The reports of the death of psychoanalysis are exaggerated.

by Michael Donner, PhD

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalytic Education Division Graduation 2015

Following is the text of the graduation address given by Michael Donner, PhD

Thirty five years ago, while being interviewed for my graduate program, the person interviewing me asked: “Why do you want to be a psychotherapist? The era of the individual psychotherapist is over.” Since then, we have all heard the repeated refrain: CBT, evidence based therapies, medications and mindfulness all herald the death of psychoanalysis. Just a month ago, Tom Leonard wrote an article in The Spectator magazine titled “Why American Psychoanalysts Are An Endangered Species”, noting that “Drugs, yoga, CBT and busy lives are occupying the space once reserved for the shrink’s couch.” He sadly (and somewhat snidely) noted that the average age of analysts is up, the average number of patients are down, and that the so called “worried well” have much more to worry about in this modern age. And yet, here we are, commemorating the graduation of nine candidates, celebrating the careers of nine new psychoanalysts.

Some of what Leonard writes is true. We are older, grayer, and may be seeing fewer patients in 4 - 5 times weekly psychoanalysis. As I was reading this most recent obituary proclaiming the death of psychoanalysis, I did a little digging. 118 years ago tomorrow, Mark Twain famously corrected newspaper rumors about his demise by writing to a journalist of the day: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” I believe the reports of the death of psychoanalysis are just as wrong.

June, 2015 Visit — Giuseppe Civitarese

by Patricia Marra, MFT, Co-Chair, Visiting Professor committee & San Francisco Yearlong committee

Giuseppe Civitarese, MD. PhD will be visiting SFCP from June 7 to June 13, 2015, He will be presenting at the following occasions:

Sunday, June 7, 1;00pm – 3:00pm
Postgraduate Clinical Program with Giuseppe Civitarese, MD, PhD
Case Presentation: Adam Goldyne, MD

Monday, June 8, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Scientific Meeting: “Poetry of the Dream and De-personalization.”
Discussant: Alice Jones, MD

Friday, June 12, 10:00am – 12:00pm
SFCP Candidate Meeting
Case Presentation: Maureen Kurpinsky,PhD

Saturday, June 13, 9:00am – 1:30pm
Dialogues in Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Clinical material based on “Transformations in Hallucinosis and the Receptivity of the Analyst” IJP, 2014.
Discussant: Rachael Peltz, PhD
Case Presentation: Laurie Goldsmith, PhD

Hal Sampson, PhD - An Appreciation

by Suzanne Gassner, PhD

As you all may know, Hal Sampson, PhD, died on April 23, 2015. For many years Hal played an important role at the then named San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute and Society (SFPI). He was on the faculty, taught a course on Freud's dream book and became a Life Member. Along with Joe Weiss, MD, he co-led the Mt Zion Hospital Research Group, later named the San Francisco Research Group; the work of that group was co-sponsored by SFPI and Mt. Zion Hospital. The gifts Hal Sampson offered to all of us who were privileged to have a long term working relationship with him were many.

Algernon Black D. Black, a long term Leader at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, wrote a statement in his book, Without Burnt Offerings: Ceremonies of Humanism, in his chapter on Memorial Services. Black's words strike me as beautifully expressing an important part of Hal's legacy. All of what Black said about the possible gifts a working colleague conveys, applies to the essence of my experience of how Hal related to the students, supervisees and colleagues with whom he worked on a regular basis. For this reason I want to quote all that is relevant about working relationships that Black said that in his piece entitled 'The Greatest Gift of All'.

Visiting Professor week with Dominique Scarfone:

Fall seminars and readings to prepare for his visit

by Eric Glassgold, MD, Co-Chair, Visiting Professor Committee

Dominique Scarfone, MD, a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Montréal Psychoanalytic Institute, will be the 2015 SFCP Visiting Professor. He will visit San Francisco from November 9th through November 16th.

A bibliography of Dr. Scarfone’s writing (prepared by SFCP librarian Eric Rosen) is available. If you are in a private study group, want to devote some time to discussing his work and would like advice about selecting some of Dominique’s papers to read, please contact Eric Glassgold ( or Laurie Goldsmith (

In the months prior to Visiting Professor week, the Visiting Professor program committee will sponsor three seminars to facilitate understanding Dominique’s contributions to psychoanalysis. On Monday, September 21st at 7:30 PM, Mike Levin will discuss Dominique’s 2013 paper “A brief introduction to the work of Jean Laplanche,” IJP 94: 545-566. On October 15th at 7:30 PM, Peter Goldberg, will discuss the first half of Dominique’s 2014 paper “The Unpast, Actuality Of The Unconscious.” On Monday, November 2nd at 7:30 PM, Eric Glassgold will discuss the second half of the paper “The Unpast, Actuality of The Unconscious.” (Specific pages to read in “The Unpast…” will be sent to the membership in early September.)

Ethics and Impairment Committee News

by Robert L. Friend, EIC member

The Ethics and Impairment Committee, in conjunction with the Membership Integration Committee, put on a follow-up workshop on drawing up a professional will on February 28, 2015. Peter Goldberg presented his experience of figuring out how to handle a colleague’s practice who died without having a professional will. Many of the issues that Dr. Goldberg faced are those that need to be considered when drawing up such a will. He had to devise a way of contacting patients and offering for them to be seen by an analyst for consultation around the death and possibly making a referral. This involved calling on colleagues to be available, and developing a specifically transitional consultative role to help the patients consider their options for further treatment.

It was a moving presentation that highlighted the need for prior thinking by us all to come up with a will that fits our practice. Clara Kwun and Dena Sorbo also presented on the difficulties and resistances to drawing up such a will. The attendees then broke into smaller groups to actually attempt to work on their wills using templates that are available on the SFCP website (under “Services” click on the “Ethics and Impairment Committee” and scroll down towards the bottom to find the section on Professional Wills at the bottom of which will be links to templates and recommendations on drawing up a
professional will.)

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