Congratulations to 2019 graduates

Collage of 2019 graduation images

Photos by Tone Stockenstrom Photography, Inc. From top left, standing ovation for the graduates; Board Chair Bob Graham recognized Dean Neal Spira and Associate Dean Leo Weinstein, graduates with Director of Education Administration Alison Chandler,  Joann Dakota Cimo introduced Teacher of the Year Ann Kaplan, 2019, and Weinstein and Spira with guitars. See more graduation photos here


Faculty, students and friends of the Institute gathered Friday, June 14 to celebrate 31 graduates of Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought and the Adult Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Education programs.

Board Chair Bob Graham, representing both the board and also President Erika Schmidt who was unable to attend, recognized outgoing Dean Neal Spira and Associate Dean Leo Weinstein for their service to the Institute over the past five years.


“They’ve been thoughtful, caring and successful in their collaboration with colleagues and everybody at the Institute,” Graham said. “They’ve also been excellent sounding boards about every proposal. Neal and Leo think things through and help us reach decisions we need to reach. As Erika stated in preparation for tonight, we’re very appreciative for that and also for their vision of psychoanalysis as revolutionary, individualistic and very powerful.”  New Dean Prudy Gourguechon’s term begins July 1.


Also recognized for service to the Institute was Dale Gody, outgoing director of the Exploring Psychoanalysis Program (Nancy Lawrenz has already taken leadership of the program, which is currently recruiting new students). The Institute Candidates Association, represented by Joann Dakota Cimo and Chris Rigling, named Ann Kaplan as Teacher of the Year.


There was also music, as Spira and Weinstein serenaded the group, and even led a singalong, on guitar.  Congratulations to our 2019 graduates:


Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought

Feras Alawad*

Marina Bayeva

Mark Chapman

Laura Li Chunman*

Indrany Datta-Barua

Matthew Friedman

Sand Lan Jiang*

Leo Qiang Kang*

Lisa Ann Karaitis

Ethan Karsen

Arlette Kopeliovich*

Benjamin H. Lang

Lolly Lederer Connolly

Marielle Mershart

Michael A. Morin

Jenna Peterson

Ari Richelson

Eugene Sampson

Karyn E. Sandlos

Timothy Michael Sawyier

David Sholtes

Laurel Spindel

Olivia Torres*

Ban Ying*


Adult Psychotherapy Program

Lyndal Diane Andrews

Emily R. Knotek

Mollye Levy


Psychoanalytic Education Program

Linda L. Emanuel

Susan Pearlson

David Powell

Gail Richman


* denotes distance students



graduation, students, faculty

Institute names new dean

Prudy Gourguechon headshotPresident Erika Schmidt announced in June that Prudence Gourguechon, MD, will be the next Dean of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, effective July 1. 

Schmidt thanked outgoing Dean Neal Spira for his five years of service, recognizing his contribution to the substantial developments that have occurred at the Institute in that period, and welcomed Gourguechon.

“Prudy brings a broad perspective on psychoanalysis to the position of Dean along with a wealth of administrative and implementation experience,” Schmidt said.  “She is eager to bring her extensive experience with psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic organizations to the challenges the Chicago Institute faces as we move forward.”

Among other qualifications, Gourguechon is a past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association (2008-2010), as well as serving in other leadership posts at APsaA.  She is a 1994 graduate of the Institute's Psychoanalytic Education Program.

Gourguechon noted Spira set an inspiring example to follow: “I hold Neal up as an ideal of good humor, positivity and sensibility and will strive to measure up to the high standard he has set,” she said. “I look forward to working with all of you--those I know well and those I hope to know well--faculties, board members, staff and students.  Please call, email, text or stop me in the halls with any ideas or questions you have.”

Professional and Personal Background

In 2017, Gourguechon closed her clinical psychiatry and psychoanalytic practice of 35 years to found Invantage Advising, a consulting firm offering psychoanalytically based insights to leaders in business and finance, organizations and professionals.   She also works as a writer and speaker on topics including the psychology of money, investing, the new retirement, and career shifts.  She blogs regularly for on the psychology of business and especially leadership strategy. 

She also developed a comprehensive communications strategic plan for the International Psychoanalytical Association and has conducted numerous workshops nationally and internationally to help colleagues learn to use social media, blogging and websites to enhance the public's understanding of psychoanalysis.

She is a graduate of Yale College, the University of Michigan Medical School and completed psychiatric training at Northwestern.  She co-founded the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and serves as Vice President of the World Mental Health Coalition.  Currently she is working on a book titled Starting Older: Understanding and Making the Most of a New Life Stage.  She lives in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood with her husband Jacques.  She has two adult children and two adult step-children and regrets that none of them live in Chicago.


