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The Aftermath & The Inauguration: Democracy Encounters the Unknown

Date: Feb 4, 2017 8:30 am

Sponsored by The Conference Advisory Board (CAB)

Saturday, February 4th, 2017




150 West 62nd Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues)
2nd floor




Pricing is $120/professionals and $75/students.


Conference Program    8:30am-2:30pm

8:30-9:00 AM Registration & Breakfast

9:00-9:10 AM Welcome and Introduction Jean Petrucelli, Ph.D.

9:10- 10:45 Panel One

Psychoanalytic Thoughts on Nameless Dread: What Do the Presidential Election and Inauguration Signify?

Speakers:  Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D., Jill Gentile, Ph.D.;  Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D. Moderator: Charles Strozier, Ph.D.

By now we've all read too many analyses of how to make meaning of the (formerly nearly unthinkable) Trump electoral triumph. What distinct contributions can psychoanalysis make to this conversation?   How do we understand the neoliberal and neofascist unconscious factors in play? How did gender, class, race, and sex intersect in anticipating the defeats of Sanders and Clinton, and the victory of Trump? Join us in this panel for a spirited conversation.

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00- 12:35 Panel Two

Partisanship in 2016: What to do when the other side’s politics are literally incomprehensible

Speakers:  Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D. ; Todd Essig, Ph.D.;  Steven Tublin, Ph.D. Moderator: Melissa Ritter, Ph.D.


While partisan distrust and disdain are as old as the republic, the election of 2016 revealed a country lost in an unusually dark cloud of mutual recrimination and contempt.  In the past, each sides’ candidates and policies have struck their opponents as ill-informed, malevolent, and arguably stupid. But this year, each side saw across the aisle a cartoonish villain: corrupt, calculating, boorish, callous, and a threat to any hope of a functioning nation.  The papers presented in this panel will advance several conceptualizations of the societal and individual passions manifest  in this strange and ugly political moment. Does psychoanalysis serve best to advocate for a society that embodies its implicit values? Should it engage with the aim helping a society so torn regain some sense of joint purpose? Or should psychoanalytic thought step back and better grasp the mechanisms of partisanship with its hateful competition and woefully irrational personal judgment and decision making?

12:35 - 1:00   Break

1:00 -   2:30 BOX LUNCH PROVIDED

ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION with audience participation

Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D., Grant Brenner, M.D.; Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D. ; Todd Essig, Ph.D.;  Jill Gentile, Ph.D.;  Melissa Ritter, Ph.D.; Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D.;  Steven Tublin, Ph.D. 
Moderator: Charles Strozier, Ph.D.


Register here

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Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D., is a  faculty member and supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Psychology program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is a co-founder of the IARPP and the Stephen Mitchell Relational Studies Center.  She is the author of The Bonds of Love (1988); Like subjects, love Objects (1995) and Shadow of the Other (1988). Her newest book Beyond Doer and Done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third will appear with Routledge in May 2017.

Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D., is a psychologist psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and she is on the Relational Faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  She is President of the Section for Applied Clinical Psychoanalysis, Section V of Division 39, and on the editorial boards of The International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, and D/R.  Her most recent article, For the Greater Good of Psychoanalysis, explores the relationship between psychoanalytic institutions and totalitarian governments.

Grant Hilary Brenner, M.D is a psychiatrist known for enabling his clients to overcome stubborn obstacles, unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit, and maintaining resilience, bringing nearly two decades of consultation, workshops, speaking engagements, teaching, therapy, and coaching to his clients. He is a co-founder of Neighborhood Psychiatric Associates of Manhattan, PLLC, is on faculty at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, is Director of the Trauma Service at the White Institute, and serves on the board of Disaster Psychiatry Outreach, a non-profit. He is co-author of Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy, and published Creating Spiritual and Psychological Resilience: Integrating Care in Disaster Relief Work, among other activities.

Todd Essig, Ph.D., is a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the William Alanson White Institute. He has served on the Editorial Boards for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. For 16 years, until 2009, he was Director of The Psychoanalytic Connection (, becoming widely known among colleagues as a pioneer in the innovative uses of information technologies for psychotherapists and other mental health professionals. In the aftermath of 9/11 he helped organize and served as Board Chair for the New York Disaster Counseling Coalition (NYDCC). He currently writes “Managing Mental Wealth” for Forbes where he covers the intersection of technology, public life and private experience, and is in clinical practice in New York City treating individuals and couples.

Jill Gentile, Ph.D., is supervisor and teaching faculty at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity and faculty member at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where she also co-chairs the Independent track. She is a corresponding editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis; on the editorial board of the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, and on the advisory board of The Candidate Journal.  She is author of many scholarly essays on personal agency, desire, and symbolic life. Her book, Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire, with M. Macrone (Karnac, 2016) examines the mutual relevance between psychoanalysis and democracy through the lens of gender and free speech.

Melissa Ritter, Ph.D., is a supervisor and faculty member at The William Alanson White Institute, and adjunct clinical faculty at City College. She is the founder and former chair of the White Institute LGBTQ Study Group and former editorial reviewer for both The International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She is currently Co-Editor of Psychoanalysis in Action, a blog under the auspices of both Psychology Today and Contemporary Psychoanalysis, for which she has written posts on a range of topics. She has also written on politics in the consulting room. For many years professionally active in child welfare, she now works with adolescents and adults in private practice.

Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D., is co-editor of the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality; associate editor of the Routledge book series Relational Perspectives in Psychoanalysis, and a member of the scientific committee of the Freud Foundation at the Freud Museum in Vienna. He has published numerous articles in psychoanalytic journals, including Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, as well as book chapters, and presented in conferences around the world. His research takes place in the intersection of psychoanalysis and social theory, and explores the relations between subjectivity, collective forces and history. He is in private practice in New York.


Charles B. Strozier, Ph.D., is a Professor of History and the founding Director of the Center on Terrorism, John Jay College, City University of New York; Faculty, Training, and Supervising analyst at the TRISP foundation; and a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City; and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Intractable Conflict, Harris-Manchester College, Oxford University (2015 ff).  He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (2001 and 2011); he is an Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association (2006); winner of the Gradiva Award in 2002 for the best biography in psychoanalysis in 2001, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis; and in 2005 awarded the Goethe Award from the Section on Psychoanalysis of the Canadian Psychological Association.  Strozier is the author of Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed; Until The Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses; (along with Terman, Jones, and Boyd), The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History; Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst; among many other works.

Steve Tublin, Ph.D.,  is a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and on the faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity. He is the author of articles on contemporary psychoanalytic technique, the use of music and literature in clinical inquiry, and the interface of politics and psychoanalysis. He serves on the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and is an associate at Upstart Logic, an organizational consulting firm. He is in private practice in New York.




Learning Objectives:



  1. To be able to identify 3 ways in which psychoanalysis contributes to political commentary about how race, class, and gender divide contributed to the election outcome.
  2. To develop a psychoanalytic understanding of fascism, and identify parallels between psychoanalysis and democracy.
  3. To describe how psychoanalysis, both as a theory and practice, might guide activism in the context of a darkening time for democracy.
  4. Participants will be able to cite two features of Donald Trumps electronic communications that inhibit his supporters from engaging in meaningful dialogue across partisan divides.
  5. Participants will appreciate the inadequacy of a psychoanalytic understanding of partisan conflict that excludes the political right from any theoretical discourse