by Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D.,
President, International Psychohistorical Association

You won’t want to miss the extraordinary line-up of submitted papers and eminent invited speakers scheduled for the International Psychohistorical Association’s 2022 annual conference. The presentations and discussions will occur in three virtual events, so mark your calendar for May 19-21, June 25-26, and October 8-9. The May event will be hosted on Zoom (which supports concurrent virtual rooms) and the others on GoToMeeting. Also, if public health conditions permit, IPA members will organize local “hubs” to view the conference in the physical company of colleagues. Also, on March 5-6, 2022, there will be a conference on transgenerational trauma and resilience co-sponsored by the IPA.
(For the March event, refer to the the conference webpage, https://events.orinyc.org/transgenerational-transmission-of-trauma-and-resilience-from-awareness-to-working-through/).

This year marks four and a half decades since the IPA’s first annual conference in 1978. On May 19, we will hear five invited speakers as well as a retrospective panel entitled, “We Were There: After 45 Years Founders Reflect on The Creation and Early History of the IPA: How Well Have We Lived Up to Our High Hopes?” The panel will feature Drs. Paul Elovitz, Peter Petschauer, David Beisel, and Howard Stein.  These psychohistory pioneers will also be presenting individual papers on other days of the conference, and their short bios and titles of their talks will appear in our preliminary conference program at https://psychohistory.us/conference-and-membership.php

The overarching theme of our conference this year is “Group Identity and the Sources of Conflict.”  Political, racial, religious, and other large group identities and belief systems are being challenged as never before in our era of globalization. Conflicts include white supremacism vs. multicultural solidarity; resurgent patriarchy vs. gender diversity and equality; authoritarianism vs. democracy; science denial (on pandemics and climate change) vs. science-informed policy and activism; and more.  Most (but not all) of the conference papers relate to the group identity and conflict theme.  Some of the questions we ask are:

  • How should we understand the psychodynamics of conflict in its many forms?
  • What are the sources of group identities in childhood experience and later socialization?
  • How can we handle conflict to facilitate individual and collective healing?

In this article, I will begin with our invited speakers, and then survey the rest of the conference.  Here are the short bios, presentation titles, and pictures of our eminent May 19 speakers:

Pramila Patten, LL.M. is a Mauritian-British barrister, women’s rights activist, and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. She currently serves as the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and served as a member and vice chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Secretary Patten holds a Diploma in Criminology from King’s College, Cambridge and a Master of Laws from University of London. She will be addressing the IPA on “Sexual Violence in Conflict: Local and Global Perspectives.”

Bandy Lee, M.D., M.Div. is a physician, forensic psychiatrist, and the author of Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures. She is currently President of the World Mental Health Coalition, which is dedicated to promoting public health and safety. Dr. Lee received her medical training at Yale University School of Medicine and her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. Her presentation is entitled, “Developing a Global Consciousness that Prevents Violence.”

Jerome S. Blackman, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry, Eastern Virginia Medical School; Training and Supervising Analyst for the Washington, D.C. Freudian Society; and (from 2018-2021) Distinguished Visiting Professor at Shanxi Medical University in Taiyuan, China.  He is the author of numerous books including, with Dr. Kathleen Dring, Sexual Aggression Against Children: Pedophiles’ and Abusers’ Development, Dynamics, Treatability, and the Law.  Dr. Blackman’s talk is entitled, “Minimization of Hostile-Destructive Aggression at Nodal Points in History.”

Pam Steiner, Ph.D. is the author of Collective Trauma and the Armenian Genocide: Armenian, Turkish, and Azerbaijani Relations since 1839.  She is a developmental psychologist and Senior Fellow with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Steiner co-founded the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center of International Affairs (1995-2003).  Her presentation is “What Will it Take to Process Collective Trauma Collectively? The Example of the Armenians, Turks, and Azerbaijanis.”

Michael Britton, Ed.D. is a psychologist, Vice President of the International Psychohistorical Association, Board Member of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network, and Senior Ambassador for Globalization for the Common Good Initiative. Dr. Britton has spoken internationally on psychology, neuroscience, and globalization, seen through the lenses of trauma work, primatology, neurobiology and political science, and on psychology and the environmental crisis. His paper is entitled, “Compassion for the Collective Human Journey that is This Century.”

After May 19, the conference will feature over thirty-five panels and individual presentations at virtual events on May 20 and 21, June 25 and 26, and October 5 and 6. The topics are remarkably diverse and difficult to classify, but to make this brief survey more manageable I have sorted the papers into five broad “baskets” — culture, gender and race, political psychology, clinical issues, and the climate crisis.  There are obviously no rigid boundaries between these categories, which are adopted only for convenience. The preliminary program with presenter names and presentation titles will appear online at: https://psychohistory.us/conference-and-membership.php

The first basket (culture) includes four papers on literary figures or topics—Charles Baudelaire, Virginia Woolf, the roots of European fascism and misogyny in Greco-Roman literature, and psychohistorical poetry. We have papers on autobiography and psychobiography; the 1947 film classic Nightmare Alley as a window into conspiracy thinking, cults and lies in American culture; and on film noir and jazz inspired by the 2021 book Genres of the Imagination. There is a panel on the nature of religion that will address the fundamentalist/humanist continuum and religion through the lens of evolutionary theory. Finally, we have two panels on “Movies, Rock and Roll, and Freud,” which will encompass the Vietnam War era film “Coming Home,” the 1988 film “Camille Claudel,” a psychoanalytic approach to science fiction in cinema, the music of Chuck Berry, and the continued relevance of Freud’s ideas in understanding contemporary culture.

Many of the papers in this conference address gender and race in one way or another, but four stand out — “The Gender Divide in Experiences of Covid 19;” a second entitled, “Angela Merkel and Graça Machel: Women Leaders’ Heroine Journeys;” one called, “Holding a Space for All Men in Times of Social Change;” and finally, “The Cultural, Historical, and Philosophical Roots of Racism and Group Identity.”

The third basket, political psychology, features a two-hour panel entitled “Implicated Subject and Historical Community Trauma: Towards Acceptance and Transcendence,” inspired by Michael Rothberg’s 2019 book The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators. Next, we have “Persecutory Anxiety and the Fear of Death as Emotional Qualities of the Cultural Revolution in China,” which builds upon a chapter in the 2021 edited volume, Emotions as Engines of History. There is a paper revisiting The Suicidal Embrace: Hitler, the Allies, and the Origins of the Second World War, a book that provides the most rigorous account of a group fantasy of any psychohistorical work that I know. Speaking of group fantasy, there is “Placenta: a metaphor for national conflicts in biopolitical times” and “Probing the Cartoons of Trump and Others from a Psychoanalytic Perspective.”  On Europe today, we have “Eric Zemmour, Trump’s French Twin?” and “Psychohistorical Perspective on Authoritarianism vs Democracy: Poland After 2015.”

Spanning political psychology and the next “basket”—clinical issues—we have two panels of presentations by graduate students from the NYU Silver School of Social Work, both organized by Prof. Denis O’Keefe.  The first of these, featuring presentations by MSW students, is entitled “Examining Emotional and Psychological Factors Contributing to Policy Paradox and Irrational Social Behavior.”  The second and longer panel—”Integrating Psycho-Social Theories of Discrimination and Oppression to Innovate Clinical Practice”—will present research by NYU Silver doctoral students.

Six other papers in the conference will address clinical issues, including: one on client suicide in the context of COVID-19; a second on group identity, music therapy and healing; and a third on therapist-client erotic dynamics. There is a presentation exploring the interpersonal etiology and intrapersonal dynamics of dissociation, and another on splitting in individuals, families and groups as a result of transgenerational legacies of trauma and guilt. Finally, there is a paper that brings a neuropsychoanalytic lens to the phenomena of epistemic distrust and conspiratorial thinking.

The last basket of papers pertains to climate change. One of these is a psychoanalytic exploration of climate denial and some cultural perversities of consumer capitalism.  Another, which brings the viewpoints of “Big History” and psychohistory to bear on the Sixth Extinction, generalizes Robert Jay Lifton’s work on species consciousness in the face of nuclear threat.  Finally, we have a “culture of care” panel, which brings us full circle from featured speaker Michael Britton’s paper on compassion and the kind of deep individual and collective healing that will be needed in the decades ahead.

One presentation in this panel, entitled “Eco-Anxiety, Political Anxiety, and the Consulting Room,” builds upon Sally Weintrobe’s 2021 book Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis: Neoliberal Exceptionalism and the Culture of Uncare. The second paper addresses social isolation and community in our era of COVID-19 and extreme political polarization, and explores prospects for building a culture of care.

On behalf of the whole IPA leadership team, I invite you to register for our 45th Annual Conference.  The first pre-conference virtual event is happening on March 5-6, and it will highlight the topics of transgenerational trauma and parent-child development, which will examine inter- and transgenerational communication patterns connected to past historical traumas. Featured topics include the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, psychological mechanisms and neurobiological vicissitudes of the intergenerational transmission of trauma, as well as therapeutic approaches to such trauma, and resilience. For more information and to attend, register here.  (Registration is free for the IPA members.).

Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D. is President of the International Psychohistorical Association and author of The Middle Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America (2012). Visit his website at https://bdagostino.com/


Larry Lockridge – Interviewed by Ken Fuchsman

*The photograph of Dr. Lockridge is taken from his website, www.LarryLockridge.com.
**The headshot of Mary Jane Ward was taken by an unknown photographer at Random House for the book jacket of the 1951 novel, A Little Night Music.

