September 11, 2001, is a date etched into the collective memory of the United States and the world. On that fateful day, the world watched in shock and horror as a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place, forever altering the course of history. The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the heroic actions of the passengers aboard Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent people. On this solemn anniversary, we remember and honor those who perished, reflecting on the profound impact of their loss and the resilience that emerged from the ashes of tragedy. And, as we remember and honor those who perished, we must also pay tribute to the valiant first responders who rushed to the scene, selflessly risking their lives to save others.

Remembering Is Never Forgetting

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, claimed the lives of individuals from 90 different countries, making it a global tragedy. Among the victims were first responders, office workers, flight crews, and innocent civilians going about their daily lives. Each person had their own dreams, aspirations, and stories, but they all shared a common fate on that ill-fated day.

As we remember the victims, we also celebrate their lives, their contributions, and the love they left behind. Many left behind grieving families, who have spent years grappling with the immense loss. The victims’ names are inscribed on the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, serving as a poignant reminder of the lives cut short.

American Heroes

Amidst the chaos and devastation of 9/11, heroes emerged from every corner. First responders — firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and countless other emergency personnel — who rushed into burning buildings to save lives, often at the cost of their own. Unsung heroes of the day….

The first responders’ accounts of bravery and sacrifice are both heart-wrenching and inspiring, shedding light on the immense challenges they faced and the unwavering commitment to their duty.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) faced an unprecedented crisis as the Twin Towers collapsed. As they rushed into the burning buildings, many of them knew the risks but were determined to save lives. Their radio transmissions from that day reveal their dedication and bravery. Firefighters like Father Mychal Judge, who administered last rites to the injured and dying, and Captain Paddy Brown, who led his men into the North Tower, embody the spirit of selflessness that defined the FDNY’s response.

New York City police officers and Port Authority personnel helped evacuate the buildings, directed traffic, and assisted with rescue efforts. Police officers like Moira Smith, who lost her life while helping others escape the South Tower, exemplified the courage and compassion that law enforcement officers bring to their communities.

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) worked tirelessly to provide medical care to the injured. Their accounts are filled with stories of administering first aid amidst the chaos, trying to comfort survivors, and coping with the overwhelming number of casualties. Their dedication to saving lives, even when faced with unimaginable horrors, is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

While many first responders emerged as heroes, they also bore the heavy burden of witnessing the unimaginable. They faced danger, loss, and trauma on an unprecedented scale. Their price was: the “long-term psychosocial issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, insomnia, relationship breakdowns and impact on family support systems, and addictive and risk-taking behaviors” (Smith & Burkle, 2019, Abstract). The ongoing physical health issues included respiratory disorders, eye problems, and cancers (Smith & Burkle, 2019). In addition to these long-term medical and mental health conditions, the Ground Zero’s recovery workers also experienced significant musculoskeletal injuries, as well as repetitive motion injuries, and gait deterioration (Smith & Burkle, 2018). And years after 9/11, the rescue and recovery workers still suffered from “survivor guilt, distressing memories of childhood trauma, shame associated with intense feelings, substance abuse relapse, psychosis, and problems with family relationships” (Katz et al., 2006, Abstract). These physical and emotional scars are a lasting reminder of the toll that 9/11 took on these courageous men and women.

And then, the ambiguous loss experienced by the medics, nurses and doctors, who were ready to serve, ready to save lives, ready to give blood, ready to work double- and triple- shifts (and did), but their patients did not come… Those who never became patient, died, jumping down from burning 110-story towers or melted into 200,000 tons of steel that slammed onto the ground where towers stood… (Personal communications, 2001-2011).

Ordinary citizens also displayed extraordinary acts of courage, helping one another to safety. Flight 93’s passengers, realizing the impending danger, took matters into their own hands, thwarting the hijackers’ plans and preventing further devastation. Their selfless acts of bravery and sacrifice exemplify the resilience of the human spirit.

Honoring the Memory

In the wake of 9/11, the world witnessed the strength and unity of the American people. The nation came together to support the victims’ families, rebuild the affected areas, and stand up against terrorism. The attacks spurred significant changes in U.S. security policies and led to a heightened awareness of global terrorism threats.

The enduring legacy of 9/11 extends beyond the tragic events themselves. It serves as a reminder of the need for vigilance, preparedness, and resilience in the face of adversity. It also highlights the importance of valuing unity, compassion, and the power of collective action.

As we remember those who died on 9/11, it is essential to continue honoring their memory in meaningful ways. This can be done through acts of service, supporting charitable organizations that assist victims’ families, and participating in community events that commemorate the day. Education is another vital aspect of remembrance, ensuring that future generations understand the significance of 9/11 and its impact on the world. And of course, examining the whys of what happened on that tragic day…

On this 22nd anniversary of 9/11, we pause to remember and reflect on the lives lost and the heroes who emerged from the ashes of tragedy. The legacy of that fateful day reminds us of the enduring strength of the human spirit and the importance of unity and resilience in the face of adversity.


  • Katz, C.L., Smith, R., Silverton, M., Holmes, A., Bravo, C., Jones, K., Kiliman, M., Lopez, N., Malkoff, L., Marrone, K., Neuman, A., Stephens, T., Tavarez, W., Yarowsky, A., Levin, S., & Herbert, R. (2006). A mental health program for ground zero rescue and recovery workers: Cases and observations. Psychiatric Services, 57(9), 1335-1338.
  • Smith, E.C., & Burkle, F.M. (2018). The forgotten responders: The ongoing impact of 9/11 on the Ground Zero recovery workers. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 33(4), 436-440.
  • Smith, E.C., & Burkle, F.M. (2019). Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician reflections on the ongoing impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 34(1), 56-61.

Ken Fuchsman

Paul Elovitz in 2018 wrote, that “the future of psychohistory is much more precarious” than that of psychoanalysis. A problem is that psychohistory has not been “able to ensconce itself within the academic departments in the U.S. A.” In 2023, there are no courses in psychohistory taught in higher education institutions classified as Research 1 schools. This was not always the case.

Certainly, psychohistory in academia these days contrasts with comparable specialties such as political psychology, social psychology, economic psychology, cross-cultural psychology, and psychological anthropology. They all have long been recognized in academic departments. Starting in the late 1950s, psychohistory was actively discussed among historians. What led to psychohistory first being embraced then discarded by the history profession? There is an irony here. Many prominent historians incorporate psychoanalysis and psychology into their historical publications.  Nevertheless, they refuse to call their work psychohistory. As well, many of these esteemed historians disparage the scholarship of what passes for psychohistory. What happened?

To answer these questions the history of psychohistory needs to be examined. Fortunately, in recent years, there have been three works that address psychohistory’s history. The most recent of these is Arthur Eaton’s 2021 University of London’s dissertation, which is the subject of this article. The title of his work is History Telling: The Rise and Fall of Psychohistory. The second publication is Polish historian Thomas Pawelec’s 2020 History and the Unconscious. The third volume is Paul Elovitz’s 2018 The Making of Psychohistory. Dr. Elovitz has also edited a companion book, The Many Roads of the Builders of Psychohistory, which published accounts of the intellectual and personal journeys of multiple psychohistorians. It is a rich collection but is not a history of psychohistory per se.

Eaton himself is a philosopher and psychologist based in Amsterdam, who provides analytical therapy. The title of his thesis reveals his take on the career of psychohistory. While his is a work with multiple parts, I will focus on three separate psychohistorical movements that Eaton covers. First, psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton in 1966 started holding psychohistorical meetings at his summer home in Wellfleet Massachusetts.  He had psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, historians, sociologists, poets, and others at these gatherings. These went on for close to fifty years and ceased after 2015. The work of Wellfleet contributors Erik Erikson, Bruce Mazlish and Robert J. Lifton were featured by Eaton and will be discussed in this report.

Second, there is GUPH, the Group for the Use of Psychology in History, an affiliate of the American Historical Association (AHA). Originating in the early 1970s, GUPH held their meetings during the AHA’s annual conference. GUPH first started publishing a newsletter, which morphed into The Psychohistory Review in 1976, and this publication lasted until 1999. This group consisted mostly of academic historians.

Third is connected to two initiatives of Lloyd deMause, who had been a political science doctoral student at Columbia. In 1974 deMause founded and edited The History of Childhood Quarterly, but in a few years changed the name to the Journal of Psychohistory, which still publishes quarterly. In 1979, deMause helped organize the International Psychohistorical Association, which among other things holds an annual conference and publishes this newsletter. A member of deMause’s group, historian/psychoanalyst Paul Elovitz in the 1980s started periodic meetings of what he called The Psychohistory Forum, and then in the 1990s founded his own journal Clio’s Psyche, which is still publishing.

Eaton spends a good deal of his work recounting the history of these three movements and certain other important psychohistorical topics. He does not pay much attention to the highly influential psychohistorical scholarship produced by those earning their doctorates at Columbia, including Richard Hofstadter’s paranoid style and Christopher Lasch’s culture of narcissism.

In his introductory chapter, Eaton claims that psychohistory has not much taken hold in Europe, and so his thesis focuses on it within the United States. He says his work is a critical examination of the projects associated with psychohistory. Eaton classifies this field “as a subgenre of psychoanalytic literature.” He also says it is a union of “psychoanalysis and (academic) historiography.”

When it comes to summing up what psychohistory addresses Eaton asserts that there are roughly three main strands of psychohistory: psychoanalytic biographies, studies between leaders and followers, and the history of child-rearing practices. Eaton later lists what psychologist William McKinley Runyan initially labelled as the five main strands of psychohistory: psychoanalysts within Lifton’s Wellfleet group, Yale political scientists, academic psychologists, academic historians, and the deMause group. Eaton does not integrate the two diverging classifications.

Eaton’s second chapter is entitled “Creating a prehistory for psychohistory.” Here he spends ten pages on the psychoanalytic background, has a section on psychologist Runyan, nothing on Yale political scientists, and only a short exposition on what history itself entails.

The author does not hide what his overall findings are: “the history of psychohistory is the story of the failure of an intellectual movement.” He will spend much of his dissertation explaining the reasons for that dramatic and bold. assessment.

When it comes to recounting the more recent history of psychohistory, he starts where many do with the Langer brothers, Walter, and William. William, a historian, was a few years older than Walter, a psychiatric psychoanalyst.  During World War II, Walter was commissioned by the American intelligence agency to write a biography of Adolf Hitler. He completed it in 1943, and it was published decades later in 1972 as The Mind of Adolf Hitler. His older brother William rose through the ranks of historians to become President of the American Historical Association (AHA).  In 1957, his presidential address called for incorporating psychoanalysis into historical works. He titled his address “The Next Assignment.”


Coincidentally, the very next year, psychoanalysts Erik Erikson’s biography Young Man Luther made its appearance and caused a stir. The more recent psychohistory movement then took impetus from Langer’s call to integrate psychoanalysis into history and Erikson making a splash with his psychobiography. Eaton describes the impact of Erikson’s work on psychohistory.  I add that of all those who have written works with a psychohistorical component, no one’s publications are cited nearly as much as Erikson’s. His Childhood and Society has nearly 60,000 citations on Google Scholar. His Identity: Youth and Crisis has 47,000 such citations, Erikson’s Identity and the Life Cycle close to 25,000 citations.  In contrast, Lifton’s highest total is over 4,000, Peter Loewenburg is 300, and Lloyd deMause has a high of 2691 citations. Erikson became a public intellectual. His concept of an identity crisis has become a cultural staple as has his eight life cycle stages. His two psychobiographies remain classics in the field.

