Congratulations to our 2018 graduates


Dacia Harrold speakingTeachers of the year embrace

Graduate Dacia Harrold was among those who spoke, and Teachers of the Year Barbara Rocah and Cliff Wilkerson were recognized. Photos by Toya Werner Martin.



Gratitude and appreciation for those who helped and supported them were some of the emotions graduates expressed as the Institute recognized its 2018 class and teachers of the year on June 22.

Graduates from the intensive Psychoanalytic Education Program spoke briefly in recognition of their achievement.

“It was at times fascinating, also at times trying or overwhelming,” Dacia J. Harrold told the group. “[M]oments of joy and also moments of disappointment. It was all the things that comprise a full life experience, one that pushes you to grow.”

Dean Neal Spira recognized finishing students. He noted the Psychoanalytic Education Program, our core offering, has four major components:

  • a personal analysis
  • supervision of clinical cases, which provides an apprenticeship approach in how to care for patients
  • a course component, which begins with the Fundamentals year taken by students across all Education Programs
  • a strong focus on development and looking at psychoanalysis across the lifespan

Also honored at the event were two Teachers of the Year. Kathleen O’Connor, president of the candidates’ association at the Institute, presented faculty members Barbara Rocah and Cliff Wilkerson with the recognition. Rocah taught for 48 years, and Wilkerson for 42.

“Thank you to all the candidates,” Rocah said. “[Teaching them] sometime confirmed what we learned in theory, and sometimes led us into uncharted knowledge… I think this is the best job in the world.”

Congratulations to this year’s graduates:

Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought

Alan Davis, PhD

Mollye Levy, PsyD

Natalia Maltsev, MD, PhD

Russell Newstadt, PhD

Jessica Ngiam, BA

Tod A. Olson, MS

Michael Topel, PsyD

William J.  Winger, LPC


Adult Psychotherapy Program

Brian Sheehan Brown, PsyD

Benjamin Fogel, LCSW

Matthew Frantz, LCPC

Stella Kiser, JD. LCSW

Benjamin Schwartz, PsyD

Hannah Weiss, LPC

Offer Zur, MA


Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Program

Charlene M. Slezak, PsyD


Psychoanalytic Education Program

Stephanie Fariss, JD, LCSW

Dacia J. Harrold, MD, MA

Brooke K. Magers, PsyD

Noemi Molina, PhD

students, faculty

Mission moment features distance learning student Moshtagh

board meeting with screen




Institute board members enjoyed hearing about distance learning at the Institute from student Nahaleh Moshtagh, PhD, a psychotherapist in Tehran on June 11.

Moshtagh recently completed her Fundamentals year at the Institute. She spoke to the board via Zoom, the video-conferencing platform the Institute uses for its distance learning program. She works in private practice as well as serving as executive director and a member of the faculty of HamAva Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Iran. HamAva is a multidisciplinary group of clinicians and educators who share a passion for the practice, research and teaching of psychoanalysis.


Moshtagh shared that psychoanalysis is popular in Iran. She emphasized the cross-cultural learning that takes place with our distance students and said she hopes to contribute to psychoanalytic scholarship on the meaning of culture.  She also shared that she first learned of the program from another distance learning partner, Elise Snyder of the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance.


In early July Institute President Erika Schmidt presented a paper, “The Wolf Man and Muriel Gardiner: Preserving Freud’s Legacy,” to Moshtagh and colleagues in Iran via Zoom.

students, faculty, distance learning

Scholarly spirit strong at Chicago Institute

Institute Class with Erika Schmidt teaching

At Saturday's 'Schools is Out' and other sessions, as well as the upcoming APsaA meeting and regular classes, Institute faculty and students are making their scholarly mark, writes President Erika Schmidt, far right. Photo, Toya Werner Martin

On Saturday I attended the stellar "Schools Is Out" presentation by Virginia Barry, Charles Jade, Josh Kellman, and Mark Levey.  