The Snake Pit is a 1946 novel by Mary Jane Ward that was made into an award-winning film in 1948. It recounts the experiences of Virginia Stuart Cunningham while she is institutionalized in a state mental hospital. The book has recently been reissued by The Library of America with an afterward by Larry Lockridge, Professor Emeritus of English, New York University. This work of fiction is a haunting read.

Mary Jane Ward is also a cousin of Larry Lockridge, who came to know her from his childhood days to her death in 1981. A Guggenheim Fellow, he has written on the British Romantics and on critical ethics in literary theory. He also wrote a prize-winning biography of his father, Ross Lockridge, Jr., author of the mammoth 1948 bestseller, Raintree County. Ross Lockridge took his own life at thirty-three, just as his novel topped the nation’s best-seller lists. Larry was five years old at the time. Now retired from college teaching, he has been publishing a series of short, satirical novels, The Enigma Quartet. www.LarryLockridge.com

Dr. Lockridge is interviewed by Ken Fuchsman.

Ken: What makes this 1946 novel relevant in 2022, and do you know why The Library of America reissued it?

Larry:  The Library of America reissued the novel, first published by Random House in 1946, because of its groundbreaking influence on the perception and treatment of mental illness throughout the United States and abroad. It was translated into sixteen languages, and its title became a familiar metaphor for institutional dysfunction. The Library of America also reconfirmed its intrinsic value as fiction. I’d guess that its having been out of print for three decades was owing to some covert institutional dysfunction at Random House, for its disappearance from their list remains a publishing conundrum. In an Amazon review of 2014, novelist Anne Rice asks, “I found this novel beautifully written and engrossing to the last word.  Why is it out of print? I hope it experiences rediscovery, and a revival… I’m in awe of the novel’s power.” Beyond its fame as a novel, The Snake Pit was made into a major Hollywood film, still rerun on late-night television.  Olivia de Havilland appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1948 for her performance as Virginia Cunningham. Novels often ride the coattails of Hollywood adaptations and stay in print, but not here. Happily, the novel was reissued on the 75th anniversary of its original publication. As Mary Jane Ward’s double second cousin once removed, executor of her literary estate, and a biographer of her cousin, I was asked to write an afterword.

The novel raised many issues in 1946 that torment us to this day. Foremost is diagnosis—as we all know, a work in progress. Though Mary Jane Ward was diagnosed as schizophrenic during each of her four hospitalizations, she doesn’t write a diagnosis of her heroine into the autobiographical novel, leaving it up to her readers, if they choose, to make a diagnosis for themselves.  This withholding helps insure the novel against being dated by in-favor diagnostic criteria. I’d like to think that my cousin’s novel has lasting relevance to perennial psychic disabilities.

A second issue is that the reform of mental institutions remains itself a work in progress.  There are still snake pits.  When Robert Kennedy visited Willowbrook State School on Staten Island in 1965, he was appalled and said the facility “borders on a snake pit,” with no apparent knowledge of who had supplied the term. Though the institution has been closed, a New York Times investigation of February 21, 2020 revealed that many of the former patients have been further abused in other institutions. In 1967 Frederick Wiseman documented horrific conditions at Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. His film, Titticut Follies, was banned from general distribution and not shown on television until 1992, when PBS aired it.  The Trump administration budget for 2020 cut funds to the Department of Health and Human Services by twelve percent, over seven billion dollars, this on top of a 2019 cut of eighteen billion.  It is premature to conclude the work undertaken by Mary Jane Ward in the 1940s and 1950s has been successfully carried out by others.

Ken:  What leads you to compare The Snake Pit with Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle?

Though both novelists declared themselves for socialism, the two novels have little in common with respect to plot, characterization, and prose style, only to influence.  Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel led directly to passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.  Contaminated meat and terrible working conditions at the Chicago meatpacking industry were the only striking elements in a novel dedicated more broadly to the plight of the American working class. But the image of sweaty workers falling into vats and ending up in hamburgers sufficed to turn the stomachs even of politicians. Similarly, The Snake Pit—novel, film, plus the heady decade, 1946 to 1956, that Mary Jane Ward devoted to mental health reform in visits to more than two hundred mental institutions, making dozens of speeches—resulted in mental health policy reform in twenty-six states. In 1949 President Harry Truman presented her with a Woman of Achievement award along with Eleanor Roosevelt and Grandma Moses.  Yet she is largely forgotten today in the popular mind, in literary studies, and in the psychiatric professions. Only a single recent essay, Elizabeth J. Donaldson’s “The Snake Pit: Mary Jane Ward’s Asylum Fiction and Mental Health Advocacy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), makes a fully knowledgeable attempt to revive this neglected writer and spokesperson for mental health. In judging her unfairly neglected, I may betray a cousinly bias.

Ken:  How is Mary Jane Ward’s novel like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?

Larry:  Mary Jane herself described the similarities in a critique of the original screenplay, which she thought lacking the novel’s humor. “The novel is primarily an adventure story. The protagonist’s adventures in a mental hospital are as strange and weird to her as Alice’s in Wonderland.” Readers identify with Virginia in her ordinariness, “forced to see the possibility of someday having to go through a similar adventure.” The novel is a dark comedy of strange creatures and misadventures. The echoes are many. Just as Alice goes down the rabbit hole and encounters the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, and the Mock Turtle, so Virginia descends into a snake pit and joins a Mad Tea-Party of the “crazy,” the word most off-limits at Juniper Hill, whose original is Rockland State Hospital in upstate New York. Mary Jane was hospitalized there from June 5, 1941 to February 22, 1942 and drew directly on her own experience. Some episodes are painfully funny enough for Wonderland.  Virginia sits at dinner with the ladies, who chant “Save some for Virginia,” only to pass her at last a virtually empty bowl.  She can never learn the difference between a wet dry mop and a dry wet mop. She plays bridge with the ladies and “you could change trumps any time you felt like it… A trick might consist of five cards, seven, three, one or none.  However you felt.” Likewise, in Wonderland there are no rules at the Queen’s croquet ground, “or, if there are, nobody attends to them.”

Ken: How would you describe Virginia Stuart Cunningham and the setting in which she finds herself after her breakdown? The first chapter of the book occurs when Mrs. Cunningham is clearly in Juniper Hill State Hospital, but she herself is disoriented and full of misperceptions and fantastic impressions of what is happening before her. You write that the publisher of the 1948 mass market paperback wanted to remove it, but the author insisted it remain. What value, if any, do you give to this opening chapter?

Larry: I feel the first chapter has considerable value, literary and psychological. Signet was getting ready to cash in on release of the film. Though the novel had sold a million copies in hardcover, they thought the first chapter confusing and off-putting. Mary Jane held her ground, saying the first chapter was every bit as important as the last. Signet was right insofar as the first chapter is indeed confusing and off-putting to many. Mary Jane’s own agent at the Harold Ober Agency infamously declined to circulate the manuscript: “Unfortunately my own feelings [toward Virginia Cunningham] were composed more largely of irritation than of sympathy.”  Ouch.

The first chapter especially discards much of what creative writing students are taught about the need for a consistent narrative point of view.  Though all is processed through the mind of Virginia Cunningham, the use of pronouns shifts unnervingly from “I” to “you” to “she”—from first person to second to third—and back again, often within a couple of paragraphs.  An Amazon reviewer remarks that Ward may have done this purposefully “in order to establish Virginia’s feeling of constantly having the world tilt around her.” What to some readers may be irritating will be to others the principal vehicle for cohabiting the consciousness of Virginia.

As you know, the process of “stationing” is called “deixis” by psycholinguists and narrative theorists. Readers of a narrative are led to a center of consciousness within a scene through pronouns and demonstratives that station consciousness, creating a plausible representational world where “I” is distinguished from “you” and “she,” and “this” from “that.”  But remarkably there is no stable deictic center in Virginia, especially in the earlier chapters. Ward creates a representation of mental instability on the level of basic linguistic construction.  Virginia isn’t clear who or where she is, maybe even if she is. As the novel progresses, she gains greater control over institutional powers ranged against her, and there is somewhat less deictic shifting and more a progression toward stable third-person narration. Though hardly programmatic, this progression is evidence in itself that she improves over time.(Spoiler alert: There is no assurance that she is “cured” upon being discharged—it’s mostly because her husband is moving to another state—quite unlike the film adaptation where Virginia is fully cured at the end.) I know of no other mainstream American novel with such a pointed undermining of deixis.  This is its formal originality,

Ken:  Throughout the novel, the main character talks about her memory problems, and attributes them to the electric shock therapy she was given while hospitalized. She even questions her psychiatrist about this side effect of being shocked. How important are Virginia’s memory issues to the tenor of the novel?  What do you make of her doctor’s response to Virginia’s concerns about shock therapy?

