On February 22, 2008 BGSP celebrated its 35th birthday. Since its inception in 1973, the school has grown from a small psychoanalytic institute to a graduate school offering advanced degrees, as well as its traditional and honored certificate in psychoanalysis. In the past fifteen years alone, enrollment has increased by 135%.
For the lively crowd of those who were able to brave the height of a snow storm (and a parking ban), the party was a successful sharing of fine food, drink, and the company of each other. The program offered an array of speakers who regaled the audience with personal, poignant and funny stories of BGSP, formerly known as BCMPS, the Boston Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies. The presenters spoke of the challenges BGSP faces and the excitement for the future. They honored all of the people who have dedicated, and still dedicate themselves to the success of BGSP. The speakers were Dr. Dena Reed, BGSP President, Dr. Theodore Laquercia, Director of Special Projects, Dr. Stephen Price, Faculty, Dr. Lynn Perlman, Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Carol Panetta, Director of Finance and Institutional Relations, Dr. Jane Snyder, Provost, and Mr. William Sharp, Advanced Certificate Candidate, Caroline Egnaczk, Public Relations Coordinator, Laura Gutowski, Registrar, and Patricia Hugenberger, Faculty. Robert Stolzberg, BGSP Board Member, led the singing of Happy Birthday, followed by birthday greetings from the group in 18 different languages.
This party launched a series of commemorative events that are being planned throughout the course of the year.
BGSP cosponsored and sent administrators and faculty to a major inter-institute conference on psychoanalytic education in New York City on December 2-3, 2007. Sponsored by over twenty institutes of all persuasions (members of the Society of Modern Psychoanalysts, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, and others) the conference was ecumenical in spirit as panel after panel examined major issues of interest to psychoanalytic training institutions.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Jurgen Reeder presented his thoughts on the psychoanalytic ethos, arguing it is this which defines psychoanalysis, not frequency of sessions, and that we as psychoanalysts need to "cultivate our ethos". Rather than being pushed into a defensive position by standards from other mental health approaches (e.g., evidence based treatment), or by other sciences, we need to strengthen our "metapsychology", articulate why we do what we do, and defend our knowledge base which is rooted in personal analysis and subjective experience. He further argued that the psychoanalytic ethos is good for society, advocating self reflection, self knowledge, and confidentiality.
Major issues were addressed by panels and audience members: frequency of analytic sessions for candidates and training cases, criteria for becoming certified and becoming a training analyst, legislation and licensure in the field. Discussion was open and, in general, tolerant of diverse points of view, with general agreement on the need to generate research in the field, the importance of promoting psychoanalysis in today's mental health environment, and a consensus that the NY licensing bill is problematic in multiple ways. Major differences persist on how one defines psychoanalysis - by frequency of sessions or by the process itself and on whether such a criterion should be used to distinguish psychoanalysts from psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
Conference organizers promised a "next annual" conference next fall.
The conference, "Why Johnnie Still Can't Learn", sponsored by BGSP in conjunction with Wheelock College, showcased the dissertations of two VGSP graduates, introduced the research of other students, and presented a dialogue between educators and psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. Held on October 13 and 14, 2007, at Wheelock, it was our first educational collaboration with another college. It was put together by Dr. Joan White of BGSP and VGSP and Dr. Petra Hesse of Wheelock.
The three principal speakers, who were introduced by Dr. Jane Snyder of BGSP and VGSP, addressed the connection between emotional development and learning. Dr. Barry Waterson presented his study on the impact of modern psychoanalytic thinking on affect regulatory disorders and the development of mentalization in a child diagnosed with ADHD. Dr. Laurie Godfrey's research described the emotional obstacles to second language acquisition in children illustrating how emotions impede educational processes and how her tactical approaches lowered resistance to learning. Mrs. Elizabeth Truslow, an advanced student at VGSP, presented her work with autistic and Asperger's children. She demonstrated the thought, feelings and development of a child by following the child's contact and observing the development of his art.
Dr. Waterson and Mrs. Truslow had previously presented their research at the Yale Child Study Center; Mrs. Truslow has also pursued further research at London's Tavistock Clinic.
A panel of educators and psychoanalysts, including Ms Jennifer Andrews, Ms Kathleen Henneberry, Dr. Laurie Godfrey, Ms Robin Jones, Ms Sandra Augustino, Mr. William Sharp, Ms Marlene Lezama and moderated by Dr. Mary Shepherd, provided vignettes of meeting the emotional needs of individual children with innovative programs in the school setting - programs which draw on the expertise of both teachers and psychoanalytically trained practitioners. The presentations demonstrated the need for such cooperation in the context of the challenges confronting educators today.
The conference was designed to engage participants in a variety of modalities of learning. Yoga master, Ms Cheyenne McCarter, led simple yoga exercises - which are most helpful in providing focus, so essential to learning. The second day of the conference was led by two BGSP advanced students, Ms Robin Dash and Ms Gunta Kaza, who are artists and faculty at Brandeis and Mass College of Art respectively. They led participants through the Museum of Fine Arts encouraging participants to 'Look as Learners.'