Theory and practice blend in Exploring Psychoanalysis class

Top, At the last class of the year, Exploring Psychoanalysis participants welcomed incoming program director Nancy Lawrenz, back row third from left, and offered appreciation for outgoing director Dale Gody, fourth from left.  Below, photos of Peñate and of Busch and Murphy.

The first Saturday in June marked the last class for Exploring Psychoanalysis participants. As they had once a month since September,  students met to discuss readings and topics in psychoanalytic psychotherapy followed by a case conference where one of their own would present on an aspect of their clinical work.

The free program provides an entree into psychodynamic psychotherapy for eligible students and professionals who want to know more and, often, apply it to their own practice.  Participants meet once a month to discuss assigned topical readings and participate in case conferences. Each has a mentor drawn from among the Institute faculty.

The deadline for next fall is July 12; learn more and apply here.

This June marked the final class for Dale Gody, who has taught in the program for five years and directed it for the past four, as she prepares to move out of the area.  Also at the class was Nancy Lawrenz, a faculty member and psychologist in private practice who is the incoming Exploring Psychoanalysis program director.

As the final class of the year came to an end, appreciation for the program and Gody’s role came from the students, a diverse group of mental-health practitioners, advanced psychiatry students, academics, and others.  

That mix was a big part of the value of the program for Northwestern palliative care chaplain and educator Edward Peñate.  The interdisciplinary nature of the group added to discussions about the concepts covered, he said.

Exploring Psychoanalysis students Bianca Pullen Busch, a psychiatry resident at University of Chicago Medical Center said she was pleasantly surprised by how accessible the program was.  Busch signed up for Exploring Psychoanalysis despite concerns about the time commitment.

"I’m glad I did,” Busch said. "It’s been refreshing to be among other [types of] mental health professionals and to think about what’s happening [more] psychologically [than] medically.” Busch and other students particularly appreciated Gody’s willingness to talk about her practice from a personal point of view — such as honest conversations on transference and counter-transference where the group debated dealing with both a patient’s and their own intense feelings in the analysis.

Michelle Murphy, a psychiatry resident at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, added that she also found support in the group. "It was such a warm embrace into this community and my own personal and professional development,” Murphy said.  Combined with her interest in the subject matter, it led Murphy to go deeper in her study of psychoanalysis: she decided to enroll in the Institute's Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought for 2019-20. "I wanted more of this sort of training and was interested in pursuing my own analysis, so this was a wonderful entry,” she said.

students, Programs, exploring psychoanalysis, faculty

From the Library Collection: "Assessing Schizophrenic Thinking"

Many of the books in the collection at the Institute's McLean Library were written by clinicians practicing at the Institute. From time to time, we try to highlight some of their published work. Here we offer a brief description of one of these publications, “Assessing Schizophrenic Thinking,” by faculty member Holly Johnston, PhD.

Johnston published the book in 1979 with her dissertation head and mentor Dr. Philip S. Holzman. The book provides a detailed description of the Thought Disorder Index, a measurement tool that Johnston developed for her PhD dissertation. She expanded and adapted this index from an older scale used at the Menninger Clinic in the 1950s, where Holzman had studied and taught before coming to Chicago in the 1970s.

Johnston’s book with Holzman builds on her previous research on schizophrenia. Both the Thought Disorder Index and the book have been cited frequently in subsequent publications right up to the present day.


library, schizophrenia, faculty

Alumna Stephanie Fariss joins faculty

Stephanie FarissIn December, Dean Neal Spira announced the addition of Stephanie Fariss, JD, LCSW to the Institute faculty.  Fariss graduated from the Psychoanalytic Education Program in June 2018.  She previously served as president of the Candidates’ Association and candidate representative to the Institute’s Education Council and Board of Trustees.   

Fariss left her life as an attorney in Texas in 1992, when she moved to Chicago and began clinical work with patients with severe characterological disorders at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Outpatient Treatment Center.  She was one of the clinicians who established the Warren Wright Adolescent Program at Northwestern in 1994, where she took a special interest in the treatment of young women suffering from trauma, and later became the program’s clinical coordinator.  She started a private practice in 1994.

She is a graduate and faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago’s Analyst Training Program and a board member of the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism.  She previously served on the Board of Trustees of Mental Health America of Illinois and participated for several years on a panel at national and international group conferences on the “social unconscious,” which was later published.

Fariss has a particular interest in the integration of multiple theoretical perspectives in psychoanalytic practice and the relevance of psychoanalysis to current and historical social issues such as gender, race, politics and animal welfare.  Her most recent personal project has been the rescue of over 500 companion animals from kill shelters for the last four years.  She aspires to write about the value companion animals bring to the experience of being human, especially as it relates to emotional regulation and development in children and adults. 


