essays, guest writers in Reader advance for PDFapologize / TheAdobe success of this thrust is seen in the large musings, insights, poetry, photos, media community. It recaps and invites the any miscues proportion or omissions may of currentthat faculty emerging from the Update your free PDF software. PDF reviews, professional endeavors, pool: Helen Please Adler, Bill Behr, Judy Berenson, cultural engagement that is unique to occur in this graduate publication. stands for Portable Document milestones, and more. WCSPP. contact us if Elaine thereBieber, are;Diane we Caspe, wantSteve to Eliot, Mark Finn, >> Linda Fleischman, Linda Futterman, Ruth Greer, Bill Format. know & make amends. Hartman, Helen Hodys, Jane Kuniholm, Angela Please share your essays, musings, It allows you to read others’ emailed Sincerely, LaManna, Elsa Menaker, Edyie Mencher, Barbara ERROR S ? We dislike the “oops” that insights, poetry, book & film reviews, attachments regardless of Rembar, yours & Pearson,LCSW Sharon Picard, James Sylvia Klee, inherently happen, despite our efforts toTerry do Ann photos, professional endeavors & Rosenblum, Gail home-software. Witkin Sasso, Dale Singer, Steve their different well for all. Thus, the editors and guestEditor, In Touch Spitz, Liz Stuntz, John Turtz, Suzanne Weisman, Arnie milestones, and more. Update your free Adobe Reader: contributors apologize for any miscues or Zinman, and myself. >> omissions occur in this Please send that yourmay submissions to: So I think that this gives you an overview of the first few years of the Association’s life, how it was publication. Please contact us if you realize conceived of as the graduate or alumni organization of Android Users any; we want to know and make amends. WCSPP, how it functioned to build and sustain a Sincerely, InTouch can be easily read on your cohesive professional community which would meet Terry Ann Klee both the phones, continuing academic as well as the Android click interests here to Editor,WCSPP InTouch social and collegial needs of its members. ! download the free app >> In next issue of In Touch, April 2011: Barbara Hyde Messer, LCSW A warm, delighted welcome to InTouch’s " Feature Article: Couples Counseling by John Gerson, PhD,

WCSPP/ Director Winter Issue January 2011 Steve Sptiz, PhD,

Psychoanalytic Training: Director: Judith Berenson Adult Psychotherapy Program: Director: Suzanne Weisman

What do you want? Associate Director: Jane Bloomgarden

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy: Director: Kate Washton Associate Director: Elizabeth Stuntz

Tell usSupervisory whatTraining you want Program: Director: Linda Fleischman in your In Touch Couples Therapy Program Co-Directors: Ruth Greer and John Turtz newsletter? Treatment Service Director: Angela LaManna Associate Director: Carol Mahlstadt Admissions: Director: Jane Kuniholm


Associate Director: Janice Curran Marketing/Public Relations: Director: Michael Wald Associate Director: Janet Shimer Curriculum: Chair: James Rembar Faculty Appointments: Chair: William Behr Conference Committee:

Eric Mendelsohn From theChair:editorial desk, Event Planning: farewell &Chair:thank you to Katherine Hall Sharon Picard Julie Willsatter, LCSW, for Educational Planning: new copy editor, Program her tutelage as our former Couples Psychotherapy Training iPhoneStudent Users Chair: Eric Mendelsohn Steve Guggenheim, PhD co-editor. These pages will An app for iPhones is coming soon. Treasurer: seen in photo with classmates, " Profiles: A Look at Current2008 Students & Candidates future Williamher Behr Read InTouch’s emailed PDFs for now. miss her, but endeavors are lucky to " Spring Retreat: Snapshots, Musings, & Formal Reprise receive her.


" Couples Symposium of March 26th sponsored by WCSPP

ARCHIVES Get former editions of InTouch here:

" Apps for Analysts & Other Smartphone Downloads >> WCSPP In Touch, Winter Issue, January 2011 " More Members’ Endeavors & Upcoming Opportunities >> WCSPP InTouch 2010 " Arts & Life: Your Favorite Books, Films, Exhibits, & Playlists >> WCSPP InTouch 2009 " Tell Us Yours:

WCSPP’s Aims & Purpose: Developing Understanding WCSPP, the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, is Westchester County’s largest training program in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

Founded in 1974 by a group of eminent psychoanalysts who shared a vision of a new model for psychoanalytic training, WCSPP pioneered a curriculum grounded in the principle of theoretical pluralism. Today still, we maintain unwavering commitment to that vision.


Proprietary License(s): The writings, photos, and illustrations within this newsletter cannot be re-used by any readers or parties. They are either (a) granted to WCSPP InTouch by per a perpetual, non-transferable worldwide license, or (b) the property of various WCSPP contributors. Contact the WCSPP InTouch editor if you are seeking rights and permission of use.


WCSPP InTouch Spring 2011, Public Version  
WCSPP InTouch Spring 2011, Public Version  

WCSPP InTouch Spring 2011, Public Version