Erikson was a mentor for Robert J. Lifton. When the first Wellfleet meeting was held in 1966, Erikson was the featured participant. When it comes to Robert J. Lifton, Eaton quotes historian Philip Pomper that Lifton was to psychohistory what the initial field anthropologists were to armchair anthropologists. To Eaton, “Lifton reinvented psychohistory.” He moved away from psychoanalysis “to traumas, anxiety and guilt” stemming from recognizing “the polarities of life and death.” Eaton gives extensive attention to Lifton’s notion of the protean man that Lifton first discussed in 1968 and kept coming back to for decades. The protean individual keeps moving from position to position as things and the self alters. What is striking is that Eaton only discusses Lifton’s first journal publication in 1968 entitled Protean Man, and not Lifton’s 1993 complete book The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation, nor his later revisions and commentary on the concept.

Another Wellfleet contributor, MIT historian Bruce Mazlish, is also given lengthy treatment by Eaton. Again, Mazlish had a long career with many different specialties. Eaton covers the earlier part of Mazlish’s work.  Special attention is given to Mazlish’s widely reviewed 1972 In Search of Nixon: A Psychohistorical Inquiry.  He also describes Mazlish’s early praise of psychohistory.  One gets the sense that Eaton is not as well read in the works of Lifton and Mazlish as he might be.


The group for using psychology in history is important for this story because it was an affiliate of the American Historical Association. As such, it is the only major component of the psychohistory movement that was integrated into the history profession. The Psychohistory Review was published by an academic institution. In contrast, Wellfleet did not publish a periodical. Neither the Journal of Psychohistory nor Clio’s Psyche are formally associated with an institution of higher learning.  Both are privately owned businesses.  Many of those writing for the Psychohistory Review had history academic appointments. In the other two journals, the contributing writers are more often psychological or psychoanalytic clinicians than professors of history.

Historian/psychoanalyst Charles Strozier, a one-time editor of The Psychohistory Review, is frank about other psychohistorical outlets. As mentioned, Strozier’s journal began in 1976, while deMause’s Childhood Quarterly was started two years earlier. Strozier wrote that both GUPH and their newsletter was on the ropes given “the stormy entrance into psychohistory of Lloyd deMause, who had money, flair and support.” Strozier added, “I thought deMause was froth from the start. I found his imperious style impossible and his understanding of psychoanalysis and psychohistory off beat, if not bizarre.”

In an interview Strozier gave to Elovitz in 1997 that is not in Eaton’s work, Strozier pointed out that at International Psychohistorical Association conferences there are many psychoanalysts, while at GUPH meetings most everyone is a historian. He also said that those associated with deMause are primarily either psychoanalysts or psychologists and for GUPH it is historians.  Elovitz responded by saying that what Strozier declared is a very real distinction. Long after the demise of The Psychohistory Review the international psychohistorical group in 2023 remains primarily mental health professionals with just a smattering of those with history doctorates.

What transpired is that most aligned with Strozier’s group did not join the deMause contingents. In 1978, The Psychohistory Review put together an editorial board with prominent figures such as Lifton, Mazlish. Loewenberg, Paul Roazen, John Demos, and more. They did not join deMause’s boards.

On one hand, during the 1970s psychohistory appeared to be on the rise.  In 1977, Eaton reports, there were over 200 courses in psychohistory taught in colleges, universities, and psychoanalytic institutes. At the same time, there were forces moving in the opposite direction. Eaton quotes Lynn Hunt, onetime President of the American Historical Association, that in the 1970s, history was turning against psychoanalysis and towards social and cultural history.


One development that did not endear psychohistory to academic departments were the pronouncements of Lloyd deMause. The term that Eaton uses repeatedly to describe deMause’s pronouncements is speculative. Eaton says, “deMause … constructed a speculative evolutionary theory out of his findings.” And “DeMause’s wild speculations played into the hands of critics of psychohistory.” Strozier told Eaton that at any meeting Strozier’s group organized “Lloyd and some of his acolytes would turn up and cause a ruckus.”

Adding fuel to the fire, as early as 1975, deMause determined that psychohistory should be concerned with eternal laws. As such it was “necessary to split off from history and form its own department.” This was because “the relationship between history and psychohistory is parallel to the relationship between astrology and astronomy.” Comparing history to astrology and his own theories to astronomy was strong stuff. Psychohistory for deMause seems to have become not just a method of inquiry and discovery, but a cause. DeMause seemed to be portraying himself as the prophet of a transformational movement.

In addition, anti-psychohistorical books began to be published. Columbia’s esteemed Jacques Barzun led a counterattack against psychohistory in his 1974, Clio and the Doctors. In 1980, historian David Stannard wrote Shrinking History: On Freud and the Failure of Psychohistory. Later, a prize-winning historian who promoted Freud, Peter Gay, declared “that psychohistory has been excessively reductionist.” Gay at another time said that “pungent” responses “to psychohistory have been only too deserved.” Eaton remarks that it “seems Gay set out to save psychoanalysis from psychohistory.”

Eaton also finds that the competition between psychohistorical factions “led to disunity and hostility among practitioners.” This resulted in “trench warfare between practitioners defending incommensurable theoretical positions; no credible authority had been capable of unifying the movement or anchoring a stable meaning to the term.” Psychohistory entered the 1980s “in disarray.” Eaton finds another problem: psychohistory “had not produced a coherent body of knowledge.”

Historian Thomas Pawelec in his book on psychohistory reached a similar conclusion that psychohistorians “were clearly unable to overcome internal divisions.” This to Pawlelec included that “psychohistorians were not able to sufficiently agree among themselves on a set of basic norms and directives.” This included that there has been no way of affirming “the legitimacy of psychohistorical hypothesis and conclusions.”  For many “psychohistorians do not follow proper historical procedures to justify claims.”

To these critics, psychohistory has the same dilemma that highly regarded psychoanalyst Robert Wallerstein in 1993 said of his field: “skilled psychoanalytic clinicians can construct differing but equally plausible and compelling formulations…yet at the same time have no systematic method for establishing the truth claims of any of the alternatives.” These internal factions and unresolved epistemological criteria also contributed to the decline of interest by professional historians in psychohistory. As time wore on, the number of classes in the specialty at colleges diminished.

In 1999, The Psychohistory Review stopped publishing. One reason for this Charles Strozier told Eaton was because the history profession was never going to fully recognize psychohistory. Then seven years later, as Eaton points out, in 2006 the American Historical Association removed psychohistory from its list of research specialties. Linda Kerber, the association’s president, said this was initially done because only 4 of 14,000 members selected psychohistory as one of their three specialties.

Adding insult to injury, in 2013 psychohistorical pioneer Bruce Mazlish said that the works of psychohistory fall “outside the circle of common scholarship.” As a result, the field psychohistory “has fallen into somewhat extended disrepute.” To Eaton, psychohistory lives on but has been “stripped of its authority.” It “is still pursued and propagated by a small group of fervent disciples, but as a stagnant endeavor.”

Eaton’s dissertation gives a variety of answers as to why psychohistory has evolved into a stagnant field that is excluded from the history profession. First, part of it is that the trends within history dramatically altered in the 1970s and were less receptive to psychoanalysis and more to social and cultural research. Second, psychohistory was not unified but fell into hostile, irreconcilable factions. Third is that psychohistory did not develop a coherent body of knowledge, and that it has not developed criteria for ascertaining what makes one psychohistorical thesis any more credible than another. Fourth, Lloyd deMause’s wildly speculative pronouncements to many made psychohistory disreputable.

Certainly, the competitive hostility between the deMausians and The Psychohistory Review did not assist in psychohistory moving forward in academia.  The distance between those who are declared psychohistorians connected to clinical fields and some other professional historians has not faded away. There remain those current historians who openly incorporate psychoanalytic perspectives in their writings. Their shying away from aligning with the psychohistorical movements has to do with their assessment that many of the surviving forms of psychohistory do not meet historical standards of knowledge. Several declared psychohistorians disagree with this critique of their field. Their defenses are contested by two of the three recent historians of psychohistory. Eaton, for instance, criticizes psychohistory for not developing a coherent body of knowledge, and Pawelec has a similar conclusion. As mentioned, these and other observers of psychohistory claim that psychohistory has no formally adopted criteria for what makes one psychohistorical interpretation more empirically grounded than another.

Despite its epistemological travails, a solidly grounded psychohistory is integral to both historical and psychological enterprises. Psychohistorical outlooks can illuminate significant human phenomena in unique ways. To regain its cultural importance, psychohistory will need to confront and find solutions to some of the intellectual and epistemological challenges that has led to its being marginal inside and outside academia. Eaton’s thesis can contribute to our cognizance of how past developments derailed psychohistory.  That makes it valuable.

There is a way forward. As Nobel Prize winning novelist William Faulkner declared, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In many domains, making advances often entails fully confronting the dilemmas from the past that are still present. Eaton’s judgment is that psychohistory is currently stagnant and is a movement that has not honestly confronted its failings. Yet whether this assessment is accurate or not, the central relevance of psychohistory to understanding our species needs to be more widely developed than it is.

by Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D.

Much of what occurs in history is unsurprising, but big developments often defy expectations. Lest anyone imagine they have a crystal ball, consider these examples. When Muhammad died in 632 CE, no one could have predicted that some twenty years later, Muslim forces would have taken Egypt and Judea from the Byzantines and conquered the entire Persian Empire. In 1521, when the most powerful monarch in Europe (Charles V) condemned Martin Luther as a heretic, no one could have foreseen that England, Prussia, Sweden, and many other states would adopt Protestantism as their official religions in the coming decades. When moderate Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, no one expected that less than six years later the United States would have abolished slavery. In 1985, when the politburo unanimously elected Mikhail Gorbachev General Secretary of the Soviet communist party, no one could have predicted that the USSR itself would no longer exist less than seven years later.

So too, it is almost inconceivable today — with a major war occurring in Europe, with the US and China on the brink of a new Cold War, and with armed conflicts raging in Africa and elsewhere—that significant disarmament and demilitarization are possible in the 21st Century. And yet an international network of diplomats, politicians, scholars, and citizen activists—like abolitionists at the peak of slavery—are working precisely towards this goal. As I wind down my role as president of the International Psychohistorical Association (I will not be running for re-election in 2024, though I expect to continue to be a member of the leadership team), I was recently asked to become Editor of Disarmament Times, a publication of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security. I gladly accepted this new position.