Larry: I know something about this first-hand from my father’s experience with electroconvulsive therapy in late 1947, four sessions crudely delivered at Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis for what was under-diagnosed as “reactive depression.” He was certainly suffering major/clinical depression, but even reactive depression made him eligible for this treatment in those days. He told my mother he never fully lost consciousness. I remember him pacing back and forth in our living room, reciting previously memorized famous American speeches and losing his way, to the grief of his father, a Hoosier orator. Virginia hasn’t lost long-term memory in quite this way. She still remembers her Pig Latin, for instance. By means of her associative memories while at Juniper Hill, the reader gradually pieces together a trusted portrait of her early life in Evanston, her education in the classics and music, her engagement to the young medical student Gordon and his early death, the subsequent courtship of his best friend Robert, her having already published two novels, and the sequence of events in New York leading up to the quietly horrifying moment when she tells Robert, “I think there is something the matter with my head.” But she has severe short-term memory problems from the novel’s beginning, even before taken to “shock.” This therapy only makes matters worse. She has no memory of how or when she first arrived at Juniper Hill, she doesn’t remember when and how often she has seen her psychiatrist Dr. Kik, she doesn’t remember how to get to the bathroom at night. She also doesn’t register early on that Juniper Hill is an asylum, not a prison.  She tells a nurse: “It isn’t so much a matter of forgetting as it is of not knowing. When your memory is all tied up and separated from the rest of you, you don’t forget.  In order to forget you have first to remember…” Her sense of time, as of space, has collapsed: “… here, in the world of Juniper Hill, a day might consist of weeks, of hours, of a minute, or, frighteningly, of not even a second.” Her loss of memory and inability to absorb new experience loosen her hold on personal identity, however we conceive of it. When she asks him about shock therapy and amnesia, Dr. Kik is surprisingly callous: “You recall something you have read and you attempt to fit the facts into that pattern. You remember everything, of course.”  She knows better.

Ken: In the novel, Virginia looks forward to the unscheduled times that she sees her psychiatrist. It seems as if she does not have regular appointments with him, but that he gets reports about her, and seems informed about her and, with some exceptions, is kind to her when they do meet. The portrayal of the psychiatrists and psychoanalysts is mixed. Virginia mostly thinks well of two of the doctors she sees.  Her description of an encounter with one doctor who treats her as if she is a defendant being cross-examined in a criminal trial is harrowing. When her main psychiatrist gives a Freudian-like diagnosis as to what led to Virginia’s breakdown, she sees it as far-fetched and absurd. What do you make of this portrait of the medical/psychiatric profession?

Larry:  In her public addresses and correspondence, it’s clear that Mary Jane wasn’t down on the entire profession of psychiatry.  As someone who consulted closely with Karl Menninger, she thought mental institutions should have more psychiatrists and more time in private sessions with patients. She always prefaced her remarks with the clarification that she was not a medical professional. But The Snake Pit shows her distrust of psychoanalysis, which is subjected to ridicule. Virginia and Robert are both dismissive of Dr. Kik’s diagnosis that she feels a deep repressed guilt for marrying Robert many years earlier, not long after the death of Gordon.  Mary Jane struck “Dr. Kik is crazy” from her manuscript, but Virginia has the clarity of judgment to dismiss Dr. Kik’s diagnosis. “Well, the hell with my subconscious.  What I’m interested in is getting the old conscious to working again.” As she wrote to film director Anatole Litvak, “Think of the thousands of war widows and girls whose fiancés were killed in the war—women who have found satisfying second love.” But in the greatest single departure from the novel, Dr. Kik’s diagnosis is stubbornly installed for all time in the Twentieth Century-Fox adaptation.  When her guilt is brought to full consciousness—and incidentally when she has worked through the predictable transference—Virginia is totally cured. Virginia knows she is getting well because “I’m not in love with you anymore,” to which Dr. Kik replies, “You never were, Virginia.” Mary Jane explains the difference in her critique of the film. Her own illness “was sudden, acute… quite without warning.” She had had a happy childhood and a promising career within a happy marriage. But Virginia of the screenplay is “a psychopath from childhood.”  Instead of acute, her illness is “chronic,” and “she’s doomed from the beginning.” The scriptwriters concocted a flashback scene in which she is traumatically punished by her father for destruction of a doll and his demise soon thereafter, for which she feels guilty.  Gordon’s death is a reenactment of this early trauma and guilt. Hollywood prevailed.  Mary Jane became reconciled to the film only when it proved instrumental in bringing conditions at mental hospitals into international awareness.

Ken:  In The Snake Pit, the hospital has many wards that are described as being for different levels of the patient’s condition. Virginia is moved from ward to ward without her being given any explanation as to why she is being transferred. In some senses does the way the clientele is being treated seem reminiscent of Kafka’s The Trial?

Larry: There’s no evidence of direct influence but, yes, The Snake Pit is unnervingly Kafkaesque.  Like Josef K, Virginia feels herself accused and doesn’t know the charges.  What has she done? Why is she being subjected to shock, to tranquillizers, to cold wet sheets, to tubbing?  Why does she regress from wards with low numbers, where there’s some promise of release, to wards as high as thirty-three? The ordeal comes to a head when she reports to “staff,” the trial scene that finds her hoping they will stop the punishment and sign off on her release. She retains no memory of having bit the finger of one of her accusers.

Ken: Virginia says that “the hospital had no interest in teaching its patients to think. Juniper Hill’s goal was to Keep Them Quiet.” One of the nurses says, “A good nurse can’t be any reformer… A good nurse has to take orders.” Is Mary Jane Ward portraying a hierarchical system of social control over a population that can be unruly and that runs by keeping staff and patients in line?

Larry:  Yes, one is put in mind of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon and Michel Foucault’s carceral society in Discipline and Punish.  Mary Jane’s portrayal of Virginia’s co-patients is affirmative in its anarchism.  Each cameo of the inmates shows stubborn resistance to orders, from dancing on a low-rent rug declared off limits to resisting all rules in bridge.  Some are sadly defeated, like Grace, the aspiring young woman Virginia befriends in the opening scene who shows up later in a strait jacket.  The asylum has the upper hand.

Ken:  It is said that The Snake Pit influenced Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. One of the nurses, Miss Davis, seems like a milder forerunner of Nurse Ratched in Kesey’s novel.  Do you detect the influence of The Snake Pit on later books?  If so, how?

Larry:  The Snake Pit is the foundational asylum novel but its direct influence is difficult to pin down. Two of Sylvia Plath’s biographers, Carl Rollyson and Heather Clark, told me in a webinar that she read the novel, mentioned here and there in her notebooks.  Rollyson said that Plath was especially moved by the film.  But assuming some influence, I think it’s more revealing to ponder the differences between Virginia Cunningham and Esther Greenwood of The Bell Jar. Virginia never presents with suicidal ideation; indeed, nobody in her three novels of mental illness—beyond The Snake Pit, she wrote Counterclockwise (1969) and The Other Caroline (1970)—contemplates suicide.  Mary Jane could never believe that my father had killed himself, despite spending significant time with him during the six months of his unremitting depression.  And electroconvulsive therapy, terrifyingly presented and destructive in The Snake Pit, is key to Esther’s recovery. Nurse Ratched in Kesey’s novel is more single-mindedly villainous than Miss Davis, and more in line with R.D. Laing’s view that it is the supposedly sane authority figures who are insane, not the patients, whose illness is in fact a more cogent take on reality and an implicit and even courageous resistance to the opprobrium of everyday modern culture.  The Snake Pit is considerably less formulaic.  By now the asylum novel has become an institution in itself, with more than a hundred titles easily found in a Google search.  I’m fatigued even to think of scrounging through them all to find traces of Mary Jane Ward’s novel but am confident they’d turn up.

Ken: Thank you for agreeing to the interview and for your answers.

Larry:  My pleasure.

Larry can be contacted via his website, www.LarryLockridge.com


by Inna Rozentsvit

In a dark time, the eye begins to see… — Theodore Roethke
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resilience: From Awareness to Working Through is the title of the virtual conference sponsored by the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the IPA’s Working Groups on Parenting and Transgenerational Trauma, as well as the Parents First Educational Network™. The conference is planned for March 5-6, 2022

This conference is a follow-up of our first conference on transgenerational transmission of trauma and parent-child relationships, entitled “Who’s Afraid of Alice Miller?” (https://events.orinyc.org/alice/). During that conference in December 2021, we watched the documentary by Daniel Howald, “Who’s Afraid of Alice Miller?” which received the 2021 Gradiva Award® for the best film from NAAP, and had a presentation by and a discussion with Martin Miller, Alice Miller’s son, who became a psychologist and who – after many years of various therapies and analysis – is working with children and adults to overcome childhood trauma, and transgenerational trauma too. Answering one of the questions from the audience, Martin said, “I do not have children, but I use everything I know and learned through my life and through various therapies – to prevent trauma happening to any child.” (Find more details about this conference in Marc-Andre Cotton’s article below.)

During our March 5-6, 2022 conference, we will discuss various topics related to inter- and transgenerational transmission of trauma, as well as resilience, which will include personal discoveries of family’s patterns of communication as they relate to traumas of the past generations; as well as experiences of groups that were denigrated by corruption and despotism of the leaders or/and aggression from other groups. We will also look into neurobiological vicissitudes of the modes of inter- and transgenerational transmission of information, and – even more important – into how we can prevent the traumatic transmission and promote transmission of hope, resilience, strength, and healing. Prevention starts with awareness, then working through some difficult explorations into oneself and into his/her family history, and finally – finding one’s own way to heal and to grow.

During the first day of the conference, Martin Miller will present on “Traumatic Injury of Transgenerational Trauma – A Challenge for Psychotherapy,” David Celani – on “Internalization of Childhood Trauma and Reenactment in the Next Generations,” Marc-Andre Cotton – on “Family Secrets and Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma: How to work them through? –A Personal Path of Awareness,” Doris Leicher – on “Two Unusual Cases of Transgenerational Trauma and Its Mourning That Lead to Healing,” and Gabriella Becchina – on “From the Big Apple to the Big Olive: A Family Cookbook Turned Multigenerational Memoir.”