Their title, which takes some thinking, refers to the different schools of thought within psychoanalysis and suggests that we might approach psychoanalysis in a way that transcends any particular school. With verve and coherence, they discussed their own developing ideas about psychoanalytic theory and practice, influenced by neuroscience, their depth of clinical experience, their observations about what works and why change happens in psychotherapy and analysis. 

The 35 people in the room were fully engaged for 5 hours and everyone came away with the excitement of thinking together about a paradigm for understanding analytic ideas and clinical practice.  

It made me think about the contributions of scholars and practitioners from the Chicago Institute over the years and the ways many faculty and candidates continue to contribute to the development of psychoanalysis. It is a present moment and a history we can all be proud of.

In the spirit of recognizing this kind of scholarly activity, I'd like to let you know about the impressive roster of faculty and candidates from Chicago who will be presenting at the upcoming APsaA 2018 meeting in New York City: 

  • Denia Barrett, Presenter: The Analysis of Masturbatory Fantasies: Theory and Technique
  • Peter Shabad, Chair and Discussant: Embracing or Foreclosing Change: Deepening our Understanding
  • Peter Rudnytsky, Chair: History of Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalytic Case Histories
  • Katherine Williams, Presenter: Two-Day Clinical Workshop: Psychotherapy Process
  • Jonathan Lear, Co-Chair: The Critics of Psychoanalysis: Hans Loewald as a Bridge from Heidegger to Freud
  • Eva Lichtenberg and Arnold Tobin: Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge": Paternal Fatal Attraction
  • Christine Kieffer, Discussant: Educators and Analysts Working Together: Cutting the Silence
  • Robert Galatzer-Levy and Paul Holinger, Co-Chairs: Outcome in Child Analysis
  • Lucy Freund, Coordinator: Psychoanalysis with Twins
  • Jonathan Lear, Presenter: Presidential Forum-Psychoanalyst in the Public Domain: What is Ethical? What is Effective?
  • Robert Galatzer-Levy, Presenter: The Philosophy, Science and Practice of Negative Capability
  • Christine Kieffer, Discussant: Psychoanalytic Explorations of Children's Literature
  • Arthur Nielsen, Presenter: Meet the Author

Last but not least, I will be a presenter on Oral History Workshop: The Wolf-Man: Past and Present Encounters at the APsaA New York meeting. 

I know there is much additional work people are doing that is not acknowledged in this listing. To mention a few: Neal and Ruth Grant led a fascinating discussion of Ibsen's Enemy of the People as a way to think about people’s responses to wrongdoing, and the motivation for righteousness, complacency, collusion, or even courage. 

More continuing education

In March, therapists from the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy will have a panel discussing on-site clinical work in schools using a psychoanalytic frame. Another panel organized by the Child Analysis Committee will describe analytic work with children. And Kourosh Dini will be presenting his application of the concept of play to the problems people have with productivity and procrastination in a workshop in April.  

I do hope we can continue to support our colleagues with our interest in their work and think about ways the Institute can continue to be a facilitating environment for these endeavors.

-- Erika Schmidt, President

APsaA, faculty

Fall Faculty Honors and Publications

Jorge Schneider led a research team – including Institute faculty Doug Wilkerson, Denise Duval, Brenda Solomon, Caryle Perlman, Dennis Shelby and Molly Witten – whose article “Psychoanalytic Training Experience and Postgraduate Professional Development-Part II” appeared in The International Journal of Psychoanalysis Volume 98, Issue 5 (October 2017). The study looked at the training and postgraduate experience of the 2008-2014 graduates of the Institute, following a former study of all living graduates through the year 2007. 

Benjamin Garber presented a paper "On the Changing Perceptions of Holocaust Survivors" athe Creativity and Madness conference in Vancouver, Canada in June. 

Denia Barrett’s review of Psychoanalysis in an Age of Accelerating Cultural Change: Spiritual Globalization, by Neal Altman appeared in International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Volume 98, Issue 3 (2017).

Jonathan Lear was inducted as as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences October 7.

