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

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

Fundamentals Student Eugene Sampson receives APsaA support

Eugene SampsonEugene Sampson, a student in the Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought and lecturer in the German Program at DePaul University’s Department of Modern Languages, has received a tuition grant from the Committee on Psychoanalysis and the Academy of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Tuition support is available for academics in the arts and sciences (excluding the traditional clinical fields of medicine, psychology, and social work) to attend psychoanalytic training seminars at APsaA approved institutes. 

Sampson’s poems, reviews, and translations from the German have appeared in print and online. He was drawn to Fundamentals, the Institute’s one-year foundational education in psychoanalytic thought, theory and practice, as a way to find out what psychoanalysis was like from the practitioner’s perspective. 

The program is already having an impact on his teaching, Sampson says, including a class on translation he’s leading this term. He credits his classmates as a significant source of learning: “I’ve never had access before to a group of people working – by varying degrees and in varying respects – in clinical settings,” he adds. “Listening to their reactions to the material presented in the program, as well as their openness to me and my questions, has felt validating and rewarding.”


Fellowship makes psychodynamic concepts tangible for Community Fellow Nora Frazin

Nora Frazin in clinic officePhoto, right: Nora Frazin, MSW works full time at Jewish Children and Family Servies and is improving her skills in the psychotherapy of adults using psychoanalytic principles through the Psychotherapy Clinic Fellowship. She is receiving substantial support for the program as a Community Fellow, a therapist in a community or agency setting.

Five months into a Psychotherapy Clinic Fellowship thanks in part to a scholarship as a Community Fellow at the Institute, Nora Frazin, MSW, says the experience has helped her see her work as a clinician at Jewish Child and Family Services in new ways.

“I didn’t even realize how psychodynamic the work I was already doing was, until I learned more in this Fellowship,” says Frazin, 31.

After college, Frazin spent several years working as a college counselor and in other roles in education.  She realized she wanted to help in a deeper way when students confided personal concerns in between conversations about career planning.  That led her to University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where she graduated in 2017.

She found work at JCFS with a program for caregivers and children funded by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  “We were doing intensive work with caregivers to help children who have been through trauma, as all kids in DCFS have,” Frazin says.  She now sees a range of clients in the Skokie office of JCFS.

As a Psychotherapy Clinic Fellow at the Chicago Institute, Frazin sees several patients each week at the Institute's office in the Loop.  She receives weekly supervision of these cases with an Institute psychoanalyst and attends meetings with Adult Clinical Services therapists, among other benefits -- all in addition to full-time work at Jewish Child and Family Services. 

Her supervisor there told her about the program, Frazin says.  As a clinician working in a community setting, she was eligible to apply to be a Community Fellow, enrolling in the Psychotherapy Fellowship with the aid  a substantial scholarship. The aim of this scholarship program is to make advanced psychotherapy training accessible to clinicians in the public sector early in their careers.

The Institute training complements her job, Frazin adds.  “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to pick apart sessions ‘under the microscope,’ really diving in deeply and considering a case in detail with my supervisor at the Institute, Caryle Perlman.”

Committed to working in the community,  Frazin says the Institute Fellowship helps improve her skills:  “This isn’t my first go round in the professional world, but I’m early in my career as a social worker,” she says.  “I’ve only been doing the Fellowship a few months, and already feel like I have such a stronger grounding.”


students, scholarships, profiles

Welcoming a new Exploring Psychoanalysis cohort

Weekend visits to Chicago from their home in Indianapolis are a tradition for psychiatrist Waqar Mahmud and his family.  One Saturday in 2016, he stopped by the McLean Library to learn more about the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute. He’s kept up his connection to the school—and this fall Mahmud is one of 25 participants in Exploring Psychoanalysis at the Institute. 

Exploring Psychoanalysis is a free program that exposes trainees and recent graduates in psychiatry, psychology, and social work--plus those from other backgrounds with significant interest in psychoanalysis--to a core body of knowledge.  The program provides a framework to understand and carry out therapeutic work.