According to the UN Department of Global Communications, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is “a not-for profit, voluntary citizen’s group that is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good.” The NGO Committee on Disarmament was established in 1973 by American Unitarian minister and social activist Homer A. Jack, then secretary-general of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. NGO members of the organization today include the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, Soka Gakkai International (a Buddhist association), Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, the Unitarian Universalist Association UN Office, Center for International Peace Building, and Economists for Peace and Security. See more on their website:


It is a legitimate question whether a demilitarized world order is really possible, and if so, what a pathway to it might look like? In an article earlier this year, Robert Kagan wrote that the United States and its allies need to utilize “superior power,” not international law, “on behalf of their vision of a desirable world order” (“A Free World, If You Can Keep It: Ukraine and American Interests,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2023). Under Kagan’s Manichean view of the world, which is apparently shared by the Biden administration, the US and NATO should be willing to use force to defend “liberal democracy” from “aggressive” and “autocratic” great powers, particularly Russia and China. Leaving aside the actual historical record of the United States — which has defended mostly right-wing dictatorships, not liberal democracies — can a viable alternative to the war system really be crafted, and if so, how?

The alternative that I and the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security propose, which is well-defined and supported by the peace studies literature, is the path of verifiable security agreements. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this path does not require all signatories to be liberal democracies, since violations of the agreements can be detected by all parties, triggering remedial actions. Bilateral US-Soviet successes, relying on satellite verification, include the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, SALT I, and START I treaties. Multilateral successes include the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In short, governments know how to negotiate verifiable security agreements and have done so successfully in this and the previous century.  Autocratic governments, which have participated in these agreements, are not an obstacle. Rather, the obstacle is the stranglehold that defense contractors, military bureaucracies, and other special interests have over foreign policy, particularly in the United States, currently the world’s only superpower.

Far from being an untried, utopian experiment, the path of threat reduction through verifiable agreements is a practical and tested paradigm of international security.  Given its record of success, and the militarists’ record of failure culminating in the current Ukraine war and looming new Cold War, the burden of proof is not on doves to show that demilitarization can succeed, but on hawks to show that it cannot.  In my new role as Editor of Disarmament Times, I hope to carry on the work of educating the general public about how international security actually works, and how significant demilitarization and threat reduction can occur in our lifetimes.

Brian D’Agostino, PhD, is President of the International Psychohistorical Association. He is the author of peer reviewed research on the psychology of militarism, numerous articles on psychohistory and public affairs, and The Middle Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America. Visit his website at https://bdagostino.com/

by Peter W. Petschauer
For Howard Stein, who assisted with this poem.

The endless halls of mirror images
of all too many wars’ blood-stained soils.
A German soldier ground into a muddy road before Moscow.
December 1941.

Did a bullet find him and knock him down?
Tanks and trucks rolled over him —
no time to stop and pull him aside —
bullets targeted their crews as well.

There he lay in the frozen ground,
missing on the Eastern front,
only his uniform still recognizable.
A mother or girlfriend mourning far away,
not knowing of his fate.

Adolf Hitler ordered his murder —
unconcerned about him and all the others
he sent to their deaths to fulfill his irrational attempt
to conquer Russia’s fertile lands.

A Russian soldier crushed into a muddy road in the Donets. July 2023.
Did a bullet knock him down right there?
Tanks and trucks pressed him into the slimy dirt —
no time to pull him to the side —
other missiles destined for their crews.

His uniformed body barely discernible —
only the soles of his boots sticking up sideways.
Missing in far-away Ukraine —
a mother or girlfriend mourning far away,
unaware of his fate.

Vladimir Putin ordered his murder,
like that of other thousands
in his preposterous dream to pound
an independent nation back into Russia’s fold.


by Ken Fuchsman

Jon Mills is a rare breed. He both has a doctorate in philosophy and is a practicing psychoanalyst. Canada’s Charles Hanly and Columbia University’s Joel Whitebook are other contemporaries who are psychoanalysts and philosophers.

Mills himself is extraordinarily prolific, and his work is extremely wide-ranging. Dr. Mills newest book, Psyche, Culture, World: Excursions in Existentialism and Psychoanalytic Philosophy (Routledge, 2023) tackles many diverse topics from relational psychoanalysis to the future of human life. Firmly rooted in psychoanalysis and European philosophy, Mills brings a unique sensibility to the most central issues in and outside psychoanalysis. His ambitious goal is to move towards a psychology of existence.

Dr. Mills in this book examines a series of subjects “through a psychoanalytic sensibility” in ways that apply “a philosophical focus to applied psychoanalytic concepts.” Throughout the book he explores questions of authenticity, existentialism, social pathology, and the fate of civilization, among other pertinent issues.

Mills writes, “human existence is ultimately about developing our potential … and living an authentic life.” To accomplish this, we must confront “the malicious forces that threaten our life” by courage, fortitude, and above all awareness. As such, Mills sees “therapy is a liberation struggle.” 

For Mills, there are obstacles within psychoanalysis to becoming liberated. From “post-classical through contemporary psychoanalytic thought” there is an “ill-defined” conception of how the “I” develops from the It. To Mills, this includes that neither Hans Kohut, Stephen Mitchell, Daniel Stern, nor Stolorow and Atwood have “addressed the…conditions that make the emergence of the self possible.” To fill these gaps Mills developed what he calls both dialectical psychoanalysis and process psychology. Relying on Hegel’s concepts of the dialectic, Mills thinks we can more fully account for “the nature of mental functioning and explain how unconscious modification is made possible.” In other words, to Mills, psychoanalysis needs the input from philosophical analysis to give a firmer foundation to its own doctrines.

For mind in itself “is constituted a process… Process underlies all experience … process is pure event, unrest, or experiential flow.” This includes that psychic reality “is dialectically constituted by competing and opposing forces that are interrelated and mutually implicative.” This is a Hegelian version of the divided self in dialogue with itself. Mills wishes to integrate this dialectical psychoanalysis into the center of psychoanalysis.

Derived from Hegel’s Science of Logic, there are three simultaneous movements in Mills’s process psychology: “(1) annul or cancel opposition (2) surpass or transcend its prior moment, while (3) preserving such opposition within its new, transformed and synthesized organization.” Mills through philosopher Hegel is describing the way our mental apparatus processes the inner, self-conflicted dialectic. Mills uses the terms process and dialectics to give a foundation for our internal psychic realities. Mills thinks his approach more solidly fortifies what have been the metaphysical quandaries that have plagued Freudian thought.

Mills notes that the history of psychoanalysis moves from drive to ego psychology, object relations, self-psychology and intersubjectivity. In much of contemporary psychoanalysis “the primacy of the drives and the unconscious itself have virtually disappeared.”

Mills instead posits that “psychic agency” is a “progress in unconscious, dialectical activity.” Again, for Mills neither Freud, Klein, Winnicott nor Kohut give “a satisfactory account of self-development.”  Along with Hegel, Mills uses the term soul “to describe the immediacy of subjectivity as an unconscious state of undifferentiated oneness… the soul is strictly an unconscious, affective embodiment.” To Mills, the “unconscious ego” progresses from desire to apperception, sentience as a “dialectical mediation.” For “experiencing itself as a feeling agent constitutes the birth of the psyche.”  Here Mills provides the underpinning for the development of the I that for him other psychoanalytic theories have failed to do.

For Mills, the understanding of the dialectics within and beyond the unconscious is the key to providing the means to achieve the psychic liberation and life fulfillments that are the goals of therapy.  To Mills, there is a conjunction between Hegel and Freud.  It is in the recognition that the “psyche is split.”

Humans contain “multiple self-states in opposition or competition with each other… but willing to settle for a compromise.” Mills proclaims, “Name me a subject, let alone a life, that is not contradictory.”  Given our divisions, to Mills “dialectic is the essence of psychic life.” This self-dialogue can range from “higher transcendental plans” to “regressions, masochistic withdrawal and devolvement into…more primitive(original) conditions.” Through this dialectic process what can emerge is “unification” into “higher…thought, understanding and judgment.” It can evolve into an “authentic life” of liberation.

If to Mills the process of dialectics is the way to authentic liberation in self and psychoanalysis, there are other paths worth considering. Certainly, the phenomenology of Heidegger and the existentialism of Sartre are descendants in their own way of the Hegelian dialectics. Heidegger’s notion of Dasein or being in the world to Mills among other things concerns “essential elements of human existence” including struggling with “anxiety and death, freedom and inauthenticity.” Mills praises Heidegger for recognizing that humans can be neurotic and self-deceptive, and they can fail to live genuinely. Mills criticizes both Heidegger and Sartre for not accepting “the primacy of the unconscious” and how it governs our conscious life. It is the denial of the unconscious that to Mills is the reason why existentialism has had little influence on psychoanalysis.

Within Heidegger there can evolve an “authenticity” that embraces “genuine care” that “is an ownership of Dasein’s freedom” within a “self-world relation.” To Mills perhaps “the interface between Heideggerian philosophy and psychoanalysis” provides us “with a clearer window” both into “the possibilities of selfhood” and “a more profound grasp of what it means to be.” Here again a conjunction between psychoanalysis and another European philosophy can provide a path to authenticity and liberation.

To Mills, there are developments that lead away from authentic understanding. These include the hermeneutic and phenomenological turns and mistaken ideologies of science. Hermeneutics is the process of interpretation. The problem, Mills says, is that it leads to an inescapable circularity that leads to relativism. For if “there are only interpretations of interpretations then objective science is bankrupt,” as there “can be no facts apart from interpretation.” Mills contests this conclusion, as “observation and interpretation” are integral “facets of mental activity.” Psychoanalytic activities, among others, “necessarily require observation.” Hermeneutics obscures as much as it illuminates.

Phenomenology is concerned with the structure of subjectivity within consciousness, Mills says. There is a problem here. “If, by definition, phenomenology is a science of consciousness” it appears to eliminate the “possibility of apprehending or knowing unconscious activity.” To Mills all consciousness is an agent of “unconscious ego-organization.” To him, the phenomenological enterprise separates the conscious and unconscious in indefensible ways.

Mills also is concerned with how not science, but ideologies of science are inappropriately applied to psychoanalytic endeavors. He pays extensive attention to a 2015 article by Patrick Luyten entitled “Unholy Questions about Five Central Tenets of Psychoanalysis that Need to be Empirically Verified” that appeared in Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Luyten himself holds a variety of positions included at University College, London, and the Yale Child Study Center. At University College, London, he is director of the Ph.D. program in psychoanalysis.

According to Mills, Luyten questions five areas of psychoanalysis that do not “live up to empirical scrutiny.” They are (1) the theoretical language of psychoanalysis; (2) treatment, technique, and training; (3) developmental theories; (4) attachment and object relational models; and (5) explanation in psychoanalysis. Mills thinks Luyten’s efforts are praiseworthy, but also remarks that much of the empirical ideologies leave little room for the contributions of the humanities. To Mills a reductionist epistemological framework is too “far removed from the human condition and the experiential subject.” In a variation of C. P. Snow’s opposition between the two cultures of the sciences and humanities, Mills thinks it is imperative for investigations into the human to include our psychic realities.

Mills questions some elements of reductionist science; he also says science contemporaneously includes observation, empirical investigation, and explanation of phenomena derived from experiment. This may work in some areas, but in academic psychology “human experience is not studied as it happens,” but is “reframed” to fit into the “contrived method” and concepts of social science. As such, it omits the centrality of subjective and intersubjective experience on the outside. In other words, the methods and ideology of science reduces human experience to what can be measured by limited experimental methods. Science to Mills has not yet developed conceptions and methods that account for lived human experience.