Robert Fajardo: Investing in a ‘hospitable and diverse institution’

Robert FajardoThe 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 second in a series of profiles of Franz Alexander Society inaugural members.

Psychoanalysts and psychotherapists may gather in other places, but for psychiatrist Robert Fajardo no-where else is quite like the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.  Fajardo says he joined the Franz Alexander Society as a way to invest in the “collaborating kind of atmosphere” that has sustained him since he became a student at the Institute in 1970. 

Fajardo still recalls the conversation at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine in which a mentor, Norman Reider, suggested he go to Chicago for training. Reider told Fajardo he would like the Chicago Institute because, in spite of differing paradigms, varied perspectives, and divergent personalities, it was a psychoanalytic center with a fair amount of collaboration. Fajardo says Reider’s insight was a worthy one that still holds true today: “I find this to be a hospitable and diverse learning institution.”

Case in point: in the 1980s, Fajardo’s late wife Barbara was in the forefront of lobbying the Institute to allow practitioners with PhDs to train as analysts. It was different from his earlier experience; “I had been trained ‘MD, MD, MD,’” he says. But the Institute and field not only survived the controversy, they have thrived with the inclusion of differently-degreed professionals.

Members of the Institute also come together to take care of each other. When Barbara Fajardo grew sick and later passed away as a result of uterine cancer, her wariness of the analyst assistance committee at the time led him to subsequently become involved with their work. Today, he serves as chair of the Joint Psychoanalyst Assistance Committee.

Thinking about the future, Fajardo says he imagines the discipline will continue to evolve. “Psychoanalysis is not a fixed and stationary process,” he says. He anticipates the faculty will continue to develop their own many perspectives, while maintaining collaboration all the while. 

Making that future a bit more assured is the reason he encourages others to join him in becoming members of the Franz Alexander Legacy Society. “Many of us often just don’t think about it,” he says. “It’s important to be respectful to our family, but also to assist the Institute that has given, and continues to give, each of us so much.”

fundraising, faculty, Franz Alexander Society

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

Benedek Lectures Now Available Online

Past curators of the Helen McLean Library and Franz Alexander Archives at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute have left behind an extensive, well-organized and well-preserved collection of archival materials. Library staff are working to digitize and share some of this material as time permits. 

One of the best examples of their work is the archival collection of Therese Benedek, M.D., one of the first faculty members of the Institute, who taught and practiced here from 1936 to 1969.

Benedek joined the Institute at the invitation of director Franz Alexander, M.D. She followed a similar path as Alexander: both were Hungarian Jews who emigrated to the U.S. to escape the growing Nazi threat. During her tenure here, Benedek authored or co-authored nearly a dozen books and nearly three dozen journal articles. She is known best for her studies of the psychosexual functions of women, although she also wrote about depression and veteran’s issues.

In 1959, Benedek published the article, “Parenthood as a Developmental Phase—A Contribution to the Libido Theory.” The article was groundbreaking in challenging the long-held notion that personality integration concludes in adolescence. “Personality development continues beyond adolescence,” Benedek wrote, “under the influence of reproductive physiology, and…parenthood utilizes the same primary processes which operate from infancy on in mental growth and development.”

Benedek left the Institute more than a dozen archival boxes and loose materials. Below are links to surviving transcriptions of lectures Benedek gave in 1954 and 1955 for her course, “Evolution of Psychoanalytic Concepts.” 


We are working to digitize and catalog more documents like these to benefit professionals and researchers interested in learning more about the roots of the psychoanalytic profession. If you are interested in specific archival materials, please contact librarian John Leonard at (312) 897-1419 or


faculty, research, archives

Former Director Jerome Winer, MD

Dr Winer headshotWith sadness, we share that Jerry Winer died Dec. 28.  Among his many accomplishments, he was the Institute Director for two terms and within APsaA helped educate the membership on the need for analyst assistance committees.  Jerry had been living in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania for the past several years, close to his children.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 53 years, Inge, and his children, Rebecca, Liz and Sam, his grandchildren, Noah, Naomi and Benjamin, a sister and an uncle.  The funeral took place Sunday, December 30 at Ohev Shalom Sanctuary in Wallingford, Pa. 

