Members of the American Psychoanalytic Association face external socioeconomic threats to their clinical practices and inadequate cultural and scientific understandings of psychoanalytic thinking. These are issues we can address but we have been derailed by internal threats to the integrity of our membership organization because of ongoing disputes over control rather than collaborative attention to our mission.
My basic goals are:
- to establish a platform for dialog and effective conflict resolution,
- to restore the Association’s focus on the discipline of psychoanalysis,
- to improve the public good.
If we are to reclaim a meaningful place in mental health, academia and modern science, we must renovate our existing structure to free our members’ energies. I have the skills and experience necessary to guide APsaA toward resolution of its turf war and adoption of bylaws that support a modern, rational, and effective non-profit professional organization.
My Leadership Background
My approach to leadership reflects the example of my psychoanalyst mentors in my psychiatric residency at Yale. They were calm in the face of conflict, were extraordinarily good listeners, and were dogged in their efforts to improve patient care. Educated in group process, they also taught me the necessity of a rational organizational structure and the importance of clarity about lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.
Influenced by my mentors’ ability to impact public mental health care, I led a division of outpatient clinics at the Connecticut Mental Health Center and then worked at San Francisco General Hospital when I relocated to San Francisco in 1985. I was able to approach the complex tasks of supervising the renovation and reorganization of the psychiatric emergency service at SFGH, then overseeing the clinical service for a few years and finally directing residency training at that site with success and satisfaction.
My experiences at APsaA have enriched my life, resulting in a passionate commitment to seeing our Association lead the way in psychoanalytic work. As a candidate, I presented a control case at a workshop led by Pietro Castelnuevo-Tedesco, a very moving as well as helpful experience. He was the first in a line of significant APsaA mentors who have helped me see the features or details of the “field” before me. A long involvement with the Fellowship Committee similarly opened intellectual and collegial doors. I loved being part of a committee that worked hard to very constructive ends. I continue to enjoy Fellows I met over 15 years ago and committee members too. I currently chair COPE, a committee devoted to enriching psychoanalysis through oversight of several study groups that pursue specific topics in depth and produce educational offerings that benefit our members, as well as others interested in psychoanalysis.
Through my service on multiple APsaA task forces (Extended Membership Criteria, Reorganization, and Strategic Planning) I am acutely aware of the tensions and complexities of our organization. But through those experiences I also know how creative and enduring compromises can arise when APsaA members sit at the same table and think together.
Why run for President of APsaA?
APsaA’s powerfully positive influence on my personal and professional development makes me want to remain involved rather than walk away at a time of organizational crisis. I know first hand what the Association can and does offer all of its members. I am pained by our ongoing political infighting and dismayed at our inability to resolve our differences in a constructive manner. I believe I can bring administrative and interpersonal skills to the table that will help ensure a platform for constructive dialogue and effective conflict resolution.
I see the Association as my professional family, as I do the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. I would be honored to make a lasting contribution to its vitality and enduring value.