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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jul 28, 2019

“I listen with my psychoanalytic ear, for the unconscious, for defense mechanisms, affect, ego strengths and relationship between us, but at the UN I specifically want to focus on my work using a psychoanalytic lens”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Vivian B. Pender, who is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She is a trustee of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Pender is also the main representative to the UN of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Her edited book The Status of Women was published by Routledge in 2016.

In our talk today Dr. Pender will describe her long-standing and devoted work at the United Nations and some of the successes that she’s had, bringing her psychoanalytic mindset to that vital work.


Key takeaways:

[3:25] Interventions in sex trafficking and forced marriages.

[7:33] Violence towards women and girls.

[8:23] Commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls.

[8:53] Child marriage is permitted in 48 states in the US.

[9:44] The case of an 8 year old girl about to be married to a 60 year old man.

[10:24] How to report to the UN?

[14:24] The experience of “on the ground workers”.

[18:13] Dr. Pender talks about working for the UN.

[20:01] What brought Dr. Pender into this work?


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch

World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan


Recommended Readings:

Bion, W. (1961). Experiences in Groups. London: Tavistock Publications.


Pender VB (2007). Approaches to prevention of intergenerational transmission of hate, war and violence. International Journal of Psychoanalysis;88:507-14.


Pender VB (2019). The International Psychoanalytical Association at the United Nations in Harris, A & Montagna, P, Eds., Psychoanalysis, Law and Society. London: Routledge.