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

Celebrating ten years of Child and Adolescent Clinical Services

Psychotherapy helps children acquire psychological skills that contribute to self-esteem and confidence, including the ability to regulate and reflect on feelings. Unfortunately in Chicago, many of the children with greatest need of these skills are least able to access them due to finances and availability of services in their community. 

One answer to that challenge for the past 10 years has been the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, created thanks to the vision of Paul Holinger with support from lead donors Joan and Bill Dutton and other Institute friends and faculty. 

Renamed this year as the Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Treatment Center, its mission has been to provide high quality mental health services to children, adolescents and their families regardless of financial resources. The Center provides individual therapy at several sites and school-based group and individual psychotherapy.

When we opened the doors to our clinic, we were curious to discover who would use our service and what kind of community inquiries would come to our attention. In addition to families searching for psychotherapy, we soon found our work in demand from families and public and charter schools on the South Side, a part of the city with a great need for additional mental health services. 

Early in my role of clinic director, I had an interaction at a school that taught me a profound lesson about the everyday meaning of “psychoanalytic.” I was in a meeting in which I was introduced to a school principal who was considering whether her school would benefit from our services. The community representative making the introduction explained to the principal, “I like these people. They keep coming back.” 

On the surface, she meant that we would not disappear at the end of 12 weeks or a school year. But what she expressed more deeply was the recognition that continuity and an ongoing relationship built on trust and shared experience is a potent force for effective work. This is a central psychoanalytic value conveyed in everyday language.

Our experiences with Child and Adolescent Clinical Services also inform our continuing education programs that provide training to the broader community of mental health professionals. The Institute and all its supporters can be proud of the treatment and care that therapists, students, and faculty have provided since 2008. 

Thanks to the continued generosity and investment of the Institute’s faculty and supporters in terms of time, treasure, and knowledge, we look forward to another decade and more of successful treatment.    n

Programs, Child/Adolescent