If academic research has been disappointing when it comes to psychic realities, Mills agrees with Luyten’s critique that psychoanalysis has largely been “an assemblage of factions holding onto their preferred theoretical customs.” In contrast, Luyten praises the empirical work of Peter Fonagy and associates, of which Luyten is one. But to Mils, Luyten can be faulted by not defining crucial terms such as description and explanation. Luyten concludes that psychoanalysis offers descriptions and not true explanations. To Mills, there is nothing in Luyten’s article that supports this conclusion. Mills asserts that scientific accounts on human psychology are no better than psychoanalytic attempts.

One of Luyten’s main arguments is that neuroscience is necessary for psychoanalysis. As what is discovered about the brain and its neural circuits shows the need for psychoanalysis to incorporate these new findings and alter their language. Mills remains skeptical. Neuroscience fails “to fully capture the meaning of felt experience and the qualia of psychic reality.” To Mills, these neuroscience efforts are “ontologically reductive.” And for him they are part of an effort of “a subgroup of researchers interested in promoting their own way of thinking.” This appears to be a reference to the Fonagy group at the Anna Freud Centre in London. Overall, Mills sees this work as “superficial and one-dimensional.”

He also finds that Luyten cherry picks aspects of psychoanalytic theories. Mills too disputes Luyten’s “denunciation” of the explanatory powers of psychoanalysis and wishes it to be replaced by “the empirical tradition.” Mills alluded earlier to “other methodologies in the humanities and in clinical praxis are more relevant.” Mills says it is not that he is an “anti-empiricist.”  He just finds that “empirical psychology … suffers from an inadequate conceptual framework.” This contrasts with the “continental philosophy” that is a “challenge” to “the Cartesian, logocentric, positivism and physicalist frameworks underlying the scientistic hegemony of Western thought.” Here Mills is placing the two cultures’ controversy as well in the frequent contrast between continental European and Anglo-American intellectual traditions.

Mills moves from questions of knowledge to psychoanalytic truth. His continental European affinities come to the fore. To Mills, “truth is defined as the process of disclosedness or unconcealedness.” He soon acknowledges his use of Heidegger in expounding on his use of these terms. For the twentieth century German philosopher’s notions are “relevant to psychoanalysis” in their showing the relationship between being disclosed and hidden. Mills cites Charles Hanly’s assertion that truth is the “cornerstone” of every psychoanalytic approach. To Mills, truth is not located in “correspondence with reality” but in psychoanalysis is centered on “internally and interpersonally mediated transactions.”  In psychoanalytic treatment, truth appears in “psychological revelation” as “truth is ultimately about personal, lived experience…as self-realization and self-honesty within an intersubjective space.” What was concealed can become unconcealed. This movement from being hidden to self-honesty and self-realization is the way the process of psychology and the dialectic becomes manifest. Again, it is these therapeutic processes that can lead to the authenticity and liberation that Mills sees as the higher aim of all human existence.

In the last chapter of this psychoanalytic philosophy, Mills makes a variation on one of Freud’s most influential works.  In 1930, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents was published.  Ninety-three years later, Jon Mills entitles his reflection “Civilization and Its Fate.” Freud had written in 1930 that “men are not creatures who want to be loved … [T]hey are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness.” Neighbors use their neighbors “sexually without his consent … seize his possessions … humiliate him … torture and kill him.” Freud then cites Roman playwright Plautus, who lived before the common era, who wrote “Man is a wolf to man.”

Mills refers to Freud’s quote from Plautus. Then Mills declares that the “history of the human race is forged on traumatization, resentment, and the need for revenge… Aggression and violence directed towards others is part of human nature… Human pathology is normative throughout all cultures and all times… Psychopathology is the essence of man.” In this, Mills echoes Freud in 1930.

Mills then takes things a step further. He wonders “whether our pathological propensities will likely bring about our extinction” or whether “we can transmogrify our destructive impulses.”  Mills says the real issue is whether we can sublimate our violence into “the higher tiers of self-conscious ethical reflection that reason can afford.” To Mills, “psychic maturation is the sublimation…of primitive mental processes.” Mills turns to Hegel and asserts that “full self-actualization” is achieved “only after traversing” through “alienation” and the “vicissitudes of desire.”  In other words, we actualize ourselves after a thorough dialectic process that involves processing through the complexities of our alienation and desires. Alluding to Hegels’ Phenomenology of Spirit, Mills has the soul “entering into opposition with itself… the character of the dialectic is that of negativity and conflict… tempestuous, feral, and dynamic. Spirit as such is the source of its own negativity.” The self-dialectic in Mills confronts the darker side of human impulses before it can achieve self-honesty and a higher order of spirit.

Mills wonders if the dialectic can move “towards a global amelioration of psychopathology.” To Mills, the major obstacle is the “problem of destructiveness.” He believes that “Negativity is always the base agitation of any organism.” At the same time, Mills says that with “mediation and sublation, mind achieves higher levels of unification” and a “full integration.” There is a way this unification can move forward. “Group identity,” Mills writes, “fosters unity and progression, but it may lead to discord and regression.” Still, “any movement that encourages greater emotional attachment to others strongly militates against the loom of destruction, for love is the engendered ideal and the heart of conscience.”

While love militates against destruction, for Mills “civilization has been forged on human conflict, attachment deficits in parent-child rearing practices, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, traumatization, dehumanization, and war.” It is not surprising then that Mills finds that “Civilization… is responsible for most of our malaise.” But then he immediately follows this by recognizing that civilization is “responsible for our remarkable advances in education, technology, science, medicine, human rights, aesthetics, and moral conscientiousness.” Mills does not elaborate how out of the mixture of negative and positive dialectics these astounding advances have emerged.

Mills raises a question, “To what degree will progression win out over regression in the face of our contemporary ecological emergency” and other looming catastrophes? Mills believes that “nationalism, ethnic and religious identity, political factions, and…rigid group identifications will never perish.” On the other hand, “increased ascendance and social unification overreaches the regressive instantiation of annihilating forces.” This might be seen as an elaboration of Freud’s notions of a life and death instinct.  To Mills, there are places where “human pathology will recede” where “communal affiliation” flows. Later, Mills cites contemporary Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek that there are two forces confronting the world: unbridled capitalism and fundamentalist religions. Mills has a somewhat different take. We live too much in the moment where restraint, compromise, and self-control are “an unwelcome trespass” on “tantalizing pleasure.”

Mills then speculates that “we may very well be living in the end times” where “approaching cataclysm…may no longer be preventable.”  Mills is not sure we can reconcile Freudian pessimism with Hegels’ optimism. Mills is concerned that the dialectic will reach “an implosive climax or irresolvable breaking point.” The way out is for humanity to give up our comforts to enhance the prospects for species self-preservation. Mills admits he does not see this happening in the immediate future. He concludes his entire treatise with the statement that “if I were a betting man, I would say we are on the brink of extinction.”

The pessimistic Freud ends Civilization and Its Discontents by questioning whether humanity’s “cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance of their communal life.” Mills has a similar concern. Freud poses the tension between our amazing destructive capacities with “eternal Eros” efforts against “his equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?”

Hegel on the other hand ends The Science of Logic by foreseeing “freedom…absolutely existing for itself without subjectivity.” For “this self-liberation in the science of spirit, and in the science of logic finds the highest concept of itself, the pure concept conceptually comprehending itself.” This self comprehending is a triumph of liberation.

Mills is deeply indebted to both Hegel and Freud.  When it comes to the fate of humanity, Mills is closer to Sigmund Freud than Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In the meantime, Homo sapiens remain immersed in the perennial dialectic between the destructive and the liberating.

by Ken Fuchsman

Robin Bagai is a clinical psychologist practicing in Portland, Oregon. For over seven years he has been holding seminars on the work of psychoanalyst Michael Eigen. This year, Routledge has published Dr. Bagai’s Commentaries on the Work of Michael Eigen:  Oblivion and Wisdom, Madness and Music.  It is a series of expansive reflections on two of Dr. Eigen’s seminal works, The Psychotic Core (1986) and Emotional Storm (2005).

Bagai’s book alternates between explication of Eigen’s texts and his own insightful reflections. In a way, Bagai’s volume mirrors a legendary practice of Eigen’s. For decades, weekly in his office on Central Park West in Manhattan, Eigen would hold his own seminars. Since the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Eigen has been hosting these weekly meetings on Zoom from his home. In these sessions, for many years, Eigen reads sections of Wilfred Bion’s A Memoir of the Future; and then he would provide his own often erudite and compassionate reflections on his mentor’s text. Eigen’s riffs have often been magical.

Dr. Bagai’s book seems to me a worthy variation on the method of explanation and understanding that Eigen has practiced with Bion. Robin Bagai is familiar with Eigen’s seminar practices both from occasionally attending the Manhattan meetings and now regularly in attendance at Eigen’s Zoom seminars. It is something both Eigen and Bagai can take from their mentors and contribute valuable psychoanalytic, spiritual, and human understanding derived from their own inner psychic realities.

Eigen himself is a unique figure within contemporary psychoanalysis. In a field famous for its history of disputation and a variety of sometimes incompatible schools of thought, Michael Eigen quietly avoids all these psychoanalytic wars. His prominence is due to his eloquent writing and his subject matter.  One of his books is entitled The Psychoanalytic Mystic, and three of his books are on the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah. Eigen though cannot easily be placed within one approach. His 30 books published since 1986 cover the widest range of subject matter.

What is also noteworthy is how many well-known psychoanalysts praise Eigen to the skies. These include Adam Phillips, Christopher Bollas, Jon Mills, Jessica Benjamin, Lewis Aron, Nancy McWilliams, and Adrienne Harris. Another psychoanalyst, Michael O’Loughlin along with Mila Kirstie C. Kulsa captures some of Eigen’s appeal. They write that those who are personally familiar with Eigen “know of his boundless erudition, his enigmatic charm, and his capacity to make himself available to all.  Eigen embodies and practices the kind of radical openness that is central to his philosophy.” As well, is “the devotion he inspires in his followers.” I add that Eigen’s capacity to be responsive to all is connected to his kindness and supportiveness. He exudes being positive, even when expounding on emotional storms and psychic deadness. In a field where some make their mark by developing new doctrines and promoting their innovations, Eigen always praises the work of those who influenced him.  He spends at least as much time speaking about Bion as his own contributions.

Robin Bagai says about Eigen what Eigen says about his influences. Dr. Bagai writes about “the great mystery” of “how one person’s insides touching another can change the trajectory of a life. Michael Eigen’s writing and person have done just that.” This book grows out of Bagai’s experiences with and expounding on Eigen. This transformational capacity, Robin Bagai finds, also permeates the seminars he regularly holds on Eigen’s writings. Bagai writes that it “is difficult to convey the depth of appreciation group members expressed for what studying Eigen’s work brings.”

Bagai’s book, as mentioned, has two parts. The first involves 12 commentaries on Eigen’s first book, The Psychotic Core, then 13 commentaries on Emotional Storm. Dr. Bagai wants these book readers to be on “a journey of discovery… an adventure, a detective story, or mystery thriller.” An end goal is for the participants to engage in “the risky business of contacting oneself more deeply.”


