This outreach event is offered free of charge and is open to the public.

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Analytic Practice and the Socioeconomic Surround in Germany and the United States

An international dialogue between German and American analysts about current cultural, social, political and historical influences on psychoanalytic theory and practice

Date: Sunday, October 13, 2019
Time: 10:00am - 12:00noon
Introduction: Dr. med. Klaus Poppensieker
SFCP, Training and Supervising Analyst, DPG (German Psychoanalytical Society)
Presenters, Germany: Ada Borkenhagen, Dr.Phil., Dipl. Psych.
lecturer, U. of Magdeburg, Training and Supervising Analyst, DPG Institute Magdeburg

Ruth Pfeffer, Dipl. Psych.
Weinheim a.d. Bergstrasse

Gudrun Wolber, Dipl. Psych.
Training and Supervising Analyst, DPG Institute Hamburg

Dr. med. Lutz Garrels
Training and Supervising Analyst, Chair of DPG Institute Frankfurt.
Presenter, US: Stephen Seligman, D.M.H.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF; Training and Supervising Analyst, SFCP & PINC; Joint Editor-in-Chief, Psychoanalytic Dialogues
Moderator: Leora Benioff, PhD
SFCP post-graduate program subcommittee
Location: San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Program Fee: Free

The ideal of an undisturbed clinical situation in our consulting rooms has always been compromised by outside factors that influenced our work and our identities as analysts. When analysts from two different cultures and socioeconomic realities meet and dare to examine some of the respective outside influences onto their analytic practice and theory, we hope to promote our professional evolution and our capability to work creatively. There are specific and longstanding historical and cultural topics with regard to Germany and the US. Postwar Germans were raised on the acknowledgement of guilt and shame. For postwar German analysts there is always the massive impact of the Holocaust and the (self-) destruction of psychoanalysis in those years – both felt in their personal histories and in their work with German patients. American analysts look back onto American traumas, mythologies and narratives. They deal with a population and a society that only in part has looked at and worked through these issues. There are also more current factors that we may overlook when we are working simply within our clinical practices and theories inside the given culture. German analysts work within a highly regulated health care system and a still somewhat functioning social democracy. American analysts mostly work independently with very few insured patients. And they work in a more individualistic, violent and polarized society.

In this postgraduate exchange between psychoanalytic colleagues from Germany and the United States SFCP faculty member Klaus Poppensieker will introduce to us his longstanding German supervision group, 10 accomplished analysts, who will present insights into factors that influence their clinical work:

  • the psychoanalytic treatment of patients within the health-insurance system
  • the developments around psychoanalytic education in Germany
  • a short look at prominent theoretical concepts that are being discussed in Germany and that shape their orientations.

Stephen Seligman will wonder how troubling developments on the current US scene affect psychoanalysis: accelerating economic inequality; the threat of authoritarianism, xenophobia, racism, and white supremacy; the commoditization of emotions and subjectivities and the neoliberal cult of the market and individuality; the push towards quick fixes and apparent “cost-efficiencies,” and more. We will then have an hour for dialogue, exchange and exploration of these topics. Leora Benioff kindly has offered to moderate the discussion.

Please join us for this thought-provoking Sunday morning event and be part of a group of colleagues that will take a look at our field from both sides of the Atlantic.