During the second day of the conference, Inna Rozentsvit will talk about “Dreaming the Memories of Our Parents: Understanding Neurobiology of Transgenerational Trauma and the Capacities for Its Healing,”, Eva Fogelman – on “Myths and Realities about Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma,” Peter Petschauer – on “Trauma Lingering in Groups, Families, and Individuals: Americans and Germans,” Amy C. Hudnell – on “Teaching with Trauma: Interrogating the Layers of Trauma in the Classroom,” and Jun Lu – on “Do Not Say We Have Nothing: The Haunting Legacies of the Cultural Revolution in China.” There will be time for questions and answers, with each presenter and in general discussion.

If you would like to participate in this conversation and learn more, join us this Saturday and Sunday (March 5th-6th 2022), as this virtual event is much more than a conference. It’s an opportunity to experience personal growth – as a parent, a professional, and an individual. You can register by following the link here: https://events.orinyc.org/transgenerational-transmission-of-trauma-and-resilience-from-awareness-to-working-through/. (Members of the IPA attend for free, but registration is required.)

4. Interview with Kurt Jacobsen

by Ken Fuchsman

  1. As a political scientist with an abiding interest in psychoanalysis, what got you interested in writing about psychohistory? Was it primarily Erik Erikson’s writing, or more a combination of things?

I was always interested, though I can’t trace it to any particular moment. I finished my undergrad degree with a similar number of courses in political science and psychology, though my introductory psych course in a huge Champaign-Urbana lecture hall was pretty dispiriting. Like many of my 60s cohort all the meaningful reading I did was on my own: Freud, Reich, Bettelheim, Fromm, the Frankfurt School, Fanon, and, yes, Erikson and Lifton and Keniston. At the U of I, which did have a fantastic library, the formal psych was mostly Skinnerian rat psychology. Forget Freud. Weirdly or perversely enough, I wound up in my first job afterward as a care worker in a behavior mod unit for developmentally disabled kids in a showcase State facility. Except for a Nurse Ratched-styled administrator (or two), most positions were filled with former antiwar activists like me who were more interested in what we broadly called humanistic psychology and did our level best to smuggle in such views. There was a fascinating guerrilla struggle between bosses and staff over my years there. We did do some good for those kids.

Anyway, I was accepted at the University of Chicago two months after I started that job, which enabled me to pay for grad school. Full-time job, full-time courses but I nabbed a doctorate without owing a penny. Couldn’t pull  it off today. In the political science department I had the glorious luck to run immediately into Lloyd Rudolph, who would become my Ph. D. supervisor. He and his likewise brilliant wife U of C Professor Susanne Rudolph both attended Wellfleet in its early years and did their own work in that vein on Gandhi. (I have an off the record story about that.) They guided my interest in psychoanalytic studies of power. It was catnip. Donald Levine in sociology was helpful too. Paul Ricoeur was a gem who offered to be on my dissertation committee had I taken my topic that way. Bettelheim was in his last year at the U of C when I started but his courses always clashed with my work hours. Everything at Chicago in the social sciences (except economics) was enchantingly interdisciplinary. My overarching interest, to this day, is science and technology studies, but if you pay attention to Mumford, Marcuse and Roszak and others at the time you find psychoanalytic themes laced through their analyses.

  1. In your essay “Paradigmatic Saboteurs: Eriksonian Psychohistory and Its Vicissitudes,” you mention a number of strands within psychohistory, and this includes DeMause, Binion, Volkan, and Heinz Kohut, but do not fully discuss them. Erik Erikson and others with similar sensibilities gathering at Lifton’s Wellfleet home is your focus in this piece. What to you is most outstanding about Erik Erikson and his cohorts versions of psychohistory?

I have a sneaking sympathy for what DeMause has written about the role and extent of abused childhoods in Western history, but, for the most part, I don’t find the people you name nearly as interesting as I do Erikson, Lifton, Keniston and Robert Coles. In their hands I consistently encounter studies that are marriages of psychological sensitivity and historical depth where neither is slighted for the other. Let me not omit their openly evident and self-searching ethical concerns – immensely attractive – and the fact that they are damn good writers. Kohut, Volkan, Binion and even DeMause all have their merits, but they do not match up as scribblers and tilt toward psychologism. I don’t come away from their works quite as nourished intellectually or otherwise.

  1. You describe Eriksonian psychohistory, and focus on Erikson, Robert Lifton, Robert Coles, and Kenneth Keniston.  What makes them distinctive for psychohistory?  In particular, say more about that the primarily lesson gleaned from the Eriksonian approach is that as you write  “people, foremost, live in history, not in their heads.” As well comment on what you quote from historian Joan Scott that neither history nor culture has much impact on psychoanalytic conceptions and findings.

I can’t comment on Joan Scott because I’m not sure what she meant. I wasn’t, in that case, quoting her in an approving way. Overall, I am as ambivalent about individualism as anyone, which is the glory and bane of modern existence. I distrust any creed that fails to acknowledge that we are born into social and economic structures that exert a great deal of power over us, usually unconsciously. Once that power is acknowledged, and not merely nodded to obliquely, psychoanalysis transforms into a valuable tool to ferret out the myriad ways in which we dialectically are shaped and shape ourselves. The insights that emerge aid not only clients but society as a whole, though the progress may seem awfully glacial. On the other hand, clinically speaking, I see the wisdom – and Bettelheim’s Orthogenic School was superb at this –  in helping seriously damaged people to locate the ingredient of complicity, let us call it, in their plight so they can clamber out of it. You’re not at all to blame. You likely were in a protracted lousy situation and you did what you did to cope with it. Now we accordingly plot an exit.

  1. In your 2021 article, “The Devil His Due: Psychohistory and Psycho-Social Studies,” describe psycho-social studies as a movement. What connects and distinguishes psychohistory and psycho-social studies?

I wrote the two articles – which were meant to be one screed – because, spending half my adult life in Ireland and then London, I was aware of “psychosocial studies” programs sprouting across the UK. Robert Coles told me twenty years ago that he was dizzied by how fast the legacies of Erikson and associates were erased at Harvard and elsewhere, so it was a relief to see Eriksonian concerns revived in Britain. However, what I found in reading their work were Eriksonian concerns without Erikson cited. It seemed to me they were not doing as well as they could if they only read Yank predecessors. So, given a journal invitation, I intervened. I readily mention British exceptions such as Stephen Frosh and Daniel Pick, but they are not the norm. The key differences between Eriksonian psychohistory and psychosocial studies are that the latter is sporadically psychoanalytic (and in some programs not at all), tend to favor or lapse into psychologistic explanations (into their original training, which I jokingly call “reversion compulsion”), and shy away from political commitments where they might well be warranted. If only Robert Jay Lifton was the universal role model today.

  1. In the same article, you say, “Erikson’s psychohistory intended to enrich social analyses by giving fair dues both to psychoanalysis and to social science fields.” You also quote Erikson writing that ““Only when the relation of historical forces to the basic functions and stages of the mind have been jointly charted and understood can we begin a psychoanalytic critique of society as such.” On one hand, say why this interconnection is central. On the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think that psychoanalytic theory itself needs to more fully integrate history’s impact on the inner world?

Freud was acutely aware of the interconnections between self and society, mind and culture, agency and structure in forming our lives, and recognized the need to refine our understandings of those connections. So Erikson legitimately considered himself a Freudian, however much he clashed with dodgy aspects, episodes and disciples. Freud didn’t display perfect balance in every arena of his work. Big deal. Explorers tend to overdo things, as Erikson noted. In the case of child analysis, though, Freud allowed that psychoanalytic “technique” would have to be adapted and rethought to be useful to critters different from bourgeois adults, and it wasn’t just on account of Anna. Yes, “psychoanalytic theory needs to more fully integrate history’s impact on the inner world,” and I think it is by evidence of journals such as Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, Psychoanalysis and History, the psychohistory newsletter Clio, and, if I may mention, the British-based journal Free Associations which I coedit. The real task is to hold the two disciplinary approaches in balance, which is tricky to do if you are trained only in one field and, moreover, deeply inclined toward it.

  1. In your 2009 book, Freud’s Foes: Psychoanalysis, Science and Resistance you show the limits of the critiques of Freud. Describe the limits of the attempts to disparage the founder of psychoanalysis.

I wrote Freud’s Foes because there no longer were limits on disparagement. You might imagine that since Frederick Crews, for example, came on the scene pummeling away in his slick style that no one ever contested a single thing Freud said. Plenty of serious critical works exist and are credited and incorporated as they would in any scientific endeavor.  No one’s untouchable. Since the so-called Freud wars began all I see is shameless, ignorant, ahistorical rubbish larded on by canny opportunists with positivist or pharmaceutical or cognitive psych agendas. Crews, Masson and others blame Freud for disregarding real child abuse (which is untrue) and in the next breath they hold Freud (who questioned the veracity of memory) responsible for the false memory craze. It’s all a carnival of contradictions which cannot be untangled but only pointed out. But, heck, it was fun to write.

  1. On one hand, you see the value of psychoanalysis is helping one recognize the split-off parts of oneself and awaken from the destructive patterns which one has wrapped oneself. On another hand, the internecine conflicts among psychoanalytic schools have often resulted in some treating their “particular approaches as if they were catechisms.” As with Yeats asking how can we tell the dancer from the dance, how can psychoanalysis and the warring psychoanalytic schools be distinguished?

