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Psychoanalytic Exploration of Group in International Framework

  • 07/21/2024
  • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • via Zoom


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Psychoanalytic Exploration of Group in International Framework

2.0 CE Credit, *pending approval* for SPPP Members
***This session will NOT be recorded***


Date: July 21, 12:00 PM  Eastern Time

This roundtable will address the dynamics of group experiences as the subject pertains to international relations at the individual, interpersonal, and social level of analysis. The ‘group’ has received little attention in psychoanalytic theory and practice. The disconnection between individual and group psychologies reflects significant tensions among early theorists and is a feature of ensuing ‘theory wars’ among psychoanalytic subgroups. In spite of significant conflict and processes of splitting, frameworks for the study of group processes were in fact developed by theorists including Alexander Wolf (1949) and Kurt Lewin (1945), the Tavistock studies by Bion (1943), A K Rice (1969) and Foulkes (1944) who developed the school of Group Psychoanalysis. This splitting of individual clinical psychoanalysis and group psychoanalysis has resulted in an impoverished understandings of the embeddedness of the individual in social contexts, processes of mutual influence, ‘group as a whole’ dynamics and its relation to phenomena such as regression in groups, the emergence of leadership and other group roles, and unconscious group formations and communication patterns. Understanding and effectively working with conflict and regression in groups, and by extension, in national and global social structures, requires that psychoanalysts become familiar with these dimensions of human experience and interaction. Discussants will offer a timeline outlining the history of the group ruptures in psychoanalysis and discuss its current relevance, especially in these times of chaos and turmoil in the international order. We will explore the kaleidoscopic nature of a ‘group as a whole’ perspective through vignettes of our clinical, interdisciplinary, and international collaborative projects. We invite participants to join us in discussions focused on remedies to the splitting of individual and group perspectives within psychoanalytic thinking, training, and practice. Additionally, we hope that this framework will enable greater understanding of the painful disruptions and actual ruptures so common to our contemporary work groups.

Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in Los Angeles. Dr. Jacobs is in private practice and holds a faculty position at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Her clinical role includes consultations to both patients and practitioners in the health care system. She has had an enduring commitment to understanding group relations and the unconscious dynamics of organizations. Dr. Jacobs is a member of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems and a member of the Board of Directors of its West Coast Affiliate, Grex. She is a member of the planning committee of the Psychoanalysis in Transition group relations conference series sponsored by Grex. Dr. Jacobs is a member of the International Relations Committee of SPPP, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, the Association of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society and the American Balint Society.

Sheri-Ann Cowie, Ph.D. Dr. Cowie is the President of Cowie Counseling Coaching & Consulting. She works as a psychotherapist, organizational and executive leadership consultant/coach, and clinician who applies a psychoanalytic framework to community, educational, and cultural programs. She has lived and worked in the Caribbean and Europe, and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Cowie received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at New York University’s (“NYU”) Applied Psychology Department. She is a fourth-year candidate training to be a psychoanalyst at the Wiliam Alanson White Institute in New York City. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she worked in the legal and international business fields. She has held faculty positions at the University of San Diego teaching organizational behavior, New York University (“NYU”) teaching group dynamics and had a fellowship in Interpersonal Dynamics at the Yale University’s School of Management. Her board work includes service on non-profit, educational, and cultural boards including the Alliance Française de Philadelphie, The A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (“AKRI”), and Arch Street Preschool. Dr. Cowie was hired by the Board of the Center for the Study of Group and Social Systems (“CSGSS”) to be the 2024-2026 director for its flagship Group Relations Conference. This leadership conference creates a temporary institution where leaders learn, in the moment, how they exercise authority, leadership, and power in the face of ambiguity and covert processes. Dr. Cowie serves as Associate Editor for Organizational and Social Dynamics, an international journal integrating psychoanalytic, systemic & group relations perspectives. She is member and past Vice President of AKRI, member of the CSGSS, and the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organization. She works collaboratively with scholars to write and speak about prosocial outcomes such as altruism, loving relational life, and religion and spirituality among African-Americans and immigrants of African ancestry from the Caribbean.

Jane Hassinger, MSW, LCSW is a psychoanalyst and a faculty member (retired) and community-based researcher at the University of Michigan where for over 25 years, she taught in Women’s and Gender Studies, Psychology, Social Work,  the Ross School of Business, and the Medical School.  Her research has brought psychoanalysis to interdisciplinary/international collaborations and focused on women’s mental health, impacts of abortion stigma on reproductive health workers, racism/othering in psychoanalytic theory, education,  and practice; and the fundamentals of Community Psychoanalysis.   Jane is co-founder (with Billie Pivnick, PhD) of the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory—an online seminar and support network for psychoanalytically-informed practitioners who work in community-based settings around the world. She is co-chair of the Group Relations/Group Process program at the Psychoanalytic Institute for Northern California and teaches at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the William Alan White Institute in New York City. 

Moderated by:  Diana Faydysh is a scholar and clinician who is working towards her doctorate in clinical psychology, with a focus on depth psychology, at the Pacifica Graduate Institute. Having roots in both Switzerland and Russia, Diana was awarded the International Scholar Award by the International Relