White Institute Calendar

Examining the Experience of Otherness in Children and Adolescents

Date: 11 2021 19:00


Examining the Experience of Otherness

in Children and Adolescents





A new 10-part program starting in January 2021 focusing on psychodynamic work with children and adolescents involving issues of race, gender variance, and cultural diversity. Each month a different speaker will take on a contemporary clinical topic illustrated with case material. Our group of distinguished senior clinicians will each present a topic about the challenges that young people experience in their lives: in clinical settings, with family, among peers, and in school. The course is designed for clinicians of all levels of experience and to enhance participants’ clinical skills and intellectual understanding of the experience of otherness.


Early Registration: $450

Professionals:  $550

Students, Candidates, and Returning Participants: $450


Where:  ZOOM 


When:  7:00 – 8:30pm on one Monday of each month for ten months, January 2021 – December 2021 (hiatus in July & August), including: January 11, February 8, March 8, April 12, May 10, June 7, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13


Participants:  Psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, creative art therapists, marriage and family counselors, and nurse practitioners.



Neil Altman, Ph.D.

Seth Aronson, Ph.D.

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D.

Jennifer Durham, Ph.D.

Esin Egit, Ph.D.

Anton Hart, Ph.D.

Lisa Harris, Ph.D.

Gurmeet Kanwal, M.D.

Marcelo Rubin, Ph.D.

Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.


Continuing Education Credits:  15



Register Here



Class 1  January 11, 2021   Anton Hart, Ph.D. FABP, FIPA,

Cultivating Curiosity and Being (Radically) Open in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy:  Aspiring to be Moved 

Every psychotherapist has had the experience of being seen, by the children, adolescents (or adults) whom we are trying to help, in ways that are different from how we see ourselves. Therapeutic dialogues across the borders of diversity can intensify this dynamic. It can be extremely difficult, for example, to have the subjective experience of feeling dedicated and engaged but, in contrast, be experienced by the person we are working with as detached. Or, similarly, we may have the challenging experience of having predominantly benevolent feelings as we strive to be of help, but being experienced, nevertheless as dangerous or malevolent. Often, we rely on the concepts of projection and transference to emotionally protect ourselves and sustain us, as we attempt to survive and make therapeutic use of the experience of feeling misrecognized. 

This presentation offers an introduction to the presenter’s concept of “radical openness” as an alternative to a stance of emphasizing the understanding that the patient is projecting when the therapist hears or experiences things that sound or feel foreign or misplaced. A stance of radical openness will be shown to seek to receive our patients’ strange experiences of us as if they are bound to contain personal truths and insights, for both them and us alike.

Learning Objectives:

Participants in this presentation will be able to:

1. Develop an understanding of the anxieties associated with engaging issues of diversity, difference and otherness in psychotherapy.

2. Recognize the central roles of curiosity and radical openness as countermeasures to cultural ignorance and insensitivity and be able to cultivate such qualities in themselves and in their patients.

3. Recognize pitfalls and breakdowns that can occur in diversity-related explorations and find ways to use these in the service of the restoration of open dialogue and therapeutic play.

4. Enhance their capacity for receptive engagement in the psychotherapeutic process by implementing a stance of radical openness. 

Anton Hart, PhD, FABP, FIPA,

Dr. Hart is Training and Supervising Analyst and Faculty of the William Alanson White Institute. He supervises at several psychoanalytic institutes and at Adelphi University. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Psychology and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He is a Member of Black Psychoanalysts Speak. He teaches at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia. He serves as Chair of the Diversities Section of the APsaA’s Department of Psychoanalytic Education, and as Co-Chair of the Homes Commission on Racial Equality in APsaA. He is in full-time private practice of psychoanalysis, individual, family and couple therapy, psychotherapy supervision and consultation, and organizational consultation, in New York.

Class 2  February 8, 2021              Neil Altman, Ph.D.

White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

In this class we will explore the concepts of “Whiteness” and “Privilege”, along with the ancillary concepts of “power” “guilt” and “diversity” as they are used in contemporary anti-racist discourse. We will discuss the potential of the way these concepts are commonly deployed to reinforce prejudicial preconceptions about people of color, ironically undermining anti-racist efforts. We will address the possible usefulness of Psychoanalytic perspectives in moving beyond impasses in clinical and school-based contexts.

Learning Objectives:  

1. Discuss the origin of polarized racial categories (black and white) in the United States.

2. Describe the usefulness of psychoanalytic perspectives in addressing impasses encountered in anti-racist work.

Neil Altman, Ph.D. is faculty at the William Alanson White Institute, Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society, and Visiting faculty at Ambedkar University of Delhi, India.  He is Editor Emeritus and Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and on the editorial staff of The Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, The International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, and The Journal of Child Psychotherapy.  He is also author of Psychoanalysis in Times of Accelerating Cultural Change: Spiritual Globalization (2015), The Analyst in the Inner City: Race, Class and Culture through a Psychoanalytic Lens, (2010), and the forthcoming White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (2020). He is co-author of Relational Child Psychotherapy (2002). 


Class 3  March 8, 2021  Marcelo Rubin, Ph.D.

The Othering of Immigrant Children:  A Clinical Perspective

This lecture will focus on the issue of othering, defined as to view or treat a person as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. The issue of historical racial othering in the U.S. has been front page in recent months, and has resulted in violent, cruel and systemic alienation and repression of a large segment of the population.

This lecture concentrates on the othering of immigrant children and early adolescents in U.S. society. For this group, living in their new country is a constant challenge: lack of legal status, and they look and sound different. Many of these children have been traumatized prior to their emigration, and the trauma continues at many different levels in the new society.

A psychosociological overview of this painful social phenomenon will be followed by a clinical encounter with a seven-year-old boy. The circumstances of this case illustrate the difficult experiences facing immigrant children: poverty, psychological dislocation, and the lack of support or guidance from parents and family members who are themselves fearful, overwhelmed, or sometimes, not even in the country.

Learning Objectives:

1. To identify the form of othering experienced by immigrant children.

2. To learn how to clinically address the effects of othering in children.

Marcelo Rubin, Ph.D. is a Fellow, Supervising and Training Psychoanalyst at the W. A. White Institute. He is on the Faculty in Adult Psychoanalytic Program.  Dr. Rubin is the former Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program and is a Faculty member and Supervisor in the Child Program.  He has published many articles on the issue of Adolescence and Trauma.  He is in private practice in New York City and Westchester.



Class 4  April 12, 2021  Lisa Harris, Ph.D.

Identity, Otherness, and the Internalized Aggressor

Lisa Harris, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who earned her doctoral degree at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University, as well as her postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalysis at New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  She completed her clinical internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs, NY Harbor Healthcare System, Manhattan Campus, was Director of a unit of Project Hope, a FEMAfunded program developed to provide disaster psychological services to survivors of Superstorm Sandy on Long Island, NY, and subsequently provided comprehensive bilingual mental health services to immigrant individuals, families, and groups in community clinics for Nassau University Medical Center. As a scholar-practitioner, she was a scholar for the Multicultural Concerns Committee of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association, and continues to research and write on issues regarding race, ethnicity, and culture. Dr. Harris is currently in private practice in Manhattan, NY and has experience in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis with adults and geriatrics, with a focus on trauma and comorbid health issues, and provides presurgical assessments as well as ongoing postsurgical psychological care for bariatric patients.


Class 5  May 10, 2021  Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D. 

Introduction to Working With Gender Variant Children

 More than ever, child therapists and analysts are asked to consult/work with families with gender variant children. But while social attitudes are shifting when it comes to trans experience and other atypical genders, the clinical matter of how to work with such families (supportively, yes, but what does this mean and how is it done well?) persists. In this class we will begin to address some conceptual and technical matters regarding work with genderqueer children. 

Learning objectives: 

1. Participants will be able to explain basic complexities involved in working supportively with trans children and their families.

2. Participants will be able to discuss some of the developmental considerations involved in hormonal/medical interventions for trans children/adolescents.

Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou trained at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where she now teaches. She is also on faculty of the William Alanson White Institute, the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and other analytic training sites, where she teaches intersectionally-informed courses on gender and psychosexuality. She serves on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Her interests include psychosexuality and polymorphous perversity, normative and non-normative gender, and the enigmatics of consent. She is currently at work on a solicited book manuscript provisionally titled: “Overwhelm: Risking Sexuality Beyond Consent.”

Class 6  June 7, 2021  Esin Egit, Ph.D. 

What’s Culture Got to Do with It?:  Conflict, Isolation, and Alienation as Experiences of Otherness  

There has been an increased awareness that clinical work does not take place outside culture and society, and that cultural patterns and social inequalities play significant roles in shaping the clinical work and the relationship between the therapist and the patient. 


In this class, first, we will discuss the notion of culture and a series of related concepts (e.g. enculturation, acculturation, transculturation) from an anthropological point of view. Next, we will identify the use and misuse of the idea of culture in clinical practice. And, through clinical and ethnographic examples, we will explore multiple scenarios of cultural differences and similarities among the therapist, the parents, and the child patient and the ways in which these perceived differences and similarities shape the treatment.  


Learning objectives: 

 1. Participants will become familiar with different usages of the concept of culture and develop awareness of the risks of cultural essentialism in clinical work.  

