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President's Letter


On behalf of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, I am pleased to welcome everyone to CCP’s 2021-2022 year. I hope that you have been faring well during these challenging times. As with just about everything in our lives, this past year has posed unprecedented demands upon us all. CCP is no exception. We are living through a period that is changing--and changing rapidly. We continue to adapt to a pandemic that poses not only health risks, but lays bare the deep psychological and socioeconomic divisions within our country and the with world at large. Access to treatment and care has always been unjustly distributed, but we now see its pernicious effects so starkly. Environmental disasters seem to be multiplying daily, and we witness their human and economic fallout. Continued industrialization and environmental degradation will likely hasten and produce more disasters. The racial unrest of the past year has catalyzed a renewed call to struggle and to transcend racism on all levels--from the structural to the personal. Overt and covert white supremacism has been expressed more aggressively, often with violent results. We see authoritarian, illiberal, and proto-fascist tendencies emerge. These dangerous, destructive forces are encouraged and exploited by political leaders.

All of these conditions have required CCP, and psychoanalysis writ large, to confront difficult questions. How can psychoanalysis build upon its roots as part of a progressive vanguard that links the personal with the social and political? How can we serve those most in need when the current socioeconomic and political system militates against recognizing that all people are more than we can see, and that analytically informed work plays an essential role in nurturing depth of feeling and of thought for all, especially for the marginalized and the oppressed. How can we renew our commitment to extend the reach of the analytic vision in new ways and thus create a more just society? How do we build genuine and lasting bridges to others and make the world what it should be? In a time that seems to expect quick and facile solutions to complex questions, can we find our collective voice so that we may ask difficult questions, reveal painful truths, and help create a potential space that resonates from the individual to the societal? How can CCP address these issues in ways that are both meaningful and enduring?

During these difficult times, how then can I welcome you to our new year? This is the point in the president’s letter where I reassure the membership and reassert the soundness of our organization. I cannot simply do this without pointing out old and new challenges that lay ahead. The danger as I see it is either to close ranks and develop an organizational myopia on the one hand, or to become so diffuse that we lose focus and thereby fail to make effective use of our capabilities on the other. Nonetheless, as an open and progressive center for psychoanalytic learning and training, CCP has many strengths to share. From its inception, CCP has been flexible and forward thinking. We continue to find ways to liberate ourselves from the myriad strictures that have limited the psychoanalytic vision, and to find creative ways to expand it.

Through the dedicated work of our community, especially Carol Ganzer and Peter Reiner (our Past President and Vice President), we have built upon our traditions, we have risen to current challenges, and we have even thrived during the past year. Through our use of Zoom and other platforms, we have welcomed members who reside beyond our Chicago community. As a result, colleagues from throughout our country and around the world have discovered the richness of our programs. Now, all CCP training programs offer distance components so that many more colleagues may participate, learn, and contribute to our organization. Our membership has consequently grown, as have the number of applications to our training programs.

Within our scope as a center for psychoanalytic training and education, we have begun a multi-year effort to address the conditions that I have outlined in this address. During the past year, we have established the Hedda Bolgar Lecture Series. The Bolgar lectures are dedicated to extending psychoanalysis in new ways, especially in the service of addressing the needs of those who are marginalized and oppressed. Thanks to the leadership of Claude Barbre, we are inaugurating the Bolgar lecture series this fall with three programs in honor of the pioneering work of Margaret Morgan Lawrence, the first African American psychoanalyst. All three Bolgar lectures will address matters of race from a psychoanalytic perspective. CCP will offer an additional Friday program in February on White privilege, given by Neil Altman. This naturally will extend and deepen the understanding gained from our thought-provoking program on White privilege that CCP offered this past April. This year, CCP has nearly doubled our Friday evening offerings. Indeed, we have increased the number of our superb Friday programs to an unprecedented 14. 

During the past year, CCP has opened representation on our Board of Directors so that diverse voices not only can be heard, but also participate in charting our course. We will continue to find ways to become even more inclusive. When the pandemic began, CCP offered two new consultation groups addressing the challenges faced by child clinicians who were struggling to engage their young patients virtually. Diane Selinger graciously hosted both consultation groups. As a testament to their importance, these groups will continue into the coming year. CCP will begin to offer other new educational opportunities for our members. Under the thoughtful leadership of Paul Sanders, a committee of the Board is addressing the needs of our members who desire to participate in more intimate and ongoing ways through consultation and study groups. 

As I wrote earlier in this address, CCP has attracted more applicants to our training programs. Colleagues from throughout the United States and the world have applied to CCP’s Distance Without a Difference training program and have joined our Chicago based candidates in psychoanalysis. Our Curriculum Committee continues to seek out exceptional visiting faculty who are on the cutting edge of psychoanalysis. Thanks to the work of Adina Keesom and her committee, enrollment in our two-year training program in psychoanalytic psychotherapy has doubled.  Peter Reiner has organized exceptional, focused courses through our Psychoanalytic Explorations program, and he has recruited an outstanding cadre of instructors to teach in it. The Fellowship program, led by Julia Brown, Nancy Peltzman and their committee have once again assembled a large and enthusiastic group of fellows, group leaders, and mentors for the coming year. Numbers may be important, but I am equally impressed by the dedication and professional qualifications of our trainees and of our fellows.

This is all exciting, but there is more work to do. Due to restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, we have not been able to meet in person. Although online programs do extend our reach, the lack of personal contact has affected our normally tightknit community. CCP is planning to hold in-person meetings of our membership this year. However, changing public health requirements may restrict us from truly meeting together. I know that we are hoping to see one another in person soon, but we may need to adapt to the vicissitudes of the pandemic. CCP is continuing to find ways to make greater use of our faculty and other CCP members in our training and educational programs. Our community has much to offer. CCP will continue to further the cause of social justice in ways that are congruent with our mission and within our means as a center for psychoanalytic thought and training. We certainly will add our voice to and work with allied organizations to promote this cause. In keeping with psychoanalytic practice, we also will look inward, as individuals and as an organization, to embody our values more fully.

These are trying times. There has never been a pandemic of this magnitude. Indeed, amidst the compound tragedies of the Influenza epidemic of 1917-1918 and the first world war Freud and his collaborators were still formulating classical psychoanalytic theory and technique. They could scarcely begin to imagine how the world and psychoanalysis itself have changed during the past 100 years. I hope that, when our psychoanalytic progeny look back at our time, they may deem our struggles worthy, and build upon the best that we have to offer. The path ahead is daunting and fraught with obstacles that seem beyond our ability to make a meaningful difference. We must never lose sight of the importance of our work and our roles as agents of progressive change. Let us dedicate ourselves to this cause and extend the psychoanalytic vision to meet the challenges that we face today and undoubtably will face in the future. CCP is an extraordinary community and organization. I invite you to engage with us and enrich CCP. Together we can broaden and deepen psychoanalysis and work together for a just world, where our environment is cherished, and where humanity lives fully and deeply.

I wish you all a meaningful, fulfilling, and healthy year.

Warmly,

Alan


Alan J. Levy, PhD

President, The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis

 


"Nothing human is alien to me"  --Terrence

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