Question of the Month
Lauren Byrne, MA
In my second year of clinical training, I was placed at a community mental health clinic in the Bay Area. I was assigned to work with Amy Glick. In my work with Amy, I realized that psychoanalysis was more than theory, truly it was an aspect of who I am and how I think. She showed me that psychoanalytic theory and practice could be scientific and artistic, creative and powerful. In our supervisory sessions, Amy taught me humility in regard to analytic knowledge and clinical practice. She continues to do so with her feedback, clinical impressions, associations and through modeling. Amy has shaped and challenged me, all the while encouraging me to own who I am as a psychoanalytic training clinician.
The Times, They Are A-changing
By the time you read this, SFCP will have elected co-presidents, a first for our organization. The last nearly four years have gone by pretty fast, and new leadership and a new leadership model are not the only things that have changed since the last SFCP election. When I took office as President-Elect, Jeff Miller was our COO, and Zach Cowan was the Chair of the Board. Bill Glover was chairing the PED, and Gary Grossman the chairing the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Education Division.
Despite the many changes, SFCP is still focused on fulfilling our mission. We remain “dedicated to advancing the vitality and enduring value of psychoanalysis” and we do so in the face of the many challenges facing a non-profit in the current environment. Although our building and classrooms are filled with candidates, students, social workers and participants in our many psychoanalytic psychotherapy programs, we are coming up against some very real budgetary constraints. We have been able to keep our fees for these programs low because our teachers receive no compensation, but our salaries and other expenses keep rising.
Do you believe in what we do? Do you know what we do?
For well over a decade, SFCP has been trying to develop a spirit of giving within the organization. Outside of our very successful Capital Campaign and a small number of stalwart contributors, our efforts have been disappointing. I have been talking to some of our members about their vision for SFCP and the potential impediments to raising funds both within our membership and raising funds from foundations and business. Some of the responses I received were predictable, others surprising, while a few were downright disconcerting.
A common refrain was that people were feeling tapped out. Our dues seem high, and with dues to APsaA and licensing fees, some members felt like they had little more to give. Although unfortunate, this seemed understandable. Sometimes these members thought that we should be able to make do with what we have. They were aware that we have an endowment, that in addition to dues, many teach and serve on committees, so feel they have given enough already.
CW: How did you get interested in psychoanalysis?
GG: That’s always a good question. When I started working as a therapist, because I’ve been interested in the field since high school-- my first job was at Fort Help—a nonprofit, private, community based psychiatric clinic formed in the late ‘60s as an alternative to community mental health. It was run as a collective: the people who founded it were originally social activists and hippies. It attracted a counter-cultural clientele. I hadn’t been to graduate school yet; I was an undergrad in psychology---
CW: May I interrupt? How did you know you always wanted to be a therapist?
CO-PRESIDENTS OR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT?
As you have no doubt heard, SFCP does not have a President-Elect. The Nominations and Governance Committee of the Board has been working diligently to recruit possible candidates, thus far to no avail. We have spoken to many qualified members, but so far, no takers. In previous President’s Messages, I have spoken of my conversations and the concerns about the workload and time. These are legitimate considerations, however, there may be others as well. The role of President of SFCP poses some unique challenges, and it may be that some of the concerns about serving as President have to do with assuming the responsibility for the success of an organization that we all value so much.
The Board of Trustees has been grappling with the question of what to do in the event that when I complete my term in June there is no one to serve. Although the Board is engaging in contingency planning for that possibility, it has also come up with some other options. In trying to think through what may be causing some hesitation, the Board has approved two new options: a president and vice-president or even co-presidents.