Let me say I was never tempted to train as a psychoanalyst. I’m sure my five years working in a mental hospital had something to do with that. I saw that no one, no matter how skilled and admirable, is immune to power struggles, petty narcissistic differences, and dirty bureaucratic fights. I also don’t take well to anything smacking of dogma. Here I must go ever so slightly Crewsian. It seemed to me like secularized training for the priesthood, though pals tell me of more agreeable experiences. I thrived in grad school because of the absence of dogma, due to a wonderfully pluralistic milieu in the Pol Sci Department. But even grad school has such drawbacks, as Peter Loewenberg, who I count among the best psychohistorians, illustrated in several essays in Decoding The Past. I didn’t experience them but I certainly knew students who did.

Anyway, Kleinian, Object Relations, classic Freudian, Lacanian, etc. – are all just Baskin-Robbins flavors to me, some more useful than others in certain instances. though I harbor grave doubts about Lacan in most instances.

  1. The psychoanalyst and educator Bruno Bettelheim is someone who interests you.  What makes his work so important? Discuss how some of the biographies of him are unsound, how you researched Bettelheim and what you found out that undermined these flawed biographies.

I initially abhorred Bettelheim for his derisive comments about student protesters in 1969. But in the mid-70s, as a fairly savvy care worker then I relented and read Home for the Heart. The book, despite its sappy title (imposed by the publisher, I later learned) gob smacked me. The guy really knew what he was doing and what everyone else was doing and to what effect and why. I gave copies away. If every mental institution followed his advice, we’d have a whoppingly beneficial revolution in mental health care. (Of course we got deinstitutionalization instead.) So when the “scandal” struck in 1990, first appearing in a Chicago weekly to which I funnily enough was then a contributor, I was divided. I also knew several former Orthogenic School residents who responded that the accusers were untrustworthy and that the Orthogenic School was a therapeutic boon to them. I got on a very different track than all the investigators who credulously heeded the dire litany of half a dozen (of several hundred) former residents and staff. My own research over the next couple of years left me in no doubt that Bettelheim, whatever his slips, was the real thing. However, in the toxic atmosphere, no publisher wanted to touch it. One major publisher told my literary agent that he wouldn’t have anything to do with a book that in any way exonerated Bettelheim of all the wild charges. John Stuart Mill had something to say about a public that is not more desirous of truth than of fictions. So I put the project, completed except for the writing up, away for better times, which these may be. I made myself a promise to get it out eventually. I can’t say anything directly about other biographies, without tipping off more than I would like.

  1. In 2017, your International Politics and Inner Worlds: Masks of Reason Under Scrutiny connected the international power system with alternative theories of politics. “Psychoanalysts,” you write, “have contributions to make in parsing out” the “complex motivations” involved in foreign relations. You quote political scientists Hans Morgenthau’s observation that in foreign policy decisions we can be dealing with “psychopathology.” Tell us the particular contributions of psychoanalysis to understanding the conduct of international relations.

“The world is out there but our perceptions of it are not.” I don’t know who first uttered that limpid sentence but it’s a maxim for political and social scientists to keep in mind as they decipher political imbroglios. In most cases a comparative measure of material forces and selfish interests will tell you enough to comprehend an ongoing or potential conflict.  Psychoanalysis confidently comes into play when momentous decisions deviate markedly from what one expects a materialist account to deliver. What else was or seemed in motion for edgy decision-makers? Yet psychoanalysis also can illuminate any conflict situation if one is willing to dig as deep as evidence allows, and to be humble about where psychoanalytic/psychological factors fit in overdetermined explanations. In either regard, there isn’t been much to boast of lately in American political science. Many of the sharpest sages are retired (if not deceased) such as Fred Alford, Alexander and Susan George, Fred Greenstein and the late Michael Rogin who should count among the finest psycho-historians though unconnected to a “school.” Parallel with poor fortunes in the Freud Wars, psychoanalysis has been bulldozed out of political psychology and replaced with a gossamer-thin cognitive psychology enamored of neat formulas and rules of thumb, all teetering on a flimsy base of genetic determinist presuppositions. Don’t get me started.

  1. You have been involved with the British journal Free Associations founded by the American born scholar Robert M. Young. Discuss Young’s contributions to science and technology studies, and his value for psychoanalysis.  What did you gain from knowing and working with him?

Just finished co-editing (with R. D. Hinshelwood) a festschrift entitled Psychoanalysis, Science and Power: Essays in Honor of Robert Maxwell Young coming out of Routledge in 2022. The book’s essayists make potent cases for Bob’s extraordinary and still resonant contributions in Darwin Studies, the advent of Science and Technology Studies, and in Kleinian psychoanalysis (of which he became a practitioner latterly). Quite a range. Bob, by the way, was utterly at odds with nearly all the psychoanalytic associations and wrote extensively and, as always, cogently about his reasons.  I’ll leave it there.

Bob was a marvelous maverick, brilliant scholar, brave activist, and was just plain enjoyable to be around. I admit to hearing different tales from people who knew him at earlier phases in his life, but any slight flare-ups we had were over truly trivial things since we agreed about everything of any substance. With successor co-editor David Morgan, I do my best to carry on Free Associations in Bob Young’s exacting and yet expansive spirit. He was a privilege and pleasure to hang out with. What more can you say of anyone?

5. Who’s Afraid of Alice Miller? A Review of our Virtual Conference on Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma

by Marc-André Cotton

On December 4-5, 2021, the Object Relations Institute (ORI) and the International Psychohistorical Association (IPA) organized an online conference around the documentary by Swiss filmmaker Daniel Howald, “Who’s Afraid of Alice Miller.” This event focused on transgenerational transmission of trauma proved a success as about two hundred persons registered prior to the conference and some eighty active participants showed up on both days. The complete program can be seen here.

The idea came about in IPA’s working groups on Parenting and Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma where a handful of our members discuss monthly on topics such as positive parenting, later consequences of lack of attachment in childhood or post-traumatic growth. We had been fascinated by the viewing of Howald’s movie and subsequent debate with him, during IPA’s annual conference of May 19-21, 2021. What about inviting the main protagonist of this journey, psychotherapist Martin Miller himself, to join a broader audience and share his thoughts about his mother’s legacy?

Thanks to Krystyna Sanderson, Inna Rozentsvit, interpreter Gabriella Becchina and myself, contacts were made, and our joint enthusiasm would do the rest: after a group viewing of “Who’s Afraid of Alice Miller” on Saturday morning, December 4th, Daniel Howald agreed he would share his reflections as movie director and participate with Martin Miller to the extended Q&A that was to follow. The main feature of the next day would be Martin’s presentation called “Transgenerational inheritance—from the victim’s point of view and experience” originally given in German with an expert English translation by Gabriella. I’d like to disclose some contents of what has been addressed during the second day of our conference to give insight into the fascinating perspective offered by the transgenerational paradigm, for a broader awareness of the complexity of therapeutic dynamics.

On Martin’s insistence, we agreed that New York psychoanalyst Krystyna Sanderson would open the day with a very personal lecture entitled “My Mother and Martin’s Mother”. Previously, Dr Sanderson had published “Jews Surviving on ‘Aryan Papers’ in Nazi-occupied Poland: A Historical and Psychoanalytic Perspective” (The Journal of Psychohistory, 45 (3), Winter 2018) discussing post-traumatic disorder of survivors in light of D.W. Winnicott’s “true self” and “false self” concepts. As the child of parents who survived the war in Warsaw, she was deeply moved by the resemblance between Alice Miller’s early experience in Nazi-occupied Poland, as depicted in Howald’s documentary, and that of her own mother, who miraculously escaped death after her house was bombed by Germans in the wake of the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944. “The movie literally blew my mind as I saw how I was concerned” she confided during one of our preparatory meetings. “It has been a starting point for me.”

Eventually, Dr Sanderson realized that she related with Martin’s World War II trauma transmitted to him by his parents. From her own perspective, she confirmed that transgenerational trauma causes a child to live a fused identity with the parent whose traumatic experience takes center stage, overshadowing the child’s need for parental nurturing and bonding. It results in a tendency to catastrophize, for fear that the parental trauma would be repeated, and in psychic disorders such as anxiety, nightmares, hypervigilance or an impaired ability to establish close relationship. This emotional insecurity, Dr Sanderson further shared, stemmed from her mother’s inability to relate to her own child because of the trauma and subsequent dissociation—just like Alice Miller with baby Martin who was left to care for during the first six months of his life to her aunt’s family. Both women deeply wanted to be good mothers but did not know how. “We couldn’t connect with each other, there was always a wall between us, a wall of trauma.” She concluded her lecture by insisting on the importance of expressing and bearing witness to the transgenerational transmission of trauma, so that the formerly unspeakable be given a voice and the barriers erected in our psyches be broken down.

In his own presentation, Martin Miller began by reminding his audience that the recognition of traumatic experiences as possibly resulting in mental illness took decades. Only nowadays, with the emergent research field of epigenetics do we have clues on how trauma passes on to the next generation. Some DNA sequences store crucial environmental imprints or are only activated if a certain epigenetic experience occurs. For instance, our anti-stress gene only unfolds and fulfills its function if the baby experiences a positive attachment with his or her mother after birth. If not, the child will develop a low-stress tolerance that might be responsible for later depression. The discovery of mirror neurons helped us understand how children respond to their caregivers’ patterns of action and even to their untold intentions through emotional contagion. The child precisely feels what the mother feels and ends up identifying with her mental state. This intrinsic capacity for empathy turns into a nightmare for victims of traumatic transgenerational inheritance, as Miller would develop from his own childhood experience.

