Dr. Orna Ophir Saturday, February 5th 2022, 1-2:30pm via Zoom
On February 27, 1924, Carolyn Newton, a young and wealthy American social worker, delivered her address to the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society. She titled her membership lecture: "The Application of Psychoanalysis to Organizations for Social Welfare." In her talk, she referred to all the ways Americans could benefit from psychoanalysis. During the lecture, she impressed Freud with the idea that thousands of American social workers, who were making headway towards being part of welfare institutions, courts, and hospitals as well as factories, schools, and churches, might be interested in his theory and put it into practice. On her return to The United States, Newton had plans to establish a psychoanalytic outpatient clinic in New York modeled on the Ambulatorium in Vienna. It was the nature and structure of psychoanalytic training in America that had prevented this from materializing. Based on original archival materials, Ophir uses the micro-history of the incident with which Caroline Newton's name became associated, to throw light on the road not taken by American psychoanalysis.
About Orna Ophir
Orna Ophir is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She holds a PhD from the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University and teaches at Gallatin School for Individualized Studies at NYU. Ophir taught at the Humanities Center at JHU (2015-2017) and at the Doctoral Studies in Clinical Psychology at LIU (2013-2015). She is the author of Psychosis, Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry in Postwar America (Resling, 2013; Routledge, 2015). Ophir was selected to give the Frieda Fromm- Reichmann Memorial Lecture at The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis (2011) and was a runner up of the Tyson Award (IPA, 2013). As a clinician she worked at Shalvata Mental Health Center affiliated with the School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University (1992- 2008). Her new book Schizophrenia: An Unfinished History will be published by Polity in 2022.
Unconscious Death Wishes in Aetiology of Psychoses (click link for Eventbrite)
For many centuries, physicians have searched in vain for the biopathological origins of what has come to be known as “schizophrenia”. In spite of innumerable genetic, biochemical, and neuroanatomical investigations, researchers have not identified a clear form of organic causation. More recently, traditional psychiatric investigators have begun to appreciate the role of powerful “expressed emotion” in the families as schizophrenic patients as well as the high incidence of histories of sexual abuse.
Although researchers have begun to embrace the possibility of a psychosocial aetiology, psychoanalytical researchers have long suspected that the causes of severe psychoses may be located in early infancy. Drawing upon his many years of clinical work with long-stay, in-patients diagnosed as schizophrenic, Professor Brett Kahr will consider the role of unconscious death wishes in the development of this severe and debilitating state of mind. He will consider a variety of categories of death wish, including actual death threats and, also, both conscious and unconscious death wishes. He will illustrate these theories with case material from intensive, multi-frequency psychoanalytical and psychotherapeutic work.
Professor Brett Kahr has worked in the mental health profession for over forty years. He is Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London and, also, Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London. He is also Consultant in Psychology to The Bowlby Centre and, additionally, Consultant Psychotherapist at The Balint Consultancy, and works in full-time independent psychoanalytical practice with individuals and couples in Central London.
Trained at the University of Oxford, the University of London, the University of Cambridge, and, at both the Tavistock Clinic and Portman Clinic, he has specialised, over the years, in treating psychotic, forensic, and disabled patients, as well as couples and families. He served for many years as Staff Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Young Abusers Project, helping to promote early intervention for severely mentally ill children and adolescents at risk of perpetrating crimes.
Over the years, Kahr has worked not only as a clinician but, also, as an academic and as a broadcaster. He served for several years as Resident Psychotherapist to the British Broadcasting Corporation, speaking to over 15,000,000 people weekly about mental health matters. He is also Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council, designed to improve dialogue between psychoanalysts and academics.
As an historian of psychoanalysis, Professor Kahr has maintained a long-standing relationship with Freud Museum London and served as a Trustee for many years. More recently, he has become the museum’s Honorary Director of Research.
He is the author of sixteen books on a range of topics and series editor of an additional seventy titles. His solo-authored books include the very first biography of Donald Winnicott – D.W. Winnicott: A Biographical Portrait (Karnac Books, 1996) – which received the Gradiva Award for Biography in 1997, as well as The Times best-seller Sex and the Psyche (Allen Lane / Penguin Books, 2007) – a study of the traumatic origins of over 20,000 adult sexual fantasies. His most recent books include: Bombs in the Consulting Room: Surviving Psychological Shrapnel (Routledge, 2020) and Dangerous Lunatics: Trauma, Criminality, and Forensic Psychotherapy (Confer Books, 2020).
His forthcoming book is entitled Freud’s Pandemics: Surviving Global War, Spanish Flu, and the Nazis (Karnac Books, 2021), which has drawn upon his archival research at the Freud Museum London, investigating how Sigmund Freud survived a lifetime of violent attacks.
Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine (click link for Eventbrite)
This talk explores psychological expressions of self and collective assertion of sumud (stalwartness), as living practices under violent occupation and settler colonial violence in Palestine. The speakers will share a number of painful cases that speak to the politics of psychical and psychological asphyxiation imposed upon the Palestinian people by the settler colony known as Israel. These cases will highlight how Palestinian clinicians attend to how Palestinians, circumscribed by violence and death, operate internally and communally, within a psychic political-economy of life that defies being objectified as legible victim through human rights discourse. The speakers will centre how Palestinian psychoanalytic clinical practice and Palestinian “livability” function as various forms of sumud and a refusal to be metabolized by an apolitical psychoanalytic framework or Zionist ideological negation.
Lara Sheehi, PsyD (she/hers), is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the George Washington University's Professional Psychology Program. She teaches decolonial, liberatory and anti-oppressive theories and approaches to clinical treatment, case conceptualization, and community consultation. She is the secretary and president-elect of the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology (APA Division 39), and the chair of the Teachers' Academy of the American Psychoanalytic Association. She is co-editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality; co-editor of CounterSpace in Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society and on the editorial board for the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Lara is on the advisory board to the USA–Palestine Mental Health Network and Psychoanalysis for Pride. She is co-author with Stephen Sheehi of the book, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine (Routledge, 2022).
Stephen Sheehi (he/him; Michigan, Ph.D) is currently the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor of the Humanities at the Newhouse Center for Humanities at Wellesley College. He is also the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Middle East Studies in the Asian and Middle East Studies Program at William & Mary, where he is the founding Director of the Decolonizing Humanities Project. Prof. Sheehi is author of a number of articles, book chapters, commentaries and books; most recently, his co-authored book with Lara Sheehi, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine (Routledge, 2022) and Camera Palaestina: Photography and the Displaced Histories of Palestine, co-authored with S. Tamari and I. Nassar (University of California Press, 2022). He is a scholar of modern Arab culture, photography, and politics, Islamophobia and racism in North America, and decolonial studies.
This was the second installment of the Greene Clinic's speaker series on Community Psychoanalysis, featuring Camille Robcis.
This talk maps the intersections of politics, philosophy, and radical psychiatry in twentieth-century France. It focuses on a psychiatric movement called “institutional psychotherapy” which had an important influence on many intellectuals and activists, including François Tosquelles, Jean Oury, Felix Guattari, Frantz Fanon, Georges Canguilhem, and Michel Foucault. Anchored in Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, institutional psychotherapy advocated a fundamental restructuring of the asylum in order to transform the theory and practice of psychiatric care. More broadly, for many of these thinkers, the asylum could function as a microcosm for society at large and as a space to promote non-hierarchical and non-authoritarian political and social structures. Psychiatry, they contended, provided a template to better understand alienation and offer perspectives for “disalienation.”
Camille Robcis is Professor of French and History at Columbia University. She specializes in Modern European History with an emphasis on gender and sexuality, France, and intellectual, cultural, and legal history. She is especially interested in the intersections of politics and ideas. Her first book, The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in France was published by Cornell University Press in 2013 and won the 2013 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. It examines how French policy makers have called upon structuralist anthropology and psychoanalysis (specifically, the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jacques Lacan) to reassert the centrality of sexual difference as the foundation for all social and psychic organization. Her second book, Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France (University of Chicago Press, 2021) traces the history of institutional psychotherapy, a movement born in France during the Second World War that called for the profound transformation of the theory and practice of psychiatric care, through the lens of Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. She is currently working on a new project, The Gender Question: Populism, National Reproduction, and the Crisis of Representation which focuses on the protests against the so-called “theory of gender” throughout the world, especially in their conceptual links to populism. She has received fellowships from the Penn Humanities Forum, LAPA (Princeton Law and Public Affairs), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
This was the first installment of our Community Speaker series
Psychoanalysis for the Destitute
In the early 1930s, a popular Viennese newspaper published the article “psychoanalysis for the destitute” to report on the city’s accessible mental health programs. While requests for treatment at the psychoanalysts’ free clinic subsequently hit record numbers, the ambulatorium was actually just one of their many community-based services for poor or working-class people of all ages. Anna Freud advocated (as her father had) for an enlargement of state responsibility for mental health and, from the mid-1920s on, developed counseling centers located in the public schools and municipal housing. As this emerging research shows, the psychoanalysts of the first and second generations after Freud accomplished far more in marginalized communities than has been acknowledged to date.
Elizabeth Ann Danto is emeritus professor at Hunter College – City University of New York, and an independent curator who writes and lectures internationally on the history of psychoanalysis as a system of thought and a marker of urban culture. She is the author of Historical Research (Oxford University Press, 2008) and her book Freud’s Free Clinics – Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918–1938 (Columbia University Press, 2005) received the Gradiva Book Award and the Goethe Prize.
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