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Committee on Psychoanalysis and Health Care: Mission

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Our objective is to encourage more enthusiasm about strengthening the voice of psychoanalytic theory and practice in the health care area, and to encourage connections between members of our Division working on common problems and in similar clinical or research areas.The origins of our committee date to 2002 with the creation of the Task Force in Psychoanalysis and Health Care. The Task Force founding co-chairpersons,Mary Joan Gerson, Ph.D. and Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D. continue to serve as chairs of the committee. The creation of the Task Force was part of the Presidential Initiatives of then Division president Maureen Murphy, Ph.D.  

The task force was designated a committee in 2007 and its goals are to:  

1)   Increase the awareness of the contribution of psychoanalytic theory and research in the health care arena to medical practitioners and to the public

2)   Develop models of collaboration with physicians and other health care practitioners to maximize patient care and promote positive health outcomes        

3)   Educate the psychoanalytic community about the relationship of psychoanalytic theory to etiology, symptom exacerbation and pain management and the efficacy of psychoanalytic techniques in treatment planning  For the past nine years we have organized a symposium at the Division 39 Spring Meeting  


Committee on Psychoanalysis and Health Care: Activities

Each year the committee has endeavored to cover a different aspect of psychoanalytic engagement in health care issues. The following is a listing of our past panels:

2002 – The general issues of collaboration with other medical professionals, relationship factors relevant to coping with illness and the psychology of pain

2003 – Several experts in health care examined the particular counter-transference issues which arise in working with patients dealing with illness and pain

2004 - A contemporary view of psycho-immunology from a cutting-edge research and clinical perspective (this paper is posted on the website)

2005 – An examination of several crucial domains of health care, including caretaking of the chronically ill and reproductive psychology.  

2006 -  A survey of the career trajectory of a psychoanalyst working in a health care setting with a panel which considered the possible roles of a psychoanalyst in health care system

2007 – The challenges faced by a Canadian child psychoanalyst working in a pediatric division of a hospital, in which his psychoanalytic focus was marginalized by the singular embrace of cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches.

2008 - How medically ill patients and their families have to “pass” in normal society and bear the trauma of physical illness without social support

2009 – Contemporary issues in reproductive health and the implications of the availability of reproductive technology on psychic structure.

Our newest venture is an APA supported list serve, which we have recently launched.  We encourage you all to register as members for this list serve, so that you can introduce questions and postings of common interest.  Our first general discussion will focus on reproductive psychology, using our recent panel presentations as a springboard for discussion. We look forward to activating the resources of our membership so that we can learn from each other, and further recognition of psychoanalysis in the health care arena.

Committee on Psychoanalysis and Health Care: Members

Mary Joan Gerson, Ph.D. 
NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York

Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D. 
UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles  

Judith L. Alpert, Ph.D.  
NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York

Frances Sommer Anderson, Ph.D.  
NYU School of Medicine, New York

Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S.
UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

Maureen Murphy, Ph.D.  
Psychoanalytic Center of Northern California, San Francisco

E. Joy Sasson-Gelman, Ph.D.  
The Wright Institute, San Francisco, CA

Jeff Wetzel, M.A.  
The City University of New York, New York



Downloadable PDFs
MJ Gerson, Embodied Experience
Selected References, Psychoanalysis and Health Care
Jacobs, Working in American Medicine

© Division of Psychoanalysis, 1999-2003