Born in 1923, his mother Alicija Englard was raised in an Orthodox family and interned with all Jewish inhabitants in the Piotrkov ghetto—the first of its kind in occupied Poland. She was 16 years old at the time and flew to Warsaw with false papers, gave up her Jewish identity to become Alice Rostovska and survived anxiously in the Aryan part of the city. She was threatened by a Polish blackmailer whom she seduced hoping not to be arrested and deported by the Gestapo. “The blackmailer had the same name as your father” she later revealed to her son in a misguided moment. Indeed, this odd couple moved to Switzerland after the war, got married and gave birth to Martin. “All my life I have been constantly lied to by my parents about their past” he deplored. From the beginning, he was abused by his father who, as a Nazi collaborator, could not stand having conceived a Jewish son as Martin later discovered. Faithful to her persecutor with whom she presumably developed a Stockholm syndrome, Alice Miller was unable to protect her son.

Having great difficulties at school, Martin was sent to a Catholic boarding school. Although he vaguely knew of his Jewish origin, he experienced the same anxious feelings as his mother did during the war. He was in constant panic to speak in public or to repeat a prayer for fear of revealing he was not a Christian. Even though he did not experience the Second World War, Martin grew up as a persecuted Jew in his own family since he was also forbidden to learn Polish as a child—his parents’ common language. Incidentally, reading Saul Friedlander’s book “Nazi Germany and the Jews”, he realized that Orthodox Jews only spoke Yiddish whose intonations are close to the Swiss dialect Martin learned on the street. His father humiliated him all the time, just as the Nazis treated the Jews until the Final Solution. “The feeling of being excluded and rejected in one’s own family triggers unspeakable loneliness” he concluded.

The journey to Poland with Irenka Taurek and filmmaker Daniel Howald proved an invaluable healing process for Martin. He was able to bring his parents’ war experiences back to the place where they came from and start a normal relationship with them, even though they were long dead. He was blessed with the uplifting feeling of dissolving his transgenerational inheritance and, though he cannot forgive his parents for their wrongdoing, is now able to educate on such mechanism as a psychotherapist. In his final remarks, Martin Miller stressed the importance of reconstructing the history of one’s own parents precisely. As children have a genetic make-up for empathy, they are often prone to endorse their progenitors’ split-off experiences as their identity and to try, with all their might, to protect them from their dissociated trauma. For him, this approach to trauma therapy is a chance to free people with transgenerational inheritance from the grip of their parents’ pernicious influence.

To conclude this conference around transgenerational transmission of trauma, I felt it was important to go back to some of Alice Miller’s singularities as an author and frontrunner. Although he was not in position to benefit from her later findings as a child, Martin’s moving adult testimony largely confirms what his mother disclosed through her writings. Indeed, Alice Miller changed our understanding of psychotherapeutic practice and helped open our eyes to the extent of ordinary violence in education. Her perspective is embedded in the heart of the youth’s repressed experience within the family circle and leads to the most cruel collective dynamics such as National Socialism. Although a psychoanalyst by training, she quickly confronted the limits of Freudian thoughts and became critical of the drive theory, rejecting for instance the concepts of a child’s narcissism or the Oedipus complex.

She also extended Freud’s repetition compulsion to all traumas suffered by parents at the hands of their own parents and, through the spontaneous practice of painting, unveiled in her own religious upbringing the principles of “poisonous pedagogy” she was to denounce in her works. One may be tempted to say that the indefatigable advocate for children came up with nice ideas, but that she did not put them into practice. Yet like all of us, Alice Miller had a story and a path of life—untold secrets we discovered with Howald’s documentary and Martin’s testimony. They revealed the dramatic circumstances in which Alice lived through the war years—an unspeakable anguish that was later transferred onto Martin—but there are older imprints also, long buried from the first years of her life and throughout her childhood. All tragedies that she subsequently replayed with her husband and children.

Alice Miller’s paternal grandfather, a Hasidic rabbi and strict religious man, imposed on her future father a cold and impassive bride. The partners remained strangers to one another—a pattern Alice would replicate with her husband Andrzej Miller. Of her mother, young Alicija had to fear the worst reprisals and yet her dad never stood up for his daughter or confirmed her feelings. At the same time that she endured a cruel lack of reassurance with her mother, she transposed her need for protection to a helpless father and probably felt betrayed by him. The feelings of persecution and treason internalized by Alice Miller thus go back to the very first years of her life. The film shows how as an adult, she transferred the same illusion onto her future husband, who could protect her from the Nazis but turned out to be a very poor partner in life and a worst father for Martin.

Ancient Greeks already found that we reproduce schemes of behavior from our family lines and that we are all bearers of a transgenerational tragedy. Sometimes it takes painful life experiences to realize that we are also caught in patterns of repetition or are subject to various forms of compulsion. With Alice Miller’s example and now Martin’s exceptional testimony, we have a perspective of realization that speaks to our deepest nature. Although the mother was not able to free herself from all her traumas, her quest for truth resonated with her readers, first and foremost with her son. Like many of us, I have been impressed by his working through the trauma and growing. We all share a reflective consciousness that characterizes us as species, a potential awareness that not only expresses on an individual level, but also has a collective and even transgenerational reality.

To conclude, I’d like to express gratitude to Dr Inna Rozentsvit who skillfully planned, organized and managed all technical aspects of this virtual meeting, all the while moderating discussions and presentations on both days with tact and commitment.

Marc-André Cotton, International Vice-President of IPA.

6. The 1619 Project: Acclaim and Controversy

by Ken Fuchsman

February is black history month. In the U.S., the beginning was when the first group of African slaves were brought to Virginia in 1619. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of this historic event The New York Times Magazine published in August 2019 a series of pieces entitled “The 1619 Project.” It addressed the legacy of slavery throughout American life.

The subject of slavery and racism’s enduring impact is an extremely important topic and one that remains politically charged.  It can arouse strong, divisive responses across the political spectrum.  “The 1619 Project” has gained wide support, generated criticism by historians, and aroused conservative ire.

In 1944, Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal said that the place of blacks in the United States is the American Dilemma. It remains as much so now as when Myrdal wrote. The great civil rights legislation of the 1960s aroused divisions in our politics that remain front and center today. As the Nobel prize winning novelist, William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  The furor over The 1619 Project is another reminder of the volatility of the past in our present.

The idea for the 1619 project originated with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an African-American award winning staff journalist at the magazine. There was much enthusiasm and recognition for this publication.  As the magazine’s editor in chief, Jake Silverstein wrote, when “The 1619 Project” issue was first “available in print, Aug. 18 and 19, readers all over the country complained of having to visit multiple newsstands before they could find a copy. A week later, when The Times made tens of thousands of copies available for sale online, they sold out in hours. Copies of the issue began to appear on eBay at ridiculous markups.” Hannah-Jones writes “readers started holding 1619 reading clubs….Across the country, at libraries, museums, cultural centers, and schools, people gathered to talk about the1619 Project and slavery’s impact on America.” In May, 2020, Ms. Hannah-Jones was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for “The 1619 Project.”  A high honor indeed.

That now famous issue of the Times magazine contained twelve essays, as well as poems, and fiction.  The titles were often intriguing.  Hannah-Jones article was entitled “America Wasn’t A Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One.” Another traces the brutality of American capitalism to the plantation, still an additional one asserted that race is the reason America does not have universal health care.  Wesley Morris’s contribution has the title “Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music” Princeton historian Kevin Kruse explains how our traffic jams are caused by segregation. These essays tackle highly pertinent topics.  They show the widespread consequences of slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination in so many aspects of American life from 1619 to 2019.

Of all the pieces in the magazine, the one that drew the most attention was Ms. Hannah-Jones introductory chapter.  While this essay turns to much that is historical, it is primarily a celebration of the role of African-Americans in the shaping of our political life and the fealty of blacks to democratic values. This is in spite of the oppression they endured as slaves and in the brutal Southern sharecropper system following emancipation. She does mention the creativity and originality of African-American music in the blues and jazz. Hannah-Jones herself does not discuss what in the African-American culture in a time of violent suppression enabled such innovation to develop. She has composed a lyrical, ahistorical history more than a comprehensive historical account.

Some generalization Hannah-Jones made in the course of her essay led a number of prominent historians to be concerned about her purported errors.  Even before the magazine published “The 1619 Project” issue, they did fact checking. Among others, The New York Times consulted, Leslie M. Harris, an African-American historian at Northwestern University, for her expert advice. To the fact checker, Dr. Harris singled out a particular claim by Ms. Harris-Jones as problematic. The statement read: “One critical reason that the colonists declared their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery in the colonies, which had produced tremendous wealth. At the time there were growing calls to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire, which would have badly damaged the economies of colonies in both North and South.” Harris says she “vigorously disputed the claim….the protection of slavery was not one of the main reasons the 13 Colonies went to war.” But the Times did not second her objections, and published that passage unaltered.

After the magazine was in print, the World Socialist Review started publishing interviews with notable historians critical of “The 1619 Project.” One such critic is the dean of historians of the American Revolution, Gordon Wood.  Referring to Ms. Hannah Jones, Wood writes, that in “1776, she says, Great Britain was on the verge of abolishing slavery and the slave trade, thus provoking the colonists into independence.” This assertion, Wood says, “is false. In 1776 Great Britain was not threatening to abolish slavery in its empire.”  Instead of going to war to ensure the institution of slavery, soon after gaining independence, the new nation acted against the slavocracy. Gordon Wood: “Far from protecting slavery, the American Revolution inflicted a massive blow to the entire slave system of the New World. Not only were the northern states the first slaveholding governments in the world to abolish slavery, but the United States became the first nation in the world to begin actively suppressing the despicable international slave trade.”

