President’s Message "You're a hard act to follow."
by Michael Donner, PhD
Last month, I wrote an email to the membership about the difficulty the Nominating and Governance Committee (that I chair) has had finding someone to serve as President-Elect. I had noted that I would be stepping down as President in June, 2017, and that someone else needed to step up. That email prompted a number of conversations with a range of SFCP members, and a common refrain was the refrain “you’re a hard act to follow.”
This last weekend I had the opportunity to meet with a number of psychotherapy trainees and other interested members to discuss technology in clinical practice. This was a lively and interesting discussion about what is gained and what is lost with the introduction of iPhones, email, telephone and video sessions into analytic work. In another part of my life, I teach Law and Ethics to mental health professionals, and this is always a topic of great interest; most of my seminars involve a good deal of discussion about how technology is becoming so omnipresent in clinical work.
A protest on Martin Luther King’s birthday shut down the Bay Bridge and prompted a number of comments on Facebook and Twitter. Many of the comments unfavorably compared these protesters to Dr. King, and praised King for his peaceful approach. Most were critical of today's protesters for their disruption of traffic. One noted that his gentle, peaceful approach was the reason King was successful and revered as a leader of the civil rights movement.
Freud's Bar. The Scientific Meeting. Visiting Professor. A Day With. San Francisco, South Bay and East Bay Psychotherapy Forums. Stanford Grand Rounds. The Coalition for Clinical Social Work. Opera on the Couch. Members Present. Black Psychoanalysts Speak. That was just the November calendar.
Thanksgiving messages are often a list of those things we are thankful for, and this year is no different. I am thankful this year for the hard work of the SFCP Search Committee, who found our Executive Director. I am thankful for the daily work of our staff, both visible and behind the scenes, and all the usually thankless efforts of the members of SFCP who create, support and teach in our many programs. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate the dedication and hard work that goes into making SFCP a home for psychoanalysis.
As our search committee was interviewing candidates, one of them asked us “What’s your brand? Do you have an elevator speech?” That candidate (now our Executive Director Marian Banks-Nickleberry) stumped me then, and I remain a bit stumped today. I was recently interviewed by a TV reporter who asked me about SFCP. He wanted to know what we do. I fumbled around a bit, and finally settled on describing us as “an academic institution that trains mental health professionals the principles of psychoanalysis.” Wholly unsatisfied by this response, I found myself ask-ing the question: What is our brand?
It was my pleasure to attend the Membership Integration Party on Sunday, September 20th, an event made possible by the hard work of Meryl Botkin, Chair of the Membership Division, all the members of the Membership Integration Committee and the SFCP staff. What follows is part of my remarks at that meeting.
The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis was organized in 2007, combining the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute & Society, founded in 1941, with the San Francisco Foundation for Psychoanalysis, founded in 1991. The SFCP is a not for profit organization with more than 160 practicing analysts and more than 45 candidates (psychoanalysts in training).
The Center provides an extensive training program in psychoanalysis. The Center also sponsors a large, vibrant Extension Division which offers classes and seminars to mental health professionals as well as to the general public. In addition, it maintains Low / Moderate Fee Referral Services for adults, children and adolescents as well as providing other mental health services and programs for the general community.
San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
P: (415) 563-5815
F: (415) 857-7596