Peter Shabad had a paper on “The Vulnerability of Giving: Ethics and the Generosity of Receiving” in Psychoanalytic Inquiry Volume 37, Issue 6 (2017). His chapter “Is Loyalty really a Virtue? Shame and the Monstrous Other” will be included in the book Memories and Monsters: Psychology, Trauma and Narrative, edited by Eric Severson and David Goodman for Routledge, forthcoming. 

Brenda Solomon edited Psychoanalytic Inquiry Volume 37, Issue 8 (2017) on “Artificial Reproduction Techniques and Psychotherapy.” The issue includes "Where Did I Come From: the Impact of ART on Families and Psychotherapists," by Renee Siegel, “A Cell Is Not Just a Cell,” by Dennis Shelby and “A Child Mourns the Family He Cannot Come From,” by Molly Witten.

Dale Gody presented her paper “Swimming with the Riptide: A Developmental Approach to Using Countertransference,” at the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology conference in Chicago in October. Jeffrey Stern delivered a keynote at the conference on “The Pilgrims’ Progress: A Therapist and Patient Journey to London.” Psychoanalytic Education Program student Greg Rizzolo wrote the lead article for the Spring 2017 issue of the IAPSP journal Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, “Alterity, Masochism and Ethical Desire.”

Art Nielsen led a lecture/workshop on “A Roadmap for Couple Therapy: My Personal Journey to a More Effective Model,” at Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in June and again at the Eighth World Congress of Psychotherapy, organized by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Paris in July. His article “From Couple Therapy 1.0 to a comprehensive model: A roadmap for sequencing and integrating systemic, psychodynamic, and behavioral approaches” appeared in Family Process, Volume 56, Issue 3. Nielsen also wrote dictionary entries on “Psychodynamic Couple Therapy” and “Projective identi cation in Couple Therapy” for The Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, Springer International Publishing.

Robert M. Galatzer-Levy’s book Nonlinear Psychoanalysis: Notes from 40 Years of Chaos and Complexity Theory was published by Routledge in 2017. Galatzer-Levy is also contributing author on the new Psychoanalyst Assistance Casebook, a product of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Committee on Colleague Assistance.

Gabriel Ruiz’s article, “University Forum: Revitalizing the South Side of Chicago,” appeared in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association Volume 65, Issue 4 (August 2017).

Harry Trosman’s article on “William Hazlitt, Obsessive Love, and Liber Amoris,” appears in Psychoanalytic Quarterly Volume 86, Issue 3 (July 2017).

