Board approves organizational effectiveness recommendations

In January, the Institute board approved governance changes that empower the Institute president, dean and a new Faculty Senate to lead the organization more effectively.

“By approving the Organizational Effectiveness Task Force’s recommendations, we have ensured our governance structure is as contemporary as the Institute’s psychoanalytic mission and practice,” said Board Chair Robert Graham.

In fall 2017, the board created the Organizational Effectiveness Task Force, led by Vice Chair Stephen Berger.  Task Force and board members were most concerned to maintain educational excellence and develop collaborative plans with the faculty to enhance existing programs as well as to reorganize the governance of the Institute consistent with that goal and  modern practices.

They cited as one positive example the new partnership with the Institute for Clinical Social Work to open up degree possibilities for Institute students and welcome ICSW students to Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute programs.  To meet the organization’s needs they approved several changes, including:

  • President: The board approved expanding the president position from half- to nearly full-time. This will allow President Erika Schmidt additional time to lead the activities of the Institute, including fundraising.
  • Faculty Senate: The board also created a new body of seven faculty members plus the dean to consult with and advise the president, dean and board. Faculty members will serve staggered two-year terms; the dean will be a non-voting member. In an election concluded February 25, the faculty elected Laura Esikoff, MA, Steven Flagel, MD, Charles Jaffe, MD, Ann Kaplan, PhD, Mark Levey, MD, Kate Schechter, PhD and Molly Witten, PhD as the first members of the new faculty senate.
  • Dean and Academic Committees: The dean will be responsible for selecting faculty committee chairs, who will organize their respective committees.
  • Search Committees: The board also provided for creation of search committees, comprised jointly of both faculty and board members, to lead the search for candidates to fill future openings in the president and dean positions.

President Erika Schmidt thanked board and faculty members for their leadership: “I’m grateful to our board and faculty for the effort they invested in the Institute’s long-term viability with our re-branding and recent governance changes,” she said. “Future therapists and their patients, the Chicago region, and our discipline will all benefit from their work.”

Institute, faculty, Board

Franz Alexander Legacy Society profile: board member Eva Lichtenberg

Eva LichtenbergThe Franz Alexander Legacy Society honors individuals who have included the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute in their will, trust or other charitable planned gift.  Legacy Society members envision the future and are determined to keep Franz Alexander’s mission, to better understand human beings and help them live better lives, alive forever. This is the first in a series of profiles of Franz Alexander Society inaugural members.


Setting an example & supporting psychoanalysis: board member Eva Lichtenberg

Former board chair and current board member Eva Lichtenberg, a clinical psychologist, says she might have become an analyst herself if the profession had opened to non-MDs sooner.

“With my family income and background, medical school wasn’t in the cards,” Lichtenberg, 85, recalls. She and her family arrived in Chicago in 1941 from Czechoslovakia via Japan as Jewish refugees.  Scholarships covered the cost of her education but not living costs. She calculated that she could work as a teaching assistant while earning her PhD in psychology, unlike in a medical doctor program.

The year she applied, University of Chicago’s psychology department accepted 17 students: “[T]wo were women and the rest were men. They told me, ‘you’re taking the place of a man… you’re going to get married, stop working and waste a place.’ I said, ‘I’m qualified. Let that be my problem.”

Lichtenberg did marry—her husband was a successful businessman who “could make 5 out of 2 and 2—legally,” she jokes—and had a son.  She started her still-running private practice as her son grew up (After her first husband passed away more than 30 years ago, she met and married Institute faculty member Arnold Tobin).  

Lichtenberg joined the Institute board in 1998. Around 2008 she decided to include the Institute in her will.  “I have to say, planned giving is relatively painless,” Lichtenberg says. “I am a firm believer that you give your kids an education and after that, unless they are ill, then they should be able to independently fend for themselves.

“But one thing people worry about is ‘will I have enough money left to take care of myself until the end of my life?’ With planned giving … that’s not an issue,” Lichtenberg says.

Initially, she gave as a board member and leader.  But she continues to enjoy the programs of the Institute, such as continuing education and to support the mission of sustaining psychoanalysis as a clinical practice and a theory of mind.

“People take it for granted, but psychoanalysis is the trunk of the tree from which virtually all other therapy models branch off,”  Lichtenberg says. But, psychoanalysis is also important for the way it is taught across a range of disciplines, she adds: “Our whole discourse about people, movies, theatre, music has been changed and made more understandable by psychoanalytic thinking.”

donors, profiles, Board, franz alexander

Institute welcomes new board members, hears Grief Center update

Judy Schiffman updates Institute Board on Barr Harris Childrens Grief CenterJudy Schiffman presented to Institute board members as part of a "mission moment" at our December meeting.

The Institute board welcomed new members Jacques Gourguechon, AIPC, LPC; Ellen Rosenberg, PhD, and Jesse Viner, MD at its December 11 meeting.

Board members also heard about the Institute’s clinical services from Judy Schiffman, director of the Institute’s Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center, as part of a “mission moment” during the meeting.

Mission Moment: Grief counseling for children & families

Soon after the Institute created the Children’s Grief Center in 1976, leaders decided to add local treatment centers to increase access to care in neighborhoods and suburbs around the region.

Expansion began on the Southwest and South sides of Chicago at Little Company of Mary and La Rabida Children’s hospitals,, then grew to include northern suburbs Evanston and Deerfield. Interns, recruited from eight graduate schools around the region, also work with children in Chicago and Evanston public schools.

As with all the Institute’s treatment centers, fees are set on a sliding scale and no-one is denied treatment because of inability to pay. Immediate consultation is offered to families who have suffered a loss, and children and families are treated for as long as there is a need.

The Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center can be reached at (312) 897-1410 (leave voicemail outside of office hours) or by email to Staff there help callers determine the closest and most convenient location.


In Memoriam: Arthur M. Sussman, former Board Chair

IArt Sussmant is with great sadness that we announce the death of former Board Chair Arthur M. Sussman (“Art”). A citizen of Chicago, and the world, Art worked to ensure that there was a place for psychoanalysis in modern society, while also helping formulate the Institute’s ongoing strategic vision.

A well respected leader, known for both his humor and his ability to manage complex projects, Art cared deeply about issues as wide-ranging as the arts, human rights and biodiversity preservation.

Art also served in a variety of roles including General Counsel and Vice President for Administration and Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago and Vice President at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as Fulbright fellow, photographer, traveler, husband, father and grandfather.

“As Board Chair, Art had a vision for rethinking the place and role of the Institute and he initiated our strategic planning process so we could collaborate on the process of moving forward. Art brought wry insight and much wisdom to this role and he will be greatly missed,” said Erika Schmidt, MSW, President, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.

Art Sussman, Board