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October Scientific Meeting 10/22/22
October 22 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pmFree – $25.00
Western New England Psychoanalytic Society
Saturday, October 22, 2022 4–6 pm
via Zoom (link sent via email the day prior to meeting)
WNEPS members, WNEIP candidates and all students/trainees attend free
Non-members: $25 professional registration fee (includes CME/CE certificate with completed evaluation)
The Analyst’s Mortality: Risk, Possibility, and Gift:
There’s More Than One Person In This Room
Speaker: Ellen Pinsky, PsyD
Discussant: Shannon Drew, MD
[A]t bottom, no one believes in his own death . . .
–Freud (1915: 289)
In this paper, I address my personal experience of my analyst’s sudden death, linking that loss to a subject the literature has long neglected: a striking fact that led me to wonder why the analyst’s mortality is so particularly avoided in our profession. The universal – no one likes to think about death – is only the surface. I also found it challenging to answer the questions: What, or whom, exactly, had I lost? What had I been given?
The experience of that stunning loss led me to consider paradoxes inherent to the psychoanalytic situation, and in the very nature of our work. Exploring those contradictions, over time, charts my personal route to becoming an analyst. Central in that process has been the double meaning of “mortal”: The analyst is vulnerable (he or she can die) and also fallible (he or she can err). The analyst’s mortality underlies the work, at every moment – a robot or angel can’t do it. That same mortal nature also carries the potential for destruction. Thus, I was led to consider the issue of unethical behavior across a range: from mis-steps, to crimes.
I use the expression “mortal” gift to capture the double nature of the analyst’s offering: Only a human being can give it, and the gift can be lost or corrupted. For me, writing about psychoanalysis has been, among other things, a productive form of mourning.
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:
- Describe two paradoxes that arise in the therapeutic situation.
- List two reasons the analyst’s mortality has not been actively addressed in the psychoanalytic literature.
- Identify and critique one way the analyst’s mortality impacts therapeutic technique.
- Describe Pinsky’s concept of the double nature of the analyst’s offering: a mortal gift that is always vulnerable to corruption.
About Dr. Pinsky
Ellen Pinsky came to psychoanalysis as a second profession following 25 years as a middle school English teacher. She says her experience in the classroom with 12 and 13 year olds taught her most of what she needed to know to become a creditable clinician. She is the author of Death and Fallibility in the Psychoanalytic Encounter: Mortal Gifts (Routledge, 2017). About her book Thomas Ogden writes: “Mortal Gifts is a necessary book—necessary for analysts and necessary for the analyses they conduct. In it Ellen addresses a long-neglected issue in the practice of psychoanalysis: the analyst’s failure to include in the very fiber of the analysis the fact of his or her mortality.” [“Mortality” includes both body and being: the analyst is mortal and can die; the analyst is human and can err, and sometimes cause harm.] A 2006 graduate of BPSI, Ellen is on the faculty. In 2014 she was awarded BPSI’s Deutsch Prize for her essay “The Olympian Delusion” (JAPA, 2011).
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and Western New England Psychoanalytic Society. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.”
The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company.
This program is being reviewed for Continuing Education Credit hours by the NASW, CT to meet the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal.
A Certificate of Attendance for WNE Programs can be used to fulfill CE requirements for CT Psychologists.