 2. Participants will be able to better identify cultural and social issues that are embedded in patients’ psychological problems and engage with these issues as part of their clinical work.   


Esin Egit, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of Social Sciences, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY and a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute’s certificate program in psychoanalysis. She is Chair of the LGBTQ Study Group at the W.A. White Institute.   

(Summer break – no class July and August)


Class 7  September 20, 2021   Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D.

Feeling and Being Safe in Childhood: Individual or Organizational Considerations

Mental health professionals have always been attuned to the foundational importance of feeling and being safe. There is a spectrum of experiences that undermine children and adolescents feeling and being safe. This interactive class will focus on a range of essential questions about our own biases and clinical practices as well as what responsibility (if any) we feel we have to educate parents and others who work with a child/adolescent (e.g. teachers, remedial experts) we are seeing clinically. International trends about how mental health professionals and educators (mis)understand what it means to feel safe will be summarized.

Learning Objectives:

1. To reflect on our own biases and practices that are related to feeling and being safe.

2. To consider how systems (e.g. social norms; rules, values and more) as well as intrapsychic and interpersonal patterns promote or undermine feeling and being safe.

3. To consider how we take steps to foster a climate of safety with the children and adolescents we learn and work with.

4. To develop plans that you believe will further support the children you work with feeling and being safe.  

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., ABPP is a clinician and a scholar. He is a practicing child and adult clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst; Diplomat in Clinical Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology; Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; and a faculty member in the William Alanson White Child Psychotherapy program. He supervises clinicians at Columbia’s and CUNY’s doctoral programs in clinical psychology, the China-America Psychoanalytic Alliance and privately. Jonathan has worked with children, their families and schools for over forty years, initially as a teacher of learning disabled children and for the last thirty five years, as a clinician as well as a consultant to schools. He is co-president of the International Observatory for School Climate and Violence Prevention (University of Seville, Spain). He is the author of many peer-reviewed articles, chapters and books, including the award winning volumes Educating Minds and Hearts: Social Emotional Learning and the Passage into Adolescence (1999, Teachers College Press) and most recently, Feeling Safe in School: Bullying and Violence Prevention Around the World (2020, Harvard Educational Press).


Class 8   October 18, 2021  Jennifer Durham, Ph.D



Class 9   November 15, 2021  Gurmeet S. Kanwal, M.D
Teen and Torn: Outsiderness in Adolescence   

Adolescence is a time of identity formation, which is a process that is highly dependent on interactions with family, peers and community. Adolescents from minority backgrounds can feel especially torn between belonging and outsiderness. What do we mean by identity? What are the dynamics of identity formation that might particularly impact adolescents from minority backgrounds? What might be the impact of cultural factors on the development of identity? This class will explore the experience of adolescence in the context of being a minority in one's community.


Learning objectives:

1. Participants will understand the impact of cultural factors on the formation of identity in adolescence.

2. Participants will understand the concept of outsiderness and how it impacts adolescents from minority backgrounds.

Gurmeet S. Kanwal, M.D., is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Supervising Psychoanalyst at William Alanson White Institute. Dr. Kanwal is co-editor (with Salman Akhtar) of the books, Bereavement: Personal Experiences and Clinical Reflections (Karnac, 2017) and Intimacy: Clinical, Cultural, Digital, and Developmental Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). He is a Fellow of the College of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and a member of the editorial board of the Journal. He is on the Planning Committee of the Study Group on Race And Psychoanalysis at WAWI. Originally from India, he has lectured in the U.S., India, and Iran.


Class 10 December 13, 2021      Seth Aronson, Psy.D.                   

Sacred Spaces: Religious Differences and Similarities in Clinical Work with Children and Adolescents


Seth Aronson, Psy.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst, Director of Training, Fellow at the William Alanson White Institute (WAWI) where he has also served as Director of Curriculum. He is on the teaching faculty of the psychoanalytic and child psychotherapy training programs at WAWI. At Long island University’s doctoral program he teaches child and adolescent psychopathology and psychotherapy. He has facilitated process groups for rabbinical students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah for 18 years.

Dr. Aronson serves as co chair of the Special Interest Group for children and adolescents of the American Group Psychotherapy Association where he is also a Fellow. Together with Craig Haen, he is co editor of the Handbook of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy (Routledge, 2017).  He has presented and taught in many venues, in Israel, London and notably at PAS Institute in Tokyo, Japan, where he has taught and supervised at their annual conferences for almost twenty years.  Dr. Aronson is the author of nearly 40 articles and chapters, on topics such as play and supervision, wearing a yarmulke while working as a psychoanalyst, the analyst’s mourning, the mutuality of attachment, and group work with children and adolescents.  He is in private practice in New York City.