The initial commentary mentions that The Psychotic Core was Eigen’s first book, published when he was 50. A main strand in Eigen’s book is the theme of doubleness. Bagai says this is about how binaries interact with each other. To him, our “physical and psychic lives exist within various matrixes of doubleness” that are “mostly hidden in plain sight.” Another aim of Bagai’s exposition is to normalize being psychotic.

This can be accomplished by recognizing that inner and outer reality are conjoined, separate, and interwoven. One such element of inner realities can be hallucinations which can have a “compelling power.” Hallucinations are “siblings” to idealization and wish-fulfillments. When psychosis itself appears this can be viewed, Bagai writes, as “a desperate attempt to ward off” and control intrusive realities. “One can literally lose one’s mind.”

Eigen himself writes, “The impact of reality is far greater than our ability to process it.  We can’t take too much reality.” Overall, to Eigen, suffering is a part of being healthy. For Bagai, there is “a human universe of great complexity across many levels.” For those who are challenged to stay sane when trying to deal with the powerful impact of internal and external realities an “extreme psychosis” can become “a self-deadening process…a disappearance into nonexistence.” For Eigen, we can return from what Bagai describes as “psychotic mindlessness.” Bagai quotes Eigen on the importance of differentiation; without it there can be “the blankness of nothingness.” We can move out of being undifferentiated. For Eigen, every form “of self-other awareness involve some kind of differentiation.”   In psychosis, this can contrast in establishing “alternate realities” that can “generate hate-filled processes.”

After all, as Bagai notes, hate can be turned on oneself and onto others. To Eigen, humans are full of love and anger, hate and fear. Bagai reminds us how connected hate is to interpersonal conflicts, cultural controversies, cold and world wars. That is when it is directed outward.  When hatred is turned inward it can deplete the self. Bagai tells us that for Eigen, hating oneself is pervasive in mental illness. Overall, Bagai writes, that whether “we are sane or insane, the issue is partly about coming to terms with” the “multidimensionality” that is “embedded in the complexity of being human.” How we do this is central to what kind of person we become.

Psychic “health,” Bagai says, “means operating in the world with a seamless sense of inside, outside, and in between.” Most of us fortunately “experience a more natural flow, with fluidity, and flexibility… For the psychotic mind, such distinctions between them regularly get short-circuited or all jumbled up.”

After all, to Bagai, “each of us is never very far from experiencing a transient psychotic state.” Yet we can also be protected from being psychotic. This is because most of us possess an “ability to test reality…check ourselves” and “get protection” through “sleep and dreaming.”

For those whose means of self-protection are a problem, Eigen, according to Bagai, mentions four things: a corrupt body self, a corrupt mental self, and omnipotence and omniscience.  These last two are often psychotic delusions.

Bagai writes that for Eigen madness is not only about a weak or rigid ego.  Eigen sees rigidity, being hypersensitive and passion combining in the dissolution of the self. He then quotes Eigen, “The rigidity that marks psychosis is more than insulation for hypersensitivity.  It seems as basic a fact as the sensitivity itself.” On the other hand, for Eigen there can emerge a “wholesale replenishing and redirecting psychic life” in which the person becomes “more receptive to the mystery of experiencing.” The unconscious ego can be “a fertile womb or a container capable of sustaining the play of opposites, particularly the plasticity and determination of psychic work.” Eigen sees this movement as getting to “places where mutual correctiveness can become a way of life.” This includes fidelity to the impact of the vision of others.” For Eigen, we can learn from madness “and treat it as a partner in evolution.”

These remarks of Eigen’s conclude the first part of Robin Bagai’s reflections and commentaries of The Psychotic Core.


Nineteen years after Eigen’s first book saw the light of day, Wesleyan University Press printed his Emotional Storm. Bagai early on describes our humanity. “We are multifaceted sensuous beings as well as destructive beings,” and “at times our emotions are too much for us.” Michael Eigen believes we are subject to powerful emotions, “We need to begin to learn how to make room for and work with emotional storms,” Eigen writes. To him, we should become “partners with our capacities.” For “emotional storm does not just shatter, it spreads through experience, often unnoticed or misnamed.” Eigen then maintains that self-knowledge and social advance is connected to how well we deal with the storms within us. To Eigen, learning to partner with our emotions “will not solve social or global problems, but these problems will not be solved without it.”

To Dr. Bagai, “emotional storm is neither health nor pathology – it is part of our birthright.” It derives “from our evolutionary history and quest for survival.” He then turns to Eigen’s remarks about the necessity of connecting with the deepest part of ourselves with an attitude of openness.  We have the capability of living with our storms. To Bagai, this can occur given that humans “are sensitive beings, and our human sensitivity is precious.” Still, the emotional storms within us “can be scary. They involve vulnerability and risk.” We are endowed with the capacity to confront the depths and can be susceptible to feeling endangered.

Dr. Bagai elaborates on what these powerful internal dynamics can entail. “Primordial emotional storm can be … a life force, creative force, destructive force, political catastrophe, a powerful moment of birth, and more.” Bagai then turns to Eigen’s declaration that “the fundamental reality is ‘infinity.”  Bagai adds that emotional storms can contain “a mystical force…something ineffable.” There is more. Bagai says that for Eigen that “until we more fully…work with our violent mind” then “a peaceful mind is not possible.” Violence, mysticism, catastrophe, and creativity are integral to the powerful emotional storms that are part of the confounding human birthright. In addition, as Bagai informs us, “we lack tolerance for our insides.”

Our condition, Bagai writes, is that “we are spirit beings and material beings simultaneously.” To Eigen, the life force within us can be renewed after experiencing despair and trauma. Bagai tells us that Dr. Eigen himself “went through his own life traumas,” which helped him become a “depth psychology poet” who can “touch us where we live.” It is this knowledge of the internal struggles that leads Eigen to write that “we hallucinate a woundless state around a wounded core.” Bagai writes that there can be “suffering that is redemptive and suffering that crushes life.”

To Eigen, an element within the phenomena of emotional storms is somatic storms, which refers to the physical body. Bagai tells us that for Eigen, the emotional and physical body go together. A somatic function is dreaming. To Eigen, dreaming is a way humans process emotional experience, and to have emotional experiences not available while awake. This is valuable to our psyche.

Bagai switches gears to discuss something problematic in human existence: “we are partly killers…a destructive and explosive life form that does great damage.” This includes war and damage to the environment and includes an “inherent psychological dangerousness” involving “aggression and competition.” These traits can lead to “explosive ecstasies of destruction.” This is part of “our killer psyche.” Bagai quotes Eigen: “Our ability to injure ourselves and others never ends.” Eigen asks if “evolution … taking us … to oppose our need to murder… to embrace struggling to do better?”

Bagai writes that in dreams, characters can be “disguised as killers, rapists, invaders, kidnappers, shadowy figures… And yet somehow…we find a way to survive and even dream ourselves continually into being.” There can be a “rhythm of being murdered and then being alright again.”

Another gear shift; this time to what Eigen calls binding. The example Eigen gives is the Biblical bindings of Abraham with God and between Abraham and his young son, Isaac. The well-known drama revolves around God’s command to Abraham to murder his son as a sacrifice to the Lord he adores.  Two of Abraham’s most sacred bonds are being tested by God. Of course, as Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, the Lord stops the killing. Abraham does not need to lethally prove his loyalty to God by murdering his male child and heir. The Lord tested Abraham and he came through the test.

Bagai himself asks how we can know if “the voice that commands us to do anything is not a godless voice, a psychotic voice, a devil’s voice. Especially a command to kill a child?” Bagai then says that what God asks is “a psychotic command.” Bagai then comments that “binding can refer to psychotic demands to kill others as well as an ethical duty to love and care for others.” Eigen is then quoted. The murderous “impulse is a constant… Infanticide, matricide, patricide, fratricide… turns the flashlight on destructive desires… We do not appear to tire of murder… There is often some kind of bond with the other that one tries to kill.” To Eigen, there is “a sore spot in human nature that needs every ounce of strength we can muster the perennial challenge to oppose oneself. A kind of self-strengthening and growth through self-opposition.”

From self-opposition Bagai turns to what he calls “one of the biggest emotional storms through the ages. It goes by the name of guilt.” Bagai says guilt is mixed up with life, suffering, inner struggles, and conscience. “Guilt is an emotional storm that permeates our lives even as we try to evade it.”  Bagai once again quotes Eigen. “More broadly, guilt is suffered over failure to do others or self justice, to do life justice. It connects with the ability to enrich, deplete, or damage the life of others or oneself.” Eigen later adds, “Living engenders guilt as a caring about the life one lives and the lives of others.” And still more from Eigen. “It is our self-giving, our waiting on the other that counts.” This is another way we are bound up with others.

Certainly, one of the primary bonds in human existence concerns the nurturing of newborns by adults.  In the last of his book’s commentaries, Bagai reports: “Taking care of infants requires…putting the other first.”  Dr. Bagai then speaks about his own parenting and other connected experiences.  Gazing at “the face of a baby,” he writes, “is one of my favorite moments. Baby’s faces are magnetic.” It “can open a sense of infinity, an openness that contains fresh aliveness, perhaps even divinity.”

Robin Bagai then recalls years ago visiting New York “to hang out with Eigen…in his office and sometimes in his home neighborhood.” During this trip, while riding on New York subways he found a “new impact from faces that I had never experienced before. Unexpectedly, all the faces became amazing.” Bagai had a peak experience. Another source of inspiration for Bagai is the 20th century philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, who was originally from what is now Lithuania, but in the early thirties settled in France.  Levinas sought to put ethics before being and propose an ethics in Bagai’s words based on the “humanity of humans… for Levinas, our responsibility to one another comes before existence and is inescapable.” It is here that the theme of bonding and binding with others that pervades Levina, Eigen, and this book of Robin Bagai.

The Levinas quote is from the next to last paragraph in the actual text of Dr. Bagai’s volume. In his concluding paragraph, Bagai writes that “what I have tried to do” is “stay open to new thoughts, feelings, and ideas together and allow them to grow inside us… It’s been a pleasure to be with you on this journey.” Again, the centrality of being connected with others is given recognition.

Being open to ideas together is a value shared by Bagai and Eigen, among others. In his foreword to this book, Eigen himself notes how Robin Bagai “amplifies aspects of my work but adds his own creative explorations to themes that matter and are needed.” This combination of reporting on Eigen’s creativity with Bagai’s well-considered reflections on the storms and bonding of being human makes reading this work a richly rewarding journey.


by Jeffrey Rubin

“At times [Shakespeare] would leave a confession hidden away in some corner of his work, certain that it would not be deciphered; Richard affirms that in his person he plays the part of many and Iago claims with curious words ‘I am not what I am.’” — Jorge Luis Borges, “Everything and Nothing”

“If [Shakespeare’s] biography is to be found, it has to be here, in the plays and poems, but never literally and never provably.” — Barbara Everett, Times Literary Supplement, 17, August 2006


Shakespeare captivates — and eludes — us. We are fascinated by his work and at pains to understand who he was. Given the absence of diaries, personal correspondence, or manifestos about his artistic process or opus, it is unsurprising that a dominant strain in recent criticism is skepticism about our ability to understand his personality or forge links between him and his work.