The family has asked donations in Jerry's memory be sent to Ohev Shalom in Wallingford or Beth Israel in Media, Pennsylvania; KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, or to the American Civil Liberties Union. A brief obituary and place to leave messages for the family is online here

faculty, obituaries

Kudos to our authors & honorees- 2017-18

The following list reflects publications and honors of Institute faculty, students and recent alumni from November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018. Faculty, students and alumni are invited to send news of your accomplishments to Librarian John Leonard,


Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Director Denia Barrett served as section editor for “So you want to start a psychoanalytic school? Succumbing to an ‘almost irresistible temptation,’” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume 71, 2018, pp.  130-136 and 201-204.

Denia co-authored with board and faculty member Tom Barrett “On Prepuberty and the Role of Testicles in Psychosexual Development,” Moscow, NLO Publ.,Vestnik MPO [Bulletin of the MPS], no.  5, 2018, p. 129-156 (in Russian). Tom also authored a chapter on "Clinical Interventions with Sexually Abused Children" that is forthcoming, The Rape of Childhood: Developmental, Clinical, and Sociocultural Aspects of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Salman Akhtar, ed., Lexington Books 2019.

Faculty member Harold Bendicsen’s book Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience and Adolescent Development will be published in February by Routledge.  It explores how new research in the fields of neuroscience and developmental processes can inform psychoanalytic treatment.

Open Classes Student Denise Davis published Bounded Openness: A Secure Base For Expansion and Creativity” in Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, Volume 13, Number 3, 2018, pages 288-298.

Faculty member Ed Kaufman had two poems  and a photograph published in East on Central: A Journal of Arts and Letters from Highland Park, Illinois, 2018-19.  

Faculty member Jonathan Lear’s article "Gettysburg Mourning," appears in Critical Inquiry 45, no. 1 (Autumn 2018): 97-121.

Faculty member and graduate Gavin Mullen’s collection of Arnold Goldberg’s Selected Papers, organizing the thought and writings of our retired faculty member and former director, was nominated for the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize for 2017.  Mullen wanted to collect Goldberg’s contributions when he retired as a useful reference for psychotherapists and to distinguish his contributions from those of his mentor, Institute luminary and father of self psychology Heinz Kohut.   

“It’s easy to think of Goldberg’s work as an extension of Heinz Kohut, until you read each article and see, over the span of 50 years, the development of Goldberg’s thoughts,” Mullen says.  “Goldberg makes use of the foundation of self psychology but he really built the structure.… In many ways he is completely his own person.” Goldberg commented that he gave Mullen complete freedom to choose from among the 80 books and 150 articles he has authored to date.   


Board member Martha Nussbaum received the 2018 Berggruen Prize for her work that “shows how philosophy, far from being merely an armchair discipline, offers a greater understanding of who we are, our place in the world, and a way to live a well-lived life.”


Clinician Aileen Schloerb contributed a chapter on her work with at-risk youth in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, “The City Project,”  to Violent States and Creative States, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.

Institute President Erika Schmidt’s article “Educating Psychoanalysts for the Future of Psychoanalysis” appeared in Progress in Psychoanalysis: Envisioning the Future of the Profession, edited by Steven D.  Axelrod, Ronald C. Naso, Larry M.  Rosenberg. Routledge, 2018.

Recent graduate Christopher Skeaff’s book, Becoming Political: Spinoza’s Vital Republicanism and the Democratic Power of Judgment was published by University of Chicago Press (2018).

Candidate Maranda Sze edited and contributed articles to Infant and Young Child Observation in China (Mind in Mind Education and Counseling, 2018).  The book includes 14 articles by graduates and faculty of Mind in Mind’s Observational Studies Program as well as U.S-based  faculty members from the Washington School of Psychiatry, with which Mind in Mind is affiliated. Sze writes that this is the first book to collect original theses, written in Chinese, based on observational materials of local families in China.

The new book includes sections on methodology, vignettes from infant and nursery observation, and the connection between observational skills and clinical work with parents and infants, children and adults.  “Besides universal interests like the affective world of infants, the relationship between the mind and the body, sibling rivalry, aggression, separation, playing, and entering into nursery,” Sze says, “the book also illustrates perhaps more unique experiences in China, for example, multi-caretakers and yue saos - nannies that take care of the mother and the baby in the first months.”  

Board and faculty member Jesse Viner authored several essays and presentations: “How Neuroscience Informs Treatment of Trauma,” International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation, Chicago, April 2018; “How Neuroscience Informs Treatment,” National Association of Therapeutic Schools & Programs Midwest Conference, Lake Geneva Wisconsin, September 2018; “Deep TMS for MDD and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse Disorder,” presented at International Clinical TMS Society Meeting, NYC, May 2018, and “Deep TMS for Obsessional Thinking: ACC Deregulation & Genomics as Outcome Markers,” presented at International Clinical TMS Society Meeting, NYC, May 2018; the latter two will be published in Brain Stimulation.

faculty, research, kudos