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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Oct 27, 2019

“I think the psychoanalytic training that we’ve had really helped us in this work to know how to slow down, to know how to listen, to know how to wait and process material under conditions that can feel and really are very urgent - cases when there is a baby in great danger or a mother in great danger.“


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Sally Moskowitz and Rita Reiswig. Dr. Moscowitz received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the City University of New York where she first met and worked with Anni Bergman. Dr. Moscowitz is a graduate both of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research where she is now a fellow and training analyst. She is also a graduate of the Anni Bergman Parent-Infant program, which she now co-directs and is also a member of the Contemporary Freudian Society. Since 2002 she has been part of the team of therapists working with Beatrice Beebe, on the mothers, infants and young children of  September 11th, 2001 Project. Dr. Moskowitz has a private practice in New York City, working with adults in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and with infants, parents, and children in psychotherapy. She codirects the Anni Bergman Program home visiting project, as well as providing direct services as one of its therapists.

Rita Reiswig began her psychoanalytic training at the Contemporary Freudian Society in New York in 1985, becoming a training and supervising psychoanalyst in both the child and adult programs and on the faculty of the child program. In 1995 a group of analysts of the Freudian Society met as a group to focus on infant development and parent-infant treatment. In 2006 this infant program was renamed The Anni Bergman Parent-Infant Program and became a joint venture between the Contemporary Freudian Society and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. In 2014, the home visiting project for mothers and infants was added to the offering of the infant program, which she also codirects as well as provides direct services as one of the therapists. She too, since 2002, has been part of a team of therapists working with Beatrice Beebe on the Mothers, Infants and Young Children of  September 11th, 2001 Project. She authored the paper “What is transmitted from the mother to the child about the father lost in 9/11” in the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy in 2011. 

As you will hear in today’s interview, these are two very generous psychoanalysts - they are generous with their time, with their spirit and with their interest in working with patients who ordinarily would never see the inside of a psychoanalyst’ office. They are also generous in sharing with us their lives, backgrounds, and passion for this work.


Key takeaways:

[4::40] The psychoanalytic frame as a state of mind.

[5:25]  Sally Moskowitz talks about the psychoanalytic frame.

[8:05] Rita Reiswig talks about the acquired psychoanalytic frame.

[10:48] Receiving referrals of the most difficult cases.

[12:22] Slow things down in the face of urgency.

[13:18] Open-ended treatments.

[14:24] History of psychologists working with the community.

[16:21] Treating people with kindness.

[17:22] Seeing extreme poverty.

[18:23] The patient’s reactions.

[20:18] Intergenerational aspects of having a baby.

[21:01] First clinical example.

[27:48] Second clinical example.

[32:55] They talk about their backgrounds which brought them into work with children.

[36:32] The experience with Anni Bergman.

[37:31] Growing a family of colleagues.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings


1.    Bergman, A. (1999). Ours, Yours, Mine: Mutuality and the Emergence of the Separate Self. NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc.


2.     Moskowitz, S., Reiswig, R., Demby, G. (2014). From Infant Observation to Parent-Infant Treatment: The Anni Bergman Parent-Infant Training Program. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13:1, 1-8.


3.     Reiswig, R. (2011). Creating Space for Mourning a Lost Father and Husband After September 11: A Therapist’s Reflections. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 10:2-3, 238-241.


4.     Moskowitz, S. (2011). Primary Maternal Preoccupation Disrupted by Trauma and Loss: Early Years of the Project. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy10:2-3, 229-237.


Information about the Anni Bergman Parent-Infant Program Home-Visiting Project can be found at