"We love training and spreading the gospel,” says Dale Gody, director of the program. She says many participants go on to pursue further psychoanalytic education. Gody is in her third year leading the program, started in the 1990s as the Psychoanalytic Fellowship.  She worked for more than 20 years as a psychologist before studying psychoanalysis at the Chicago Institute, and currently maintains a private practice in Wilmette.

At the first monthly meeting, Gody facilitates a discussion about core concepts of analysis presented in assigned reading from the book A Psychotherapy for the People, a 2014 cultural history of psychoanalysis.  A medical resident shares her discomfort with the concept of neutrality — very different from psychiatrists’ medical training to identify and share a diagnosis with their patients. 

Gody leads the group in a conversation that touches on both theory and the practicalities of doing therapy.  “Everything that happens between the therapeutic dyad is an interaction between the histories of both patient and therapist,” Gody says.  “We are always trying to sort out what the patient is evoking in us and who we are to the patient.  That’s a tall order!”

About a quarter of this year’s participants are residents and medical doctors seeking a deeper exposure to psychoanalysis than they received in med-school training in psychiatry.  Others include therapists and counselors from the Erikson Institute, Thresholds community mental health center, other area agencies or in private practice. The group also includes an anthropologist, hospital chaplain, writer, and professor of literature.

In addition to seminars once a month, each participant receives a mentor who is an Institute faculty member, and free admission to  Institute continuing-education programs.  Gody also organizes case consultation days for students who want to share and learn from each others’ clinical cases. 

As the first meeting wrapped up, Mahmud shares that a mentor at Indiana University School of Medicine, psychiatrist Alan Schmetzer, was a dedicated analyst.  From Schmetzer, Mahmud says, he absorbed the idea that analysis offers a corrective to over-reliance on prescriptions.  “Patients can get better to some extent from medication,” Mahmud says, “but their underlying problems will not go away.  I tell my patients, you have a lifetime of behavior that you have to figure out and fix."

exploring psychoanalysis, students, about the Institute

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

Smart Foundation helps candidate study end-of-life ‘Existential Maturity’

Linda EmanuelPhoto: Linda Emanuel 

Sometimes patients say striking things like: “Cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.” And patients' loved ones say things like: “Accompanying him on his last journey is the most inspiring thing I have ever done.”

Sometimes palliative care clinicians say equally odd things. Like: “I could never find the vitality that we have in palliative care in another medical discipline;  it comes from the people we care for.”

Comments like these across a career in medicine inspired Linda Emanuel, MD, PhD, a candidate in the Institute Psychoanalytic Education Program’s Child Analysis Committee, to investigate what she has come to call “existential maturity.” She coined the phrase to refer to a state she’s observed in patients old and young who are facing their own or another person’s mortality.

“Existential maturity is a state of balance in which the essential, integrated reality is death. That reality can be unspeakably painful, but it is in place with the rest of life and the greater world,” Emanuel says. “This way of being seems particularly capable of love, finds or creates meaningful value, tenderness, and acceptance, even along with other emotions that may be passionate, turbulent, and pained.”

Grant Support; Partners

Emanuel recently received support from the Smart Family Foundation and the International Psychological Association to work with children and adults who have terminal cancer in order to explore what existential maturity feels like experientially and how psychotherapists can assist in achieving the state.

Partners for the project include Supportive Oncology Services at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, therapists and clients of the Chicago Institute’s child treatment centers, and the Lurie Children’s Hospital at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Emanuel came to the Institute with deep expertise in palliative care and a research interest in understanding what moves people when mortality seems near.

Many times, she says, “inhibitions that impeded loving relationships before would lift, and people become freed to relate and love fully.” She also observed that often people have not known how to think about death and as they learn how to do so they achieve needed skills in approaching it.

