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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Nov 14, 2021

"A large group [of analysts] sitting in the circular Tavistock manner talked about their reactions to the state of the world. It wasn’t just about the law about Poland and the Holocaust but also about the populist movements that were gaining ground in many places. The psychoanalysts were saying ” What can we do? What can psychoanalysts do?” I thought to myself “Well, the IPA holds a wealth of expertise, certainly psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic thinking can make a difference in our troubled world."  


Episode Description: Dr. Wolfe begins by sharing with us a pivotal moment in her decision to run for office. It was when she encountered political censorship, false facts, and indoctrination that she chose to seek a leadership role in the IPA. She describes her plans to bring our specifically psychoanalytic skills to make a difference in the larger social arena. She shares with us the variety of people and programs that are currently functioning in relation to the wider world. She feels that we can continue the tradition of being involved in our communities that originated in the 1920s and ‘30s in Europe. In sum, Dr. Wolfe asks and challenges, "We have so much to offer why don't we share it with the world." 


Our Guest: Harriet Wolfe, M.D., is President of the International Psychoanalytical Association, Past President of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. Her scholarly interests include clinical applications of psychoanalytic research, organizational processes, female development, and therapeutic action. She has a longstanding commitment to psychoanalytic public health intervention. She has co-authored a number of psychoanalytically informed guided activity workbooks for children, parents, and teachers to help children cope with natural and manmade disasters. She teaches analysts-in-training, psychiatric residents, and junior psychiatric faculty about the psychodynamic understandings of severely ill patients and the value of listening to listening to a la Haydee Faimberg in the clinical setting. She has a private practice of psychoanalysis and individual and couple’s psychoanalytic psychotherapy in San Francisco.