Jung, like Nietzsche, knew that one’s creative work is a “subjective confession.” Even though there is a dearth of overt biographical information about Shakespeare, there is something that the vast number of critics ignore — or neglect the implications of — the haunting personal testament encoded in the plays.

When we consider Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a whole and bring together disparate and seemingly unrelated elements that are normally kept apart — from absent and devouring mothers and evil usurpers to stolen and mistaken identities and inauthentic selves — a new and startling picture occurs of a vexed genius whose creations were both an incalculable gift and a breathtaking attempt to solve a personal and disturbing mystery: what happened to me?

The bard’s work is, in a quintessentially Jungian way, both an unparalleled elucidation of human life and a poignant story about his creative attempts to symbolize what afflicted him and unconsciously strive to heal himself. My hope is that after this wide-ranging sojourn over Shakespeare’s plays and a recontextualization of his life and work and a more intimate encounter with him, we will not only engage his work with renewed vitality but be personally transformed and enriched.

Shakespeare has fascinated me since I first read him in high school in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, a time of massive cultural ferment, uncertainty, and unrest in the United States. I, like Hamlet, was disturbed by and alienated from a turbulent world with skewed values, disregard for the less fortunate, and uninspiring (and sometimes flagrantly immoral) leadership. I was also hungry for more sustaining ideals, which I found neither in the culture at large nor at home. Discovering Shakespeare’s plays in high school was a sanctuary from a world-gone-mad. David Kastan, a master of close reading and a brilliant teacher — now one of the world’s leading authorities on Shakespeare — guided my classmates and I into the wondrous, sometimes confusing, and often exhilarating worlds Shakespeare fashioned.

My initial encounter with Shakespeare began a more than five decades long relationship and conversation that has transformed me. I found in his words — and the dramatic worlds he fashioned —inspiring beauty, stunning psychological insights, and nourishing wisdom.

Shakespeare had an uncanny capacity to shine a bright and unexpected light on what was true that I didn’t see, and I needed to know: “Our doubts are traitors,/And makes us lose the good we oft might win,/By fearing to attempt” (Measure for Measure, 1.4.77-79); “In time we hate that which we often fear” (Anthony and Cleopatra, 1.3.13); “We know what we are, but know not/ what we may be” (Hamlet, 4.5.42).

Shakespeare also didn’t shy away from the hard truths about life: the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Hamlet, 3.1.57); the pervasiveness of wickedness (Macbeth); and the suffering we must undergo to, as Gloucester put it in King Lear, “see…feelingly” and experience greater wisdom (King Lear, 4.4.147). 

The bard’s plays offered the gift of new questions, as well as inconvenient truths: What may “become a man” (Macbeth, 1.7.46)? How do you bring good out of evil in a malignant world (Hamlet & The Tempest)? What does it take to endure the unendurable (King Lear)?

Dwelling with the guilty and the guileless, the self-deluded and the self-knowing, lunatics and lovers, enlarged my sense of human folly and possibility and provided unexpected solace. I took heart from Shakespeare’s depiction of characters who were genuinely human and humane in a corrupt universe. When you live in a world in which appearance and lies masquerade as truth, it was comforting to enter the universes of Shakespeare’s plays in which duplicity is pervasive and unmasked. I felt less alone engaging a world that perplexed me. What I didn’t expect was that the journey to understand him revealed me, which helped me further comprehend and appreciate him. And then the plays came alive in a startlingly new way — astonishing x-rays of himself as well as the world.

Shakespeare captivates—and eludes us. Famous and hidden, we are fascinated by his work and at pains to understand who he was. Given the absence of diaries, personal correspondence, or manifestos about his artistic process or work, it is unsurprising that a dominant strain in recent criticism is skepticism about our ability to understand Shakespeare’s personality or forge links between him and his work.

At first, this story — Shakespeare is essentially unknowable, and his personality is irrelevant to understanding the meaning of his work — sounds very compelling. It seems true that virtually nothing is known about his life, and there is a dearth of overt biographical information about him. Unlike his contemporary Ben Jonson, for example, what we know about Shakespeare comes from court and registrar records, wills, marriage certificates and his tombstone — not artistic credos, letters, or essays about his art or life.

Over the centuries Shakespeare has suffered from being what the critic Michael Wood calls “abundantly guessed at” — who his mistress was, why he left his wife his second-best bed, and that he was either Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford. Perhaps as a reactionary counterbalance, more recent scholarship “made a reasonable peace with what it didn’t know,” adds Wood. But I wonder if this peace—and the skepticism about knowing Shakespeare — has gone too far in the opposite direction and has a secret cost: it deprives us of learning more about the man and handicaps our ability to understand a generative personal context for his work.

I have spent the last four decades working as a psychoanalyst delving into the lives of a wide range of people — from prescient schizophrenics to visionary Zen masters. There is always a powerful connection between their personalities and their conduct — including the work they do and what they create. My patients — even the most overtly troubled ones — have also repeatedly shown me that their words and actions make sense once I understand the hidden emotional logic animating their lives, including what they secretly grapple with and strive for, and their unacknowledged potentials and the stubborn forces that sabotage them.

In Dante’s Divine Comedy the Roman poet Virgil accompanies Dante to the underworld. No one wants to be Virgil anymore—to “go into hell with Dante.” But the willingness to explore with patience and empathy the actual experience of what people undergo — no matter how horrific — which is conveyed through what they say, symbolize, and avoid, is indispensable in healing the emotional afflictions that haunt human beings. And we shouldn’t be surprised that recipients of such understanding will be capable of both remarkable resilience and extraordinary healing.

I had the intuition as I read critics who were skeptical about knowing Shakespeare, that we could do better than render him essentially unknowable. “Though we know very little about Shakespeare’s life,” notes Stanley Wells (1995), “it would be closer to the truth to say that we know quite a lot, but that what we know includes very little of what we should most like to know” (p. 4). “Much virtue in ‘if,’” Touchstone famously declares in As You Like It (5.4.101-102). What if we know more and can do better? What if we have missed something vital about the life and work of Shakespeare, arguably the greatest writer who ever lived? What if we have not heard something crucial that he tried to communicate to us? What if his works are a haunting personal testament, as well as a remarkable elucidation of the human condition?

When we consider Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a whole, and bring together disparate and seemingly unrelated elements that are normally kept apart — from absent and devouring mothers and evil usurpers, to stolen and mistaken identities and inauthentic selves, to murdered kings and ghosts and fools — I believe a new and startling picture occurs of a vexed genius whose creations were both an incalculable gift and a breathtaking attempt to solve a personal and disturbing mystery: what happened to me? Shakespeare’s Inexhaustible Treasures (a book about Shakespeare and his work that I am working on) attempts to demonstrate that the bard’s work, like all great art, operates on various levels at once and is both an unparalleled elucidation of human life and a poignant story about his creative attempts to symbolize what afflicted him and unconsciously strive to heal himself.

Shakespeare’s Inexhaustible Treasures is divided into two sections. The Introduction gives an overview of the perspective animating the whole book. The first three chapters explore crucial themes in Coriolanus, Richard III and Hamlet that aid biographical reflection about Shakespeare. Each chapter provides a different angle of vision on Shakespeare’s life and work—and the inextricable connection between them—from Coriolanus’ ultimately deadly fight to free himself from servitude to his mother; to Shakespeare’s symptomatically inaccurate portrayal of Richard III, a decent man and a loyal leader, into a monstrous creature of evil who is emotionally undermined and imprisoned by his mother’s hatred of him; to Hamlet — and Shakespeare’s — crisis of identity.

The second section of the book engages in close readings of Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest and explores themes of manhood, the nature of evil, love and self-deception, healing moral blindness, empathy and moral imagination, justice and mercy, intimations of self-healing in the tragedies, and relational healing.

My hope is that after this wide-ranging sojourn over Shakespeare’s plays and a recontextualization of his life and work and a more intimate encounter with him, we will not only engage his work with renewed vitality but be personally transformed and enriched.


Jeffrey B. Rubin, PhD, practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy in New York City and North Salem, NY. He teaches at The Object Relations Institute of NY, The American Institute of Psychoanalysis, and the C. G. Jung Institute of NY. The author of six books (A Psychoanalysis for Our TimeThe Good Life: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Love, Ethics, Creativity, and Spirituality; Psychotherapy and Buddhism: Toward and IntegrationThe Art of Flourishing: A Guide to Mindfulness, Self-care and Love in a Chaotic WorldMeditative Psychotherapy: A Marriage of East and West, and Practicing Meditative Psychotherapy), he is most interested in a pluralistic psychoanalysis that respects the genuine insights and practices from each analytic tradition and draws on the best that has been thought and said from all psychoanalytic schools as well as history, art, literature, anthropology and anything that illuminates the human condition.


On September 30, 2023 (10:30am – 1pm EDT), the Psychohistory Forum will host a work-in-progress meeting with Dr. Rubin discussing his engagement with Shakespeare and his plays, based on psychoanalytic insights about empathy and unconscious symbolization, communication, and motivation, and dreaming and our capacity for creativity and self-healing. If you are interested to attend the meeting – find more information (and to RSVP) – visit



by Inna Rozentsvit

There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists. (E. Gombrich)

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. (Anais Nin)

It is the power of expectation rather than the power of conceptual knowledge that molds what we see in life no less than in art. (E. Kandel)

On September 3, 2023, the Object Relations Institute hosted a virtual Neuropsychoanalytic grand-round event on the “beholder’s share” phenomenon.

The “beholder’s share” (originally “beholder’s involvement”) concept was developed by art historian Alois Riegl, and his great disciples Ernst Gombrich and Ernst Kris. They described the workings of the mind of the viewer (the beholder), including the viewer’s mind engaging in decoding visual information, determining its meaning, and understanding and interpreting it. This interpretation depends on one’s prior life experiences, emotional memories, and idiosyncrasies.

This presentation was based on the work of the Nobel laureate, neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel, who tried to tackle the issue of the beholder’s share – from the scientist’s and the art lover’s points of view – in his books, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain and Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging Two Cultures. Kandel’s books are not just a psycho-historical endeavor; and they are not textbooks, where all the theories are provided and are proven; and they are not memoirs. These books stimulate your mind to connect the dots and find your own answers.

Kandel, who had to make a choice once – between psychoanalysis and hard-core neuroscience – made his choice in favor of science, and now, he shares with us the production of his cross-pollinated mind, his beholder’s share. “… A painting is not complete until the viewer responds to it…,” says Kandel. In his interview with BigThink after The Age of Insight book was published, he admitted that we don’t know what exactly the “beholder’s share” is. Then, he proceeded to say that our knowledge of brain pathology (or brain conditions), traumatic or not, provides us with an “outline” of what the beholder’s share possibly is, and what kind of processes are involved in it.

In this presentation, we connected the Beholder’s Share phenomenon with Neuroscience many concepts: Paul Maclean’s Triune Brain theorySebastian Seung’s Connectomes (the “brain’s wiring that makes us who we are”), Konstantin Anokhin’s Cognitomes (the mind-brain dyad’s three-dimensional hyper-neuronetworks), and Eric Kandel’s Reductionism approach.