The collaborative efforts of BGSP and the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy's school based program (SBP) have expanded this year to provide support for teachers and parents. William Sharp (BGSP) has presented to both the Marshfield Public School District and the Friends of the Hernandez School in Boston.
Teachers and Support staff in Marshfield Public School District signed up to attend two mini workshops entitled "Working with the Difficult Child" during an in-service. At the first workshop in January, participants asked about how transference can affect the students' readiness to learn and cases were presented from the classroom with ideas about how to address resistances to learning. The second workshop is scheduled for March 6th.
In Boston, teachers, paraprofessionals and parents from the Hernandez School were invited to participate in a workshop which included exercise in mind-body. Co-led by school therapist William Sharp and Yoga instructor Mimi Cromwell, members of the group heard about children's developmental needs and affect states that can influence school performance while learning yoga poses that can help facilitate readiness to learn. The talk was so well received, the pair has been asked to return for up to three more talks in the spring.
Plans for the 2008-2009 school year include providing monthly on-going teacher support groups and consultations as well as continued workshops for parents and support staff. If you are interested in supporting these efforts, contact William Sharp, Program Director at WSharp@bostoninstitute.org
BGSP recently launched a new website. There were multiple factors that led to its creation.
* We were interested in attracting students from numerous demographic groups and needed to appeal to all of them. We wanted a welcoming and friendly feel; one that communicated that our doors are open.
* We wanted to establish ourselves as a presence for Modern Psychoanalysis to the general community. This required a site that would be informative, highlighting our research, and providing current topics and issues related to the field.
* Many prospective students want to know what they can do with their degrees once they graduate. To address this on-going concern, we decided to showcase graduates of our programs and how they are applying modern psychoanalytic principles to treat a wide variety of people in a wide variety of settings.
* The nature of our site content required a technical design which allowed for quick and efficient updating. We also wanted users to be able to easily navigate throughout the site.
Thanks go to the web committee members and other students, graduates, administrators and faculty who, while keeping all the above concerns in mind, helped make this new website happen. While the basic structure is complete, our site is a continuing work in process. If you have an idea for the web or an event or piece of information that needs to be posted, please let Ms. Caroline Egnaczyk know.
The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy M.Sc. Program at Trinity College, Dublin, invited four BGSP faculty to come and present at a conference on "Building Our Psychoanalytic Community" on February 29-March 1, 2008. Participating BGSP faculty included Dr. June Bernstein, Dr. Ted Laquerica, Dr. John Madonna and Dr. Jane Snyder, each of whom gave a talk and ran workshops throughout the conference. The relationship between the two schools was built on a connection between Paul Shield, of Ireland, a member of the Trinity program training committee, and John Madonna of BGSP.
The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program in Dublin has been in existence for fifteen years and administrators are currently working on building their own extended community of faculty, graduates, colleagues and students. They sought input from BGSP on issues such as moving graduates into roles as training analysts and administrators, navigating academic and clinical regulatory bodies, and building a community feeling. Conference participants also became interested in modern psychoanalysis and emotional education.
The conference was productive; BGSP faculty were warmly welcomed, and participants look forward to further contact.
"As a therapist, everything I learned here was relevant. Already the course is helping me to understand my own reactions and the reactions of others." Psychotherapist/private practice
"I liked the opportunity to experience and explore emotional interactions. Heightened self-awareness and sensitivity to others are virtues in the classroom. " High school math teacher.
"I liked the challenge of process learning, as well as the course material. This program helped me to understand the pathologies of my students in crisis." Teacher at residential treatment center
"There was no talking down to us as "non-matriculated students" - ever. This was wonderful and challenging." Anonymous
These are some of the reactions from BGSP's first One Year Program graduates. Approximately twelve students, holding job titles such as software engineer, licensed social worker, teacher, artist, psychotherapist and business administrator participated in this 2 semester, 4-course program. Some of those graduating from the One Year Program are continuing on to pursue their Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Counseling.
The One Year Program is designed to enrich the work of clinical practitioners and professionals in various disciplines by introducing them to modern psychoanalytic theories and techniques. Graduates can expect to enhance their therapeutic skills, generate new insights about themselves and their work and develop more effective ways of interacting. Both experiential process and more traditional teaching methods are used to promote learning. During the first semester, students studied the Maturational Process and Transference and Countertransference. During the second semester, students learned about Analytic Listening and Countertransference.
Students at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis are organizing an art exhibition that will bring two distinct groups of students into a shared dialogue. The show will exhibit art students' photographs alongside psychoanalytic "responses" created by current BGSP students. The responses will involve many different creative media, including: music, painting, writing, poetry, plant-life and drawing.
The project began in September 2007 when a "call for submissions" was put out to many of Boston's local art schools, asking for students to submit work relating to the theme of "contact". The show is being both juried and curated by world-renowned photographer Shellburne Thurber, who herself has a personal interest in psychoanalysis and recently had an exhibition called "Psychoanalytic Interiors" that showed in both New York and Boston (see link at the end of this article for details).