When noted civil war historian, James Macpherson read “The 1619 Project” the day it appeared in the magazine, he told the World Socialist Review that he was “disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account….it left most of the history out.” One of Hannah-Jones statements was that “as much democracy as this nation has today, it has been borne on the backs of Black resistance.” In response to Hannah-Jones claim that “black Americans have fought back alone” in making the U. S. democratic, MacPherson points out that from the 18th century on many whites were leaders in anti-slavery and civil rights activities including the 18th century Quaker anti-slavery activity, the antebellum abolitionists, the congressional Radical Republicans of the Civil War and Reconstruction that passed the Constitutional amendments abolishing slavery, granting blacks citizenship and the right to vote. This would also include the whites in the NAACP when it was founded in 1910. He adds, “that’s what’s missing from this perspective.”

In December 2019, Wood and Macpherson joined three other preeminent historians in sending a letter to The New York Times Magazine detailing what they saw as errors in the initial publication of the 1619 project.  Led by Princeton’s Sean Wilentz, in addition to Wood and Macpherson, there was Texas Tech’s Victoria Bynum, and CUNY’s James Oakes. The historians wrote that they “are dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.” The errors the historians point out include the aforementioned claim the war for independence was fought to protect slavery, and that the presentation of Lincoln’s views was one-sided and thus distorted.  The writers say that the magazine feature included a “displacement of historical understanding by ideology.”  To them, the process by which the newspaper assured factual accuracy seems opaque. They requested that “The Times reveal fully the process through which the historical materials were and continue to be assembled, checked and authenticated.”

The magazine’s editor in chief, Jake Silverstein, replied on December 20, 2019. He writes that “we don’t believe that the request for corrections to The 1619 Project is warranted.” Silverstein also declares that “during the fact-checking process, our researchers carefully reviewed all the articles in the issue with subject-area experts.” He says that the Times consulted with scholars of African-American history and other areas.

Silverstein directly confronts the criticism of the letter writers about Hannah-Jones bold statement that a critical reason the American Revolution was fought was to protect slavery.  He modifies Hannah-Jones declaration by saying that “uneasiness among slaveholders in the colonies about growing antislavery sentiment in Britain and increasing imperial regulation helped motivate the Revolution.”  Silverstein discusses the British Royal Governor of Virginia, the Earl of Dunmore, who in November 1775, issued a proclamation that any slave who joined the British army would be freed.  Silverstein cites Harvard historian Jill Lepore: “Not the taxes and the tea, not the shots at Lexington and Concord, not the siege of Boston; rather, it was this act, Dunmore’s offer of freedom to slaves, that tipped the scales in favor of American independence.”

Silverstein does not mention that at least one of the historians the fact checker consulted, Dr. Leslie M. Harris, raised the exact concerns about Hannah-Jones declaration about protecting slavery that was mentioned in the letter from the five historians.

Wilentz wrote a rebuttal to Silverstein in The Atlantic. The Princeton historian acknowledges that the Dunmore proclamation did arouse panic among Virginia slaveholders. While Dunmore hinted in April at what he later proclaimed, the actual edict was not issued until November 1775, and by that time the colonist’s rebellion had already commenced. As such, Wilentz writes, it “cannot be held up as evidence that the slaveholder colonists wanted to separate from Britain to protect the institution of slavery.”

Silverstein’s response to the historians and Wilentz’s rejoinder was not the end of the criticisms and controversy. Three and a half months later, on March 1, 2020, a book from the World Socialist Review was published that contained interviews that had earlier appeared in the periodical. Four of the five historians who wrote to Silverstein in December contributed to this volume. Then on March, 6, 2020 Leslie Harris’s article on the Times ignoring her fact-checking was published. As well, Silverstein heard from other prominent historians who also raised concerns about what Hannah-Jones had proclaimed.

On March 11, 2020, nearly seven months after the initial publication, Silverstein backed away from his December assertion that the historians’ criticisms were not warranted. He wrote; “We recognize that our original language could be read to suggest that protecting slavery was a primary motivation for all of the colonists. The passage has been changed to make clear that this was a primary motivation for some of the colonists. A note has been appended to the story as well.”

This was a remarkable admission by the Times that they had found it advisable to modify Ms. Hannah-Jones original declaration. Silverstein on March 11th did not explain what happened to the objections Professor Harris raised, nor does he say if she was the only one raising factual concerns prior to the August 2019 publication of the magazine.

I wondered what transpired with Dr. Harris’s feedback to the fact checker, so I asked her. She responded to my email by saying that “the Times consulted the work of several historians, both in writing and in person (via email, in my case). They initially went with what I would see as a minority view among historians of the role of slavery as one of the causes of the American Revolution.”

Still, what at first led the newspaper of record to side with one viewpoint rather than another is not quite clear. To get more info on the Times’s process, I emailed editor Silverstein on February 9, 2022 asking him about the fact checking process before the magazine’s August 2019 appearance. I wrote, “how many historians did you consult?  Did any other historian in addition to Dr. Harris raise concerns about Hannah-Jones assertion?  If so, how did the Times magazine decide how to evaluate the various perspectives….and who made the decision then to stand by the quote?”

On February 16th, Mr. Silverstein was kind enough to respond. He says: “We consulted with three different historians for that passage of Nikole’s original essay.” One of whom was Dr. Harris.  Silverstein continues, “Not all of them had the same view as Leslie. In deciding how to handle this divergence of interpretation, we were also, of course, considering various other accounts of the Revolution” which “in our reading supported Nikole’s assertion. I made the final decision about this, and I stand by it proudly today.”

The divergence of views among the initial three scholars then led the magazine to consult with other historians, and then Silverstein as editor made the decision in the summer of 2019 to stay with Nikole Hannah-Jones initial assessment of what led the colonists to revolt. Later, of course, when there was more published criticism and other historians contacted Silverstein, he moderated that earlier decision.

This controversy between the Times and some historians was just the tip of the iceberg for “The 1619 Project.”  In a July 23, 2020 press release, Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton announced he had introduced The Saving American History Act of 2020, which “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 project by K-12 schools or school districts.” Cotton’s bill went nowhere.

In September, 2020 President Trump announced the appointment of a 1776 Commission. He said, “Critical race theory, the 1619 Project and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.”  His commission issued a report a few days before Trump left office.  The American Historical Association and 33 historical societies rejected the report as shoddy.  The Association of University Presses wrote that the unprofessional research made it unpublishable as scholarship.  President Biden quickly disbanded the group.

Nevertheless, two Republican House members reintroduced Cotton’s bill in the 2021 Congress. One of them wrote, that “The 1619 Project aims to indoctrinate our students into believing that America is an evil country, and there is no room for that in our classrooms.” In a Democratic controlled House of Representatives that bill did not get a hearing.

But what Congress would not tackle, state legislators and administrators in 27 states attempted to do. Most bills attempting to outlaw the teaching of “The 1619 Project” in schools did not become law. But in some cases, they did.  In June of 2021, the Texas Governor signed into law a bill banning the teaching of “The 1619 Project” in public schools. Similar laws had been passed in May in Tennessee and Idaho. According to the Washington Post, by February 2022 thirteen states had new laws or policies about teaching race in classrooms.  Most bar instructors from implying that America is a racist nation.  For instance, in June, 2021 the Florida State Board of Education banned teaching the 1619 Project in public schools. Then on becoming Virginia’s Governor in January, 2022, Republican Glenn Youngkin issued a proclamation prohibiting his state’s public schools from teaching Critical Race Theory or other doctrines that claimed American whites were racist.

On the other hand, more than 4,5000 schools are teaching the curriculum for the 1619 project developed by the Pulitzer Center, which develops educational programs and draws attention to global issues.

It is striking how polarizing “The 1619 Project” had quickly become. Issues over the teaching of our history in classrooms have once again aggravated long standing political divisions over slavery and race.  These polarizing perspectives have become more intense in recent years.

The number of hate groups in the U.S. in 2018 was at an all-time high, numbering 1,020. The overwhelming majority of these groups adhere to white supremacy, and the number of white nationalist groups jumped by nearly 50% between 2017 and 2018. On another side of the political spectrum, after publicized murder of blacks by police led to demonstrations, a movement called Black Lives Matter emerged. The 1619 Project appeared in the midst of a resurgent national divide over race.  Its popularity and its divisiveness are connected to the state of our politics in the Trump era and afterwards.

The saga of the 1619 Project in the fall of 2021 was soon to enter another stage. In November 2021, The New York Times owned book firm, One World, published a much-expanded book version of the original magazine issue.  While the magazine had twelve essays, the book has eighteen chapters and a preface.  It also contains twenty-five poems and nine pieces of fiction. The titles of the chapters are less bold than in the magazine, even though many cover the same subjects by the same authors. The book chapters are now named Democracy, Capitalism, Politics, Music, Healthcare, Traffic, Justice, amongst others.

In the book’s preface, Nikole Hannah-Jones took on the controversy over her original essay. She described the “backlash” among a “small group of historians” who pointed “to what they said were historical errors.” She does mention that this little group objected to the statement about protecting slavery being one of the primary reasons for the revolution. She says that “what seemed to provoke so much ire was that we had breached the wall between academic history and popular understanding.”

