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White Society Colloquium: Shame and Envy in the Analyst's Moral Interior

Date: May 10, 2017 8:00 pm
Speaker: Nathan Kravis, MD
Discussant: Irwin Hirsch, PhD

The concept of the analyst’s moral interior is invoked to conceptualize an enacted element of analytic identity expressed in office furnishings and décor. Affects that threaten an analyst’s equanimity, such as pride, shame, and envy, are sometimes represented aesthetically. Like pride, shame can serve to re-connect an analyst with core analytic values and ideals. The techno-cultural surround of the digital age impinges upon analytic identity in ways that can evoke what Kierkegaard called a levelling process to avert envy. This is illustrated in two clinical vignettes. How analysts deal with the levelling process, clinically and aesthetically, is discussed.


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Nathan Kravis, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, Associate Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Cornell, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Dr. Kravis received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He trained in psychiatry at Cornell and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. In addition to his appointments at Cornell and Columbia, where he teaches and supervises, he has also served on the faculty of the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, and has been an adjunct professor in the psychiatry departments of NYU and Mt Sinai and in the English Department of Columbia University. His paper “The Analyst’s Hatred of Analysis” was one of the most frequently downloaded articles published in the Psychoanalytic Quarterly in 2013. His book, On the Couch: A Social History from the Greeks to Freud, is forthcoming from MIT Press in 2017. Among his awards and honors, he is the recipient of the Beller Award of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center (1992), teaching awards from the psychiatry residents at the Payne Whitney Clinic (2001) and psychoanalytic candidates at Columbia (Klar Award, 2005), the George E. Daniels Merit Award of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine (2011) and the George S. Goldman Award of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center (2015). He delivered the Liebert Memorial Award Lecture in New York in 2015. He has served on the editorial board of the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, and is currently on the editorial boards of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He has been in private practice in Manhattan since 1987.

Irwin Hirsch is Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the William Alanson White Institute; Faculty, Supervisor and former Director, Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology and Supervisor, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University.  He is on the Editorial Boards of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Psychoanalytic Perspectives, and is a Fellow of the ABPP.   Dr. Hirsch is the author of over 80 psychoanalytic articles, chapters and reviews, and the Goethe Award-winning book, Coasting in the Countertransference: Conflicts of Self-Interest between Analyst and Patient (2008), and The Interpersonal Tradition: The Origins of Psychoanalytic Subjectivity (2015). In addition, he is the author of Volume 1 of a two-volume book co-edited with Donnel Stern: The Interpersonal Perspective in Psychoanalysis, 1960's-1990's: Rethinking Transference and Countertransference.



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