The jurying process led to the submission of eighteen framed photographs by seventeen different artists. Fifteen BGSP students then volunteered to respond to the photographs in whichever creative medium they chose.
To make the process truly reflective of the show's title, the photography students were given the contact details of the BGSP responder so that they might make contact to discuss their photograph, their work or anything else about the process that might come up for them. Consequently, the two sets of students are in an active dialogue that will affect and shape the creation of the psychoanalytic responses.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the project will be the discussion that is due to take place on the opening night (Friday March 7th 7.30pm at BGSP). Both groups of students will be on a panel to discuss the process of creating the show and their experience of creating the original work or of responding to an original work with the third dimension of dialogue between the two.
In many ways the process of the show mimics an analytic exchange, where experience is represented in a medium (words/photographs) that is communicated to another (analyst/responder). What happens next in the exchange (how the analyst/responder responds to the initial contact) is the subject of this show.
"Contact" opens on Friday March 7th at BGSP, Boston. All are welcome. For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link to Thurber ArticleContributed by Ali Mcknight, BGSP student
The presenters in the Spring 2008 Film Discussion Series at BGSP have all coincidentally selected films which share among them nine major Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original or Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress or Actor.
Marjorie Kettell, Ph.D., Psya.D., will be discussing the Ingmar Bergman film, Wild Strawberries, which was nominated for best original screenplay in 1958. The other films have a variety of nominations this year. Thomas Twyman, Cert. Psya. will lead a discussion of No Country For Old Men, Russell Lowe, MA will be discussing Atonement, and William Sharp, MA and Jeffrey Madonna, MA will discuss Lars and the Real Girl.
The film discussion evenings are open to the community at large and provide the opportunity for participants to share their reactions to the films, combining this with some analytic theory, in a congenial atmosphere. The Series has presented fifty-eight film discussion nights since its inception in 1997.
Specific dates will be available shortly running from March through June 2008 on non-class Friday evenings. Call BGSP at (617-277-3915) for information.
This summer's conference, Back to Basics II: Uncovering and Understanding Resistance, will be held in Wellfleet the second week of July. Hold the dates. Brochures will soon be available.
BGSP and Institute for the Study of Violence faculty member Stephen Soldz is continuing his work combining psychoanalytic and social perspectives on contemporary events. Dr. Soldz was interviewed for the online Pinky Show for a psychoanalytic perspective on Fear, Aggression, and Empire. The Pinky Show is an online broadcast service featuring a cute bunny interviewing scholars and activist on social issues. It is targeted largely at teachers and students. Dr. Soldz's interview was posted on YouTube, where it has been viewed over 9,000 times. It can be watched here or the transcript read here.
Last year Dr. Soldz participated in a discussion sponsored by Psychoanalysts for Social Responsibility entitled Thinking critically in the Midst of the Maelstrom: can Psychoanalysis Help Us Stay Sane in an Insane World on the online PstyBC forum. The forum discussed two papers, Neil Altman's Psychoanalysis and War and Nancy Hollander's Psyche, Ideology and the Creation of the Political Subject. After the month-long discussion, Dr. Soldz was asked to edit these papers and discussions for two special sections of the journal Psychotherapy and Politics International. As a result of this experience, Dr. Soldz has now joined the PPI editorial board.
Over the past several years the profession of psychology has engaged in vigorous debate over the proper role of psychologists in interrogations of "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the secret CIA black sites. Stephen Soldz, BGSP faculty member, has been a leading figure in these debates. He has written extensively for online sites and blogs on the issue and has been quoted by a number of reporters and had numerous radio and television interviews on the topic. He has also contributed to several scholarly publications on the issue in such journals as Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, and Psychoanalytic Dialogs, and has several forthcoming book chapters on the topic. Recently, Dr. Soldz participated in a workshop on this issue at Harvard Law School with physicians, attorneys and human rights advocates; he is also featured in the latest issue of the Swedish Journal of Psychology. In March, he will be a featured speaker at the Midwest World Affairs Conference at the University of Nebraska, Kearney.
Dr. Soldz is an organizer and will be one of three speakers at a May 3rd forum on Torture and the American Psyche: Blurring the Boundary Between Healers and Interrogators being produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis, together with BGSP's Institute for the Study of violence, the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, the Massachusetts Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology, Physicians for Human Rights, Psychologists for Social Responsibility End Torture Action Committee, and the First Parish Unitarian Church in Brookline. Other speakers are Leonard Rubenstein, President of Physicians for Human Rights and former Iraq interrogator Eric Fair. The forum will be held at the Unitarian Church, 382 Walnut Street, Brookline, MA, 9:30 AM.
The online transdisciplinary Journal of Research Practice has selected BGSP faculty member Stephen Soldz as a recipient of their shared Reviewer of the Year award for 2007. Dr. Soldz has been on the editorial board since the journal's founding.
There is a new Mystery Series about a psychoanalyst who tracks down killers, by Alma H. Bond, internationally known psychoanalyst.
English professor Mark Edmundson discusses the psychosocial meaning of Freud and psychoanalysis in his New York Times op-ed: Who's Your Daddy?