2016 ORI’s Annual Conference: Women's Voices in Psychoanalysis: Erased or Forgotten

– Co-sponsored by St. John’s University’s Psychology Department and the Office of Postgraduate Professional Development Programs

Date & time: Saturday, March 19th, 2016 (9:15 am - 4:30 pm)

Location: St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, 101 Astor Place, NYC, 10003

Earn 4.5 CE / post-graduate / psychoanalytic education credits! [NYS CEU for SW credits – are pending]

Presenters: Jeffrey Lewis, PhD and B. William Brennan, ThM, MA, LMHC

Discussant: Eva Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP

Moderator: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, D.Litt

This full day conference will put a highlight on lives and contributions to psychoanalysis by women who were “erased or forgotten”: Sabina Spielrein, Izette de Forest, Elizabeth Severn, Clara Thompson, Alice Balint, and Enid Balint.

Psychoanalytic theory and practice was originated and advanced by men. To say that psychoanalysis was male-centric would be an understatement. From Freud’s original work to the Wednesday Psychological Society, women had only a faint voice in the early psychoanalytic movement. However, as the 20th century progressed so did the presence of women in psychoanalysis.  Theorist/clinicians such as Anna Freud,  Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Hanna Segal, Helene Deutsch, Joyce McDougal, to name a few, had begun to make significantand enduring contributions, garnering their share of notoriety, respect and recognition, challenging the male dominated establishment. 

When we move beyond the women mentioned above, the voices of the early psychoanalytic contributors become even more remote and faint. If one was to ask, “Who was Sabina Spielrein?” – the best answer will be mostly based on Sabina’s story of her time as a patient of Carl Jung, who he treated forhysteria, who later became infamously known as Carl Jung’s lover.  But her story does not end there; following her time with both Jung and Freud, she too became an analyst, and also an original thinker in this new field.  Very few will know that Sabina Spielrein was the first one who proposed the idea of the duality of instinctual life, represented in the life and death instincts, which was incorporated by Sigmund Freud, and given a credit in his Beyond the Pleasure Principle. It was Sabina who discussed with Melanie Klein her interest in child development and the importance of early oral feeding (sucking), and the mother’s breast; and she was the first female who had presented a psychoanalytic paper for the doctorate degree, and promoted psychoanalytic thought in Russia, adding that she was a pioneer in the treatment of children in a “psychoanalytic nursery”, until Stalin banned psychoanalysis all together.

Similarly, if one is asked about Izette de Forest, Elizabeth Severn, or even Clara Thompson (who was considered to be Ferenczi’s American protégé) – it will usually take a “Ferenzian” to tell you that – besides being “Ett.,” “R.N.,” and “Dm.” in Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary – these women had contributed significantly to Ferenczi’s revolutionary clinical armamentarium of "relaxation", "elastic",  and "active" techniques, as well as his “mutual analysis” therapeutic experiment; and increased empathy in working with trauma, something that prior psychoanalytic tradition did not consider to prioritize, but what is on the top of the list in the context of the contemporary psychoanalytic thinking worldwide.

This conference aims to reach further into the historical record and bring long overdue recognition to the incredibly influential female voices in the formative phase of psychoanalysis, much of whom were discarded, marginalized, or forgotten (perhaps repressed) from the narrative of the psychoanalytic movement.   Our distinguished speakers will include: Jeffrey Lewis, PhD (representing the voice of Sabina Spielrein); B. William Brennan, ThM, MA, LMHC (representing the voices of “Ferenczi’s women,” Izette de Forest, Elizabeth Severn, and Clara Thompson); and Eva Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP (our discussant, who also will bring to light the contributions to psychoanalysis of two wives of Michael Balint, Alice and Enid Balint). We will dedicate a significant part of this conference to the panel discussion and to questions and answers between the presenters and the attendees. Let their voices be heard!

For more information about the conference, please visit http://www.orinyc.org/conf.html .

To register: send your registration forms (http://www.orinyc.org/Registration-form.html) and payment to: ORI Administrator; 75-15 187 Street; Fresh Meadows, NY, 11366-1725. Or, email the registration form and the PayPal receipt to adminorinyc@gmail.com. 

Special scholarships for undergraduate/ graduate students, retiredpractitioners, as well as for group registration, are available. For more information, contact ORI administrator by email Admin@ORINYC.org or by phone 646-522-1056.