faculty, authors

Undergraduates meet analysts in unique collaboration at Institute

Colorado College students at Chicago Institute
Colorado College Professors Marcia Dunbar-Soule Dobson and John Riker organize a class on analysis for their undergraduates with support from the Institute every summer. 
Is college too soon to study psychoanalysis? Not to Colorado College professors Marcia Dunbar-Soule Dobson and John Riker.
For the past 11 years, the Institute has played a unique role in helping to communicate a passion for psychoanalysis to Colorado College students as the site of Dobson's and Riker's popular summer school course, “Contemporary Psychoanalysis.” 
Faculty serve as guest lecturers throughout the four-week program. For example, the students read several chapters of Allen Siegel’s Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of Self, then meet Siegel at his home for a cookout. Faculty who presented during the June 2017 course include Arnold Goldberg, Arnold Tobin, Frank Summers, Brenda Solomon, David Terman, and others. 
Riker and Dobson met as teachers at Colorado College and married decades ago. In 1998, after Dobson received her second PhD in Clinical Psychology -- the first is in Classical Philology, and her professorship is in the Classics department -- they created a minor in psychoanalysis at the school. 
The couple connected with the Institute in 2003, when Riker was Kohut Visiting Professor at University of Chicago. A philosophy professor, his recent work includes the 2010 book Why It Is Good to Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society and his 2017 Exploring the Life of the Soul: Philosophical Reflections on Psychoanalysis and Self Psychology
“When we returned home, I spoke longingly to John expressing the wish that we could have these exceptionally gifted people come to speak at Colorado College for our Psychoanalysis Minor,” Dobson recalled recently. “We both understood this would be too expensive.” 
“'Then John said, 'Well, if we can’t bring them here, why don’t we go to them?' she recalled. Institute faculty under the leadership of David Terman, former Director, welcomed the five-week program and the visiting class was born.
Analytic courses for undergrads
Riker and Dobson say that as far as they know theirs is the only undergraduate course at a psychoanalytic institute in the country. Students must have taken at least one previous course on psychoanalysis before traveling to Chicago for “Contemporary Psychoanalysis,” although many have taken far more. 
“For me, the takeaway has been the opportunity to talk with psychoanalysts who are working in the present day,” said Dylan Ward of Vermont, entering his senior year. Ward created his own major in human motivation, combining psychoanalysis, literature, and film. “One theme that keeps coming up with a lot of analysts is empathy, and using that as a tool in analysis.” 
Echoing that experience, Alexandra Appel, from San Diego, appreciated that the class focused less on theory than other courses. “It’s about people, not systems,” she said. Another plus of the class was the chance to learn more about non-Eurocentric notions of analysis and get beyond reading canonical texts. Appel said she plans to major in psychology with a minor in psychoanalysis and eventually to work as a clinician. 
Catching on
Dobson said students have gone on from the psychoanalysis minor at Colorado College to further study to become social workers, get a doctorate in psychology, or other programs, including at George Washington University, Smith College, University of Chicago, Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago, Denver University, and elsewhere. 
The class is the crown jewel of the school’s minor in psychoanalysis program, according to Dobson: “We get people interested in psychoanalysis, and once they’re interested they really want to pursue it.”
students, summer, faculty

Barr-Harris director speaks at Huntington's Society conference

Judy at Huntington Disease Society conference

Barr-Harris Clinic Director Judy Schiffman presented two workshops in late June at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America conference in Schaumburg.
The first focused on Losing a Loved One: How to Cope and Find Hope. She also co-led a session on mental health awareness with Miranda Spencer, a registered nurse and member of the group’s National Youth Alliance. Spencer has four family members that are gene-positive for HD and has many other family members at risk. Both sessions focused on providing practical tools and insights for families and individuals living with Huntington’s Disease.
Huntington’s is best known as the disease that took the life of folksinger Woody Guthrie at the age of 55 in 1967. The roots of the society started in work by Guthrie’s widow to raise awareness of efforts to combat the disease.
faculty, Barr-Harris

Faculty member David Dean Brockman's new book available now

Cover of Dr. Brockman's new bookDavid Dean Brockman has penned a new book, A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Dante's The Divine Comedy. Published by Routledge, Francis & Taylor, the book is available in Kindle and hardcover editions and can be ordered via Amazon

In this work, Brockman connects spirituality with psychoanalysis as he looks at Dante’s early writings, his life story and his "polysemous" classical poem The Divine Comedy. Dante wanted to create a document that would educate the common man about his journey from brokenness to growth and a solid integration of body, self, and soul.

This book draws the resemblance between Dante’s poem and the "journey" that patients experience in psychoanalytic therapy. It will be the first total treatment of Dante’s work in general, and The Divine Comedy in particular, using the psychoanalytic method.

"This fascinating study of Dante’s The Divine Comedy will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists, as well as those still in training. Academics and students of psychology, spirituality, religion, and literature may also be interested in Brockman’s in-depth study of Dante’s work," according to the publisher. 

In addition to serving as Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst and emeritus faculty at the Chicago Institute, Dr. Brockman is also a clinical professor in the University of Illinois Department of Psychiatry. He has had a clinical practice of psychiatry and psychoanalysis for more than 50 years.

faculty, authors, criticism

Schiffman joins 'Walking through Grief' Author Wednesday

I Know It In My Heart coverBarr-Harris Clinic's Judy Schiffman will be in conversation with Mary E. Plouffe, PhD, about her new memoir "I Know It in My Heart: Walking Through Grief with a Child" (She Writes Press | May 2017), 6 p.m. Wednesday at Seminary Co-Op Bookstore in Hyde Park, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. The bookstore requests, but does not require RSVPs for the free event.