The partners in the research project will work together to produce insights that they expect will be reported in papers based on cases of children and their family members with whom they work.

students, research

Join us for an Education Programs Open House

open house picPlease join us from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 21 in person at the Institute, 122 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 1300, or via Zoom tele-conference for out-of-state student prospects. At the open house, attendees will hear from directors, faculty and current students of our various programs and can speak with them informally. Refreshments will be served.


The Institute offers educational programs in psychoanalytic thought to mental health professionals and others seeking to apply these ideas in their own disciplines. Our programs serve learners new to the field as well as those seeking deeper mastery. At the Open House we will discuss programs for students interested in beginning classes next fall: 


Education programs


  • Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought provides a year-long foundational education in psychoanalytic thought, theory, and practice to mental-health clinicians, scholars, professionals in allied disciplines, college graduates, and the interested public.

  • In the Psychoanalytic Education Program mental health professionals undertake coursework, a personal psychoanalysis, and supervised clinical analytic experience to prepare to practice psychoanalysis of adults and of children, adolescents and families.

  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy:

    • The Adult Psychotherapy Program enhances licensed professionals’ clinical skills. Two years of coursework and supervised clinical experience lead to a certificate.

    • The Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy Program teaches clinicians developmental theory, clinical theory related to work with children, adolescents and parents, and surveys of the symptoms and psychological problems of childhood. Three years of coursework and supervised clinical experience lead to a certificate.

  • Open Classes are for qualified individuals seeking to learn about or deepen their knowledge of psychoanalytic theory and practice on a course-by-course basis.

  • Psychoanalysis for Scholars serves academics with advanced degrees who wish to pursue psychoanalytic training; graduates may enroll in the Psychoanalytic Education Program.

  • Also available are Exploring Psychoanalysis, a mentorship open to advanced trainees and early career professionals in psychiatry, psychology and social work or allied fields with an interest in psychoanalysis, and the Psychotherapy Clinic Fellowship, a two-year, part-time program for mental-health clinicians to study and improve skills in providing adult psychotherapy using psychoanalytic principles.


If you have questions about our programs or the open house, please feel free to contact Alison Chandler, Director of Education Administration, at or 312-922-7474.

students, education programs

Institute celebrates Everett as founding director of adult clinic

Photo: Kevin McMahon and Pfeffer Eisin were among the therapists at a gathering to honor Polly Everett Oct. 24


Therapists who work in the Institute’s Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Clinic and others from the Institute gathered to celebrate Polly Everett, founding mother of the clinic.


After more than 30 years with the Institute, serving as director and for the past several years as a therapist at the clinic, Everett will devote more time to her private practice.


“Polly was the driving force behind the development of the Adult Psychotherapy Clinic,” Institute President Erika Schmidt said. Current and past clinicians who gathered in the Institute lounge October 24 for a farewell gathering echoed the sentiment.


The Adult Psychotherapy Clinic, a reduced fee psychotherapy clinic within the Institute, employs approximately 15 licensed psychotherapists and a group of experienced student interns, offering consultation and psychotherapy to adult individuals and couples. Therapists are in the main graduates of one of the Institute’s training programs.


Originally from St. Louis, Everett worked as chief outpatient social worker at University of Chicago Hospitals before moving to the Institute. She was hired to evaluate people seeking psychoanalytic treatment for their potential as control cases to receive treatment by analysts in training. as  for analytic patients.


For one reason or another, a number of those she evaluated were not a good fit as control cases, she said but after doing their intake interviews with her they were disappointed to have to start over with a referral somewhere else. Everett introduced the idea of adding psychotherapy services to treat these individuals.


Therapists at the gathering credited Everett with welcoming as well as helping to train them. Ironically, in many ways working as a therapist can be a solitary job, and Everett made the clinic a warm and welcoming place, said Pfeffer Eisin.


“Polly started the careers of a lot of people by giving them a place at this clinic,” added Sally Carton, who spent 12 years with the Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Clinic before moving to private practice. Polly embodied the knowledge, support and community therapists felt working together with her, many said. As one therapist put it: “I called it the Polly clinic.”

Clinics, students