As well, a few months before the book was published, six prominent historians of the revolutionary period, one of whom was Gordon Wood, and the others included Pulitzer Prize nominee Carol Berkin and Richard Brown, past President of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic. They noted that Silverstein had modified the original Hannah-Jones assertion. Then the six wrote that “the idea that the colonists — or even, in the Times’s amended version, ‘some of the colonists’ — revolted in order to protect slavery is beyond farfetched.”

Editor Jake Silverstein was not finished with discussing the 1619 Project and the criticism it engendered. In a long article in the magazine just before The 1619 Project book was to be published, Silverstein once again reviewed the controversy surrounding the historical accuracy of Hannah-Jones original article. Silverstein cites the following quote from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian Alan Taylor: “In the Southern mainland colonies, Patriots fought to preserve slavery for Blacks as well as the liberty of whites. Indeed, they regarded slave labor as an essential economic foundation for sustaining the freedom of white men.” Silverstein then rightly points out “the similarities between this line and the sentence in Nikole’s essay that was at the center of the five historians’ complaints.”

What we have is some journalists and historians defending the position that preserving slavery was a principal reason for fighting for independence and some refuting that position.  These kinds of conflicts over facts and interpretations are common in journalism, history, as well as multiple other fields, including psychoanalysis. There are often standards and criteria when dealing with these conflicts of evidence and viewpoint. Given these frequent controversies, the imperfect but necessary way to sort things out is to look at the full spectrum of the evidence for each position, then use that data to evaluate the credibility of the different positions, and to do so in print.

In the book, Hannah-Jones reiterated her declaration that as much democracy as America has it is “borne on the backs of Black resistance.” What is striking in that Hannah-Jones does not compare the specific factual claims of Macpherson,  among others, with her own position.

Certainly, journalists and historians need to weigh the diverging evidence, interpretations and conclusions to see which best stands up to critical examination before publication.  Hannah-Jones gives no signs of taking this evidentiary challenge on, we have no indication that she did the hard and necessary work of responsible journalism and scholarship to publicly confront relevant conflicting evidence and positions. If this assessment of her incomplete research process is accurate, she, of course, is not alone in this. In this age of polarization and partisanship, making public judgments before examining the most pertinent conflicting evidence is both regrettable and quite common.

There are a few other angles to this story. One is that both as a magazine and as a book The 1619 Project has been a publishing phenomenon. February 27, 2022 marked the 13th week The 1619 Project was on the New York Times best-seller list. It continues to be a national sensation touching chords in a receptive and critical public.

This is certainly not the first time a book on race in the U.S. has awakened mass support and opposition. One relevant example is from the 1960s. The Kerner Commission was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in the summer of 1967 to examine the causes of the urban riots in African-American ghettos. In February, 1968, the Kerner report was issued; it became an instant bestseller and sold over 2 million copies.

The commission found that racism was a major cause of the riots, and famously declared, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white-separate and unequal.” Not everyone believed the commission’s conclusion. In polls about the Kerner report in 1968, 58 percent of blacks agreed that racism was a cause of the riots, while 53 percent of whites condemned that claim.

An indication of such a divided America happened later in 1968. Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon, followed a Southern strategy of appealing to white racial prejudice in the region. Nixon won the election. Since then, with the exception of George W. Bush, every Republican presidential candidate who was elected has vigorously played the race card.

What we have been witnessing in the acclaim and disparagement of The 1619 Project is in substantial ways a repetition of what transpired with the Kerner Report in 1968.  The Kerner report, as mentioned, thought the U. S. was becoming two nations, one black, and one white.

Has this division come to fruition? In terms of where Americans live it has. Racial residential segregation is the norm. According to the Brooking Institute, between 2014 and 2018 in major metropolitan areas 71% of whites lived in racially segregated neighborhoods, in smaller metropolitan regions it was 79%. and outside metropolitan areas it was 85%.  In 1950 the U S was 90% white, in 2010, it was 60%.  Despite the increasing population diversity, residential racial segregation still prevails in the United States of America.

As well, playing the race card in Republican circles has become more prevalent as we become less white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. In 2022, much of the nation is polarized between those who promote white supremacy and others who proclaim Black Lives Matter.  The magazine and now the book on the 1619 Project is having a divergent practical effect by both being taught in many school systems, while being prohibited from the curriculum in various states.  The issues surrounding race and the long legacy of slavery remain politically explosive. Can the U.S. truly alleviate its dilemmas about African-Americans as long as we remain residentially segregated by race?

Since the abolition of slavery became an issue following America’s independence, every time a move for the rights of African-Americans has come to the fore, there has arisen an often-fierce counter force in opposition. The 1619 Project, whatever its limitations as scholarship, is another example of our conflicts that arise when the fight for African-American rights gains traction. Still, it is always notable and newsworthy when the celebration of the aspirations and achievements of blacks, beyond those in sports and mass entertainment, catches the public eye as it is doing now.


Clio’s Psyche – Call for Papers for Spring 2022 Issue

Our Emotional Connection to Art, Books,
Media, Music, Objects, Podcasts, and TV
due 03/15/2022

We welcome symposia or individual papers with a psychoanalytic/psychological approach on:

  • Ways of expression
  • What emotions are evoked by the screens you watch?
  • Ways in which media serves as object relations
  • The emotions experienced watching TV series with anticipation for each episode
  • Why do you or people you care about watch certain media to relax?
  • Gender issues in the emotions we are studying
  • Why do you watch certain screens and what emotions do they invoke?
  • Case studies of how media inspires our personal lives and our work
  • How has instant communications changed our politics?
  • TV as object relations
  • Reviews of books and media relevant to this subject

We seek articles from 500 to 2,000 words—including a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and a brief biography ending with an email address. One or two 2,500-3,500 word essays are also welcome provided they are outstanding scholarship, well written, and can be used as symposium papers.


Clio’s Psyche – Call for Papers for Fall 2022 Issue

Transgenerational Transmission
of Trauma and Resilience
due 06/15/2022

We welcome symposia or individual papers with a psychoanalytic/psychological approach on:

  • Personal experiences with inter- and transgenerational trauma
  • Your understanding of the ways trauma is transmitted through generations
  • Your understanding of how transgenerational trauma can be worked through
  • Case studies of how inter- and transgenerational trauma affected individuals and groups
  • Reviews of books and media relevant to this subject
  • Psychobiographical studies that illustrate transgenerational transmission of trauma
  • Psychobiographical studies that illustrate transgenerational transmission of resilience
  • Any other subtopics to expand on our understanding of inter- and transgenerational transmission of trauma, as well as resilience

We seek articles from 500 to 2,500 words—including a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and a brief biography (3-4 sentences) ending with an email address.

For proposal submissions, please contact 



Date: Saturday March 26, 2022, 10am — 4:30pm EST
 This conference will be offered Live via Virtual Participation

Analytic Role-Play: Drs. Loray Daws and Susan Kavaler-Adler
Discussants: Drs.
Eva Papiasvili – Contemporary Freudian Perspective,
David P. Celani – Fairbairnian Perspective,
Stefanie Teitelbaum – Winnicottian Perspective,
Rogelio Sosnik – Kleinian Perspective,
Stefanie Teitelbaum – Bionian Perspective,
Jeffrey B. Rubin – Meditative/ Intersubjective Perspective

Moderator: Dr. Jack Schwartz

To Register for this conference, please complete the
Registration form

The use of clinical role-play and reflection in learning meta-level therapeutic communication skills remains an invaluable instrument in mental health education. As textbooks can never adequately describe the ‘felt sense’ of the clinical situation, role-plays and group discussion can support the learner, beginner or seasoned, in a variety of novel ways, such as observe, identify and experience the transference-counter-transference enactments; explore various countertransference realities, as such, minimizing potential experiences of anxiety in day-to-day clinical work; cultivating empathic and reflective attitudes; as well as anchoring central psychotherapeutic principles and enhancing professional conduct in-vivo.

For more information about the conference, its presenters and panelists, and to REGISTER please visit https://events.orinyc.org/2022-annual-conference-of-the-object-relations-institute-for-psychotherapy-and-psychoanalysis/.

Please feel free to contact the conference chair by email at .

Journal Of Psychohistory – Call For Papers

and our responses to it
due 08/01/2022

Man made climate change has become part of our physical and psychological world. There has been a wide spectrum of responses to this reality ranging from denial to the conviction of imminent apocalypse.

The journal invites submissions on psychohistorical, psychoanalytic, and psychological perspectives on the subject. Some suggestions of possible questions to be addressed:

  • What are the anxieties aroused and the defenses employed to deal with the situation?
  • How have responses changed over the time since we first became aware of the threats to the environment?
  • What are the moral and ethical aspects?
  • What factors shape our responses and attempts to deal with climate change?
  • What economic and political realities influence our perceptions and responses?
  • What economic and political ideologies and beliefs influence our perceptions and responses?
  • How do our responses compare to those toward other global threats such as nuclear war?
  • What, if any, strategies, actions, and changes in beliefs and attitudes are needed to mount a successful defense against the threats?
  • What are the likely psychological consequences if things continue on their present course?

Manuscripts should be a maximum of 9000 words, include an abstract of less than 200 words, and a brief biographical statement. Manuscripts should follow the University of Chicago Manual of Style. Please send as a Microsoft Word document to Submissions are due by August 1st.