Mary Plouffe has counseled others through grief for more than 35 years, but when Mary's sister suddenly and unexpectedly died, she had to mitigate her own grief while also caring for her three-year-old niece. 

When Mary Plouffe’s sister, Martha, decided to try one last, risky-but-promising treatment for breast cancer, Mary assumed care of Martha’s three year old daughter, Liamarie. But a three-week visit grew into months, while the treatment they hoped would extend Martha’s life took it instead. I Know It in My Heart: Walking through Grief with a Child is the story of one loving sister, a motherless child, and a terrified father facing unimaginable loss together. 

Told by Plouffe—a grieving sister who is also a psychologist with thirty-five years experience in child/adult therapy—the story is more than a memoir; it is an exploration of childhood and adult grief that ultimately displays the healing power of love and family. Parents, therapists, and anyone else who wants to understand loss though the eyes of a child will find useful information here for guiding children through tragedy, and understanding how loss impacts them as they grow.

faculty, events

Barr-Harris Center Turns 40, Wins National Excellence Award

Barr Harris CertificateJust after we celebrated its 40th anniversary, Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center got a wonderful birthday present from the Association for Child Psychoanalysis: the Association selected Barr-Harris to receive its annual Award for Excellence.
“This award is given to a center or program exemplifying the highest level of service, training, outreach or research associated with the profession of Child Psychoanalysis and the ACP,” Dr. Leon Hoffman, awards committee co-chair, noted in his letter to Judy Schiffman, LCSW, director of the Barr-Harris Children's Grief Center. “It is a real pleasure to see how use of psychoanalytic principles has been the foundation of the excellent educational experience that you provide at Barr-Harris.”
In receiving the honor, the Grief Center joins other eminent agencies across the country. Last year’s honoree, San Francisco-based A Home Within, is the only national organization dedicated solely to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. Other previous award winners include the Center for Reflective Communities in Los Angeles, West End Day School in New York City, and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London.
Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center offers one-year field placements for advanced social work students interested in working with bereaved families. Staff at the Center treat children ages 2 to 17 who have lost a parent through death, divorce, or abandonment. In addition to providing services, Barr-Harris staff also make educational presentations and provide consultation to schools, community agencies, hospitals, and other organizations. 
As we reported in our last newsletter, the Grief Center recently established an office at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School in Woodlawn to help grow our presence on the South Side. Other Center sites include: Little Company of Mary Hospital and Riverdale Community Resource Center, both in the south suburbs; Highland Park Hospital in the northern suburbs; La Rabida Children's Hospital on the city’s South Side; Swedish Covenant Hospital on the North Side, and the Institute office in the Loop.
Clinics, Awards, faculty

"Every year, we're just waiting for justice to occur"

Cubs We BelieveDean Neal Spira, MD and Associate Dean Leo Weinstein, MD were quoted in the ESPN article "Why do long-suffering Cubs fan keep coming back for more?" You can read the full article here, though we have also posted an excerpt below:

Psychiatrist and lifelong Cubs devotee Neal Spira would not go so far as to mix business and pleasure and say Cubs fans are a textbook example of any particular psychosis.

"No, no, not textbook," Spira said. "Maybe a paper, though. You could definitely write a paper about the psychology of the Cubs fan."

Dr. Leo Weinstein, Spira's colleague at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, goes back to a central theme of psychotherapy in probing Cubs fans, and the theory that unconscious childhood feelings get expressed in adulthood.

"It taps into this feeling a lot of us have that things should be fair, that people should take turns and it's our turn to win," he said. "It also taps into the idea a lot of us believe subconsciously that if you suffer enough, you'll be rewarded.

"Cubs fans have suffered for 108 years, so it only makes sense we'll be rewarded -- not because our team is good or that Theo Epstein and the front office have assembled a winning team, but because it's right. And when [that] turns out not to be true, we're upset. People have a hard time giving up that feeling ... but it's a problematic way to live your life."

faculty, Neal Spira, Leo Weinstein