We also will connect the beholder’s share phenomenon with artistic representation of the world around us, and how this representation differs in different minds. As an example, below are the compilations of paintings of three great artists, who lived and created in the same cultural environment of pre-WWII Vienna, but who “saw” the world differently. [Read a short essay on this topic, “Neurobiology of the Beholder’s Share and the Mystery of the Ordinary” here: https://innarozentsvit.com/neurobiology-of-the-beholders-share-and-the-mystery-of-the-ordinary/]

We discussed the beholder’s share of Michelangelo, the artist, and the anatomist; of Rene Magritte, a master of the “mystery of the ordinary,” and Eric Kandel himself, a “basic” neuroscientist who cares to integrate the perceptions of art and the knowledge of human brain in one beautifully put and complicated in its simplicity brain-mind dyad system.

In his other book, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, Kandel explains how, in the postwar era, Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Louis, Turrell, and Flavin used a reductionist approach to arrive at their abstract expressionism; and how Katz, Warhol, Close, and Sandback built upon the advances of the New York School to reimagine figurative and minimal art. [See the image below.] Each of their beholder’s shares were different from the ones of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele.

This event was specially created for anyone who is interested in understanding our role in creating the world around us – through the relationship of our brain-mind system, our relationships, experiences, and culture.

For more information and to request a recording of this event, visit

by Inna Rozentsvit

RELIGION, FREUD, AND WOMEN was the title of the virtual seminar hosted by the IPhA’s Faith, Psychology and Social Justice Working Group, on September 9th, 2023 (https://mindmendmedia.com/religion-freud-and-women/), which originally was a follow-up event for another conference hosted by the IPhA’s Faith, Psychology and Social Justice Working Group, entitled “Religion and Death a Century Later: Standing on the Shoulders of Freud and Jung” (watch the recording of the event, without general discussion, here: https://youtu.be/nAfpz6Rq34E). Both events were sponsored by the Psychohistory Forum and the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

Discussion this time was about Dr. Jeffrey Rubin’s article with the same title, published in interdisciplinary journal Gender and Psychoanalysis. [The article is available for download here: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/2w9a6koc2pz0jmcaunapo/J.-Rubin-1999-Religion-Freud-and-Women.pdf?rlkey=3b09rbllk52nmjgufhpuojycr&dl=0.]

Abstract: Religion enjoys a problematic standing in psychoanalysis. Since its inception, psychoanalysis has traditionally pathologized and marginalized religion. The standard story is that Freud, the exemplar of Enlightenment rationalism, critiqued the childish illusions underlying religious belief and revealed its seamy underside. While religion has had a Janus-faced history — fostering morality and fueling oppression; promoting civic concern and legitimating fundamentalism — it is more complex than Freud’s account of its origins in childhood fears and compensations would suggest.

“Religion, Freud, and Women” by Jeffrey Rubin examines a hidden source of Freud’s rejection of religion, namely, his problematic relationship with his mother. In this essay, Jeffrey Rubin draws on revisionist psychobiographical material about Freud’s relationship with his mother to demonstrate that he unconsciously linked religion and the maternal. His fears of the latter led to his rejection of the former. If it is unanalytic to fail to explore the hidden meanings and functions of religious experience, it is anti-analytic to take anything on faith including atheism. In rejecting religion and disavowing spirit, perhaps psychoanalysis has rejected a good deal more than superstition.

A psychoanalysis that worked through its countertransference about religion would open the door to a contemplative psychoanalysis, which would open a potential space for a more meaningful spirituality.

This seminar included Jeffrey Rubin’s presentation, as well as short presentations of the respondents: Theresa Aiello, Gabriela Gusita, Trevor Pederson, and Charlotte Schwartz. These are the abstracts of their responses:

Theresa Aiello: My response to Dr Rubin’s excellent paper includes my own thoughts, as related to women and psychoanalysis. Some interesting content on Freud and Italy is added too, because of some intriguing remarks Freud made about his travels there, and about women, and beauty experienced in Rome. The focus is on Fairbairn’s concept of the “bad exciting object” and related material, in application to his projections and splitting over women as idealized, eroticized, or demonized.

Gabriella Gusita: Whoever writes about Religion and Freud gets a piece of eternity, or I should say, present history, and this is the case of Jeffrey Rubin’s article which after 24 years since its publication seems so interesting and contemporary as if it was written yesterday. The author presents his very rich and meaningful version of psychoanalytic perspective on religion by placing on the center of his study the hypothesis that Freud’s “problematic relationship with his mother” may be the cause Freud critiqued religion in his writings by pathologizing it and depriving it of an essential purpose, thus revolutionary introducing the idea of an unconscious linkage between “religion and the maternal.” I found the article of Jeffrey Rubin inspiring and thought provoking, and as a woman, relational psychoanalyst, and believer, I found myself thinking together with the author about the extent to which the relationship between religion and psychoanalysis can be mediated by the maternal. or the woman as that meeting point of where science and feelings can be harmonized. I applaud the desire of the author to fight for “opening a potential space for more meaningful spirituality” and I think humanity today needs improved and more flexible versions of both religion and psychoanalysis, as much as we need to give women the place they are entitled to and put an end to this belittling and diminishing of her vulnerable nature.

Trevor Pederson: Rubin gives an excellent presentation of Freud’s problematic account of the psychology of women and its likely ties to his own mother and psychology. However, his attempt to leverage this problem to psychologize Freud’s dismissal of religion is highly speculative and unclear. First, I will argue that Rubin’s position equivocates two different types of illusion and that his argument would be stronger if he took up Freud’s dismissal of religion as transference from his “weak and decrepit” father. Second, I will argue that science is not a belief system as other ideologies are, but a social practice that puts limits on what counts as knowledge. Religion and art do not provide a rival way of thinking to the scientific approach but are the expression of unconscious phantasy (often symbolized) and are more akin to an experience than thinking.

Charlotte Schwartz: Dr. Rubin has presented an erudite and interesting paper on Freud, Religion and Women. Unfortunately, I am unable to agree with his basic premise that Freud’s dismissal of religion and supposedly very negative attitudes regarding religious beliefs are due to his unconscious and unresolved ambivalence to his mother Amelia. Firstly, to psychoanalyze Freud based on his theoretical constructs is a dangerous use of Psychoanalysis. Secondly, Dr. Rubin, overlooks Freud’s statements that Religion arose as a protective, emotional defense against “the crushingly superior force of nature,” and that “religious ideas have arisen from the same need as have all the other achievements of civilization.” Freud indicated that “Religion has clearly contributed much toward the taming of the asocial instincts.” It is difficult to read into these statements angry and projected affects derived from unconscious feelings derived from his relationship to his mother. That Freud speaks of religion as a cry for childhood comforts and protection has roots in the history of mankind’s early development and religious constructs.

There was plenty of time for general discussion, which was structured within each hour of the seminar. For more information, visit

by Inna Rozentsvit

In academia’s halls, where wisdom’s seeds are sown,
Antisemitism hides, in shadows, all but known,
Beneath the masks of anti-Zionism’s claim,
And anti-colonialism’s cloak, it plays a dangerous game.

Behind the guise of political debate and discourse,
It thrives, unseen, with a venomous force,
Yet we must unveil this prejudice’s art,
And pledge to banish it from academia’s heart.

For antisemitism wears many a disguise,
|In the name of ideologies, it often lies,
But let us not be fooled by rhetoric’s veneer,
We’ll recognize the hate, dispelling every fear.

In academic pursuit, let fairness be our creed,
With knowledge and empathy, we’ll succeed,
Against the bigotry that seeks to divide,
In the realm of learning, let tolerance reside.

Together, we’ll confront this ancient stain,
Through understanding and unity, we’ll break the chain,
Antisemitism in all its forms, we’ll shatter,
In the light of truth, it shall no longer matter.

So let us unveil the shadows that persist,
In academia’s embrace, let respect subsist,
Antisemitism, no more to hide or thrive,
In the world of learning, let knowledge revive.


Psychoanalytical and Psychobiographical Explorations
of Shakespeare as Revealed in His Plays
with Dr. Jeffrey Rubin
September 30, 2023, 10:30am – 1pm EDT

Shakespeare captivates — and eludes — us. We are fascinated by his work and at pains to understand who he was. Given the absence of diaries, personal correspondence, or manifestos about his artistic process or opus, it is unsurprising that a dominant strain in recent criticism is skepticism about our ability to understand his personality or forge links between him and his work.

Jung, like Nietzsche, knew that one’s creative work is a “subjective confession.” Even though there is a dearth of overt biographical information about Shakespeare, there is something that the vast number of critics ignore — or neglect the implications of — the haunting personal testament encoded in the plays.

Dr. Rubin will draw on evocative moments in Coriolanus and Richard IIIHamlet and King LearTitus Andronicus and Julius CaesarMeasure for Measure and The Tempest based on psychoanalytic insights about empathy and unconscious symbolization, communication, and motivation, and dreaming and our capacity for creativity and self-healing.

When we consider Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a whole and bring together disparate and seemingly unrelated elements that are normally kept apart — from absent and devouring mothers and evil usurpers to stolen and mistaken identities and inauthentic selves — a new and startling picture occurs of a vexed genius whose creations were both an incalculable gift and a breathtaking attempt to solve a personal and disturbing mystery: what happened to me?

The bard’s work is, in a quintessentially Jungian way, both an unparalleled elucidation of human life and a poignant story about his creative attempts to symbolize what afflicted him and unconsciously strive to heal himself. My hope is that after this wide-ranging sojourn over Shakespeare’s plays and a recontextualization of his life and work and a more intimate encounter with him, we will not only engage his work with renewed vitality but be personally transformed and enriched.

For more information, and to RSVP, visit

OCTOBER 1, 2023 (10 am – 4:30 pm EDT/NYC)

This workshop will address fundamental themes of a subject that pertains to the inhibition of success, and forward psychological movement in many people.

The morning will offer lecture, plus questions, and discussion.

The afternoon will offer an experiential process, in which a guided meditative visualization will allow workshop participants to share their individual unique experience of the themes in the workshop with other group members, creating an atmosphere of bonding and meaningful psychological communication.

For more information and to register, visit

Call for Papers: Psychobiography
(due October 1, 2023)

For this Winter 2024 Special Feature of Clio’s Psyche, we welcome your submissions with psychoanalytic, psychological, and psychohistorical insights, on PSYCHOBIOGRAPHY, including the following subjects:

  • The autobiographies of psychobiographers (eventually to be included in an edited book along with psychobiographies they have written).
  • Focus comparatively on the coping mechanisms of people in psychobiography.
  • Psychobiographical studies that illustrate transgenerational transmission of trauma and resilience.
  • Presenting a case study of an academic psychologist going beyond personal. characteristics and traits to emphasize the childhood and life passage of the whole person.
  • A psychobiographical study of a major academic psychologist relating theory to her/his life.
  • Presenting a case study of an academic psychoanalyst focusing much less on theory. after undergoing psychoanalytic training and delving into the childhood and inner life in a different manner.
  • Teaching psychobiography.
  • A comparative study of the approaches and methodologies of psychobiographers from a variety of fields.
  • A comparative psychobiography of ordinary people in crisis such as what is happening in Ukraine.
  • The role of gender: A comparative study of the psychobiographies written by women and men.
  • An in-depth study of psychobiographies of the 20thcentury including early Freudian ones.
  • Book reviews on psychobiographical monographs.
  • Reviews of psychobiographical books and major media biographies.

For more information about this Call for Papers, please follow the link here:

Call for Papers – The Relationship of Poetry and Psychoanalysis/Psychohistory
(due October 1, 2023)

We invite papers from poets, scholars, therapists, and our readers who enjoy thinking about or writing poetry to join in moving from unconscious to conscious expression, including on the following subjects:

  • What does the poetry you write or read mean to you?
  • Why not write a poem on how psychoanalysis impacted your life?
  • What is the therapeutic value of poetry?
  • Why is the poetry of death, dying, and loss so helpful in the grieving process?
  • Why did Freud recognize that the poets, as well as the philosophers before him, discovered the unconscious?
  • How do trauma and poetic expression intersect?
  • What is the relationship between poetry and politics and social activism?
  • What poem has meant the most to you and why?
  • Why not write a psychobiographical account of one of your favorite poets?
  • How does poetry help people to confront their deepest unconscious desires?
  • How do people connect through poetry?
  • How can applied psychohistorical poetry contribute to scholarship without being “academic”?
  • How does poetry make sense of repressed emotions, rendering the inchoate coherent?
  • Why not compare the poetry of fear, love, hatred, patriotism, and war?
  • Why is poetry so meaningful in the Russian tradition?
  • Why is poetry so relatively insignificant in the American tradition?

We seek articles from 1,500-2,500 words—including your title, author name with affiliation, a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and your brief biography (3-4 sentences) ending in your email address.  Send documents in Microsoft Word (*docx or doc) format by October 1, 2023. We would welcome a symposium article of up to 3,500 words on the subject, but it must be submitted by October 1 to be peer reviewed and to have colleagues write commentaries (of up to 1,200 words) of it.  We urge you to share this Call for Papers with colleagues and lists.

For more information, please check the full Call for Papers at the following webpage:


Call for Papers – The Psychoanalysis and Psychohistory of Antisemitism
(due January 1, 2024)

We welcome your submissions, especially personalized ones with psychoanalytic, psychological, and psychohistorical insights on the hatred of Jews in the contemporary and historical worlds, including on the following subjects:

  • Definitions of anti-Semitism.
  • Is anti-Semitism a useful term, although Jew-hatred is more accurate?
  • Envy and resentment of Jews, sometimes leading to paranoia.
  • Historical Jew-hating in polytheistic Egypt, Persia, and Rome.
  • Emerging rampant anti-Semitism during the Crusades.
  • Christian and Islamic anti-Semitism throughout history.
  • Castration anxiety related to the Jewish covenant involving circumcision of the foreskin.
  • Sibling rivalry of Christians and Muslims who see Judaism as the Oldest Abrahamic religion.
  • Disagreement with Israeli governmental policies as a cloak for anti-Semitism?
  • Why is the hatred of Jews such an enduring feature of Western and Islamic history?
  • A double standard for Jews: Is the “Jew as victim” challenged by Israeli toughness?
  • Jewish self-hared: Anti-Semitism among Jews—Marx and many others.
  • What are the parallels between Jews in the U.S. and in pre-expulsion Spain and Germany?
  • Pioneers of capitalism and modernity: Are Jews hated as the yeast of modern civilization?
  • What is the relationship of Judaism and psychoanalysis?
  • Why did Stalin, a not-so-secret anti-Semite, call Jew-hatred a form of cannibalism?
  • How does Left-wing and communist anti-Semitism differ from Right-wing Jew hatred?
  • The literature of anti-Semitism.

We seek articles from 1,500-2,500 words—including your title, author name with affiliation, a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and your brief biography (3-4 sentences) ending in your email address. Send documents in Microsoft Word (*docx or doc) format by October 1, 2023. We urge you to share this Call for Papers with colleagues and lists. A high-quality article of up to 3500 words received by July 1, 2023 may be accepted as a symposium piece and distributed for commentaries.

For more information, please visit:

Call for Papers – Psychological Explorations of Election 2024:
Psychobiography, Emotions, Age, Political Illusions, and Electoral Realities

(due January 1, 2024)

At the moment (May 2023), the 2024 presidential nominating contests look like a repeat of 2020 with significant elements making both the Democratic and Republican parties unenthusiastic about their likely candidate.  Biden’s age and low public opinion ratings and Trump’s age, denial he lost in 2020, support for the January 6, 2022 insurrection, and legal troubles are major issues behind these feelings.  While DeSantis, Haley, Scott, and others jockey for support, it is unclear if any can get nominated in the face of Trump’s animosity and the loyalty of his supporters.  We would like to invite you and other colleagues to probe the political psychology, psychohistory, and psychobiography of the subject for the Winter 2024 issue of Clio’s Psyche: Understanding the “Why” of Culture, Current Events, History, and Society.

We welcome different types of submissions, especially case studies, with psychoanalytic/ psychohistorical/psychological insights on a variety of aspects of the election such as:

  • Psychobiographical explorations of Biden, DeSantis, Haley, Scott, et al., and Trump
  • Intense feelings of hatred toward Biden, Trump, et al.
  • Detailed psychobiographical and psychopolitical comparisons of Biden and Trump
  • Comparing Biden and Trump’s accomplishments, goals, and leadership
  • Case studies of how voters are torn between idealization and denigration
  • Ideological purity versus the desire to win: Identification with the winner
  • The process of identification with a candidate and switching to a surviving candidate
  • The relationship between the leader and the led in the 2024 election
  • At what point do disappointments, dreams, and illusions give way to political realities
  • Spouses and children of the candidates
  • Perils of verbal (and non-verbal) slips along the campaign trail and in debates
  • Cycles in American politics and their influence on the 2024 election
  • Comparing the foreign policy of Biden and Trump
  • American electoral fantasies and the world’s realities
  • The mood of the voters: from the very energized to the stay-at-home non-voters
  • The psychology of independent voters and the possibility of a strong third party candidate
  • Psychobiographical insights from candidates’ autobiographies, books, and speeches

We seek articles from 1,500-2,500 words—including your title, author name with affiliation, a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and your brief biography (3-4 sentences) ending in your email address.  Send documents in Microsoft Word (*docx or doc) format by January 1, 2024. We would welcome a symposium article of up to 3,500 words on the subject, but it must be submitted by January 1 to be peer reviewed and to have colleagues write commentaries (of up to 1,200 words) of it.  We urge you to share this Call for Papers with colleagues and lists.

For more information, please check the full Call for Papers at the following webpage:


Virtual Seminar
with Dr. David P. Celani
Date: October 8, 2023  (10:00am – 3:30pm EDT)

This seminar will examine the critical importance of childhood trauma related to the catastrophic consequences to the child of failures of the mother-child attachment process and the early maternal empathic failures.

We will investigate the parental failures that led Anders Breivik to become one of the most horrific murderers in recent history, as in 2011, he killed 77 of his countrymen in Norway.

The model that will be used to understand Breivik’s psychological development is Ronald Fairbairn’s Object Relations theory. Fairbairn developed a model of psychological development based on the earlier work of Ian Suttie, a fellow Scottish psychiatrist, who published a short text “The Origins of Love and Hate” in 1935. Fairbairn elaborated on Suttie’s fundamental premises that included the observation that the infant was unconditionally dependent on the mother from the outset and that the mother’s lack of empathy culminated the infant’s anger and frustration, which was designed to call attention to and alter the mother’s response to the child’s unmet need. He also described the infant’s need to keep the mother untainted by memories of her failures via the fantasy of a good mother. Fairbairn took these ideas and elaborated on them and published a series of papers spanning the years 1940-1958.

For more information and to register, visit

10-week Virtual Psychoanalytic Training Course
with Jerome Blackman, M.D. FIPA
Thursdays, October 12th – December 21st, 2023
(8:40pm – 9:55pm EST/EDT)

This course is designed to illustrate the practical use of multiple analytic theories that explain both normal and disturbed child development and its effect on later symptomatology, object relations, and character formation. Each class will consist of a 45-minute lecture, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A, ample time to discuss your case vignettes with Dr. Blackman or ask questions regarding theory.

To accomplish a complete understanding of any child, Key Questions must be answered by caregivers about the current state of functioning of the child and the child’s relationship with important people in the home. Key Questions must also be answered regarding each prior developmental phase. Finally, the child must be seen in consultation, with or without parents present, depending on several factors – which will be elucidated.

Treatment selection will be discussed, as well as some correlation of different developmental and conflictual difficulties with later, adult, psychopathology.

The course is structured around a recent book, Blackman, J. & Dring, K. (2023).  Developmental Evaluation of Children and Adolescents: A Psychodynamic Guide (Routledge). Readings (in PDFs) will be supplied to all registered.

For more information and to register, visit

10-week Virtual Psychoanalytic Training Course
with Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA
Thursdays, October 12 – December 21, 2023 (8:40pm – 9:55pm)

This course introduces all candidates and students to the fundamental mental states that lie behind the subjective self development during the first three years of life, as well as during the mind’s reparation process in psychotherapeutic clinical treatment.

We enter this terrain through a poignant vision of Melanie Klein’s theory, highlighting her unique and universal psychic positions: the Paranoid-Schizoid Position and the Depressive Position. Thomas Ogden’s (1986) The Matrix of the Mind: Object Relations and the Psychoanalytic Dialogue will be used in this course as a roadmap. The latter part of the course will relate to readings in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s 2014 book The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: Transformative New Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory, related to these two primary British Object Relations theorists, enlarging the scope provided by Dr. Thomas Ogden. Dr. Kavaler-Adler will provide vivid clinical illustrations from his own practice.

For more information and to register, visit

Psychobiography Reading Group
of the Psychohistory Forum
5th Meeting: October 14th, 2023 (11:00am – 1pm EDT; room opens at 10:30 am)
Reading S. Freud’s Leonardo daVinci and a Memory of His Childhood

At our 5th meeting, we will discuss Freud’s (1916) Leonardo da Vinci: A Psychosexual Study of an Infantile Reminiscence (translated by A.A. Brill), also known as Leonardo da Vinci: A Memory of His Childhood (translated by A. Tyson).

This essay by S. Freud is a reconstruction of Leonardo’s emotional life from his earliest years, it represents Freud’s first sustained venture into biography from a psychoanalytic perspective, and also his effort to trace one route that homosexual development can take. (From the publisher’s book description)

For more information and to RSVP – visit https://psychohistoryforum.com/psychobiography-reading-group-of-the-psychohistory-forum-5th-meeting/


NOVEMBER 18, 2023 (Saturday), 12-3pm EDT/EST
Attendance is FREE, but RSVP is required

This conference is a celebration of Michael Eigen’s contributions to psychology and psychoanalysis over many decades. It will feature Dr. Eigen talking about his work in addition to introducing Drs. Loray Daws and Robin Bagai who will speak about their respective books honoring his work: Loray Daws’s Introduction to the Work of Michael Eigen (Routledge, 2023) and Robin Bagai’s Commentaries on the Work of Michael Eigen: Oblivion and Wisdom, Madness and Music (Routledge, 2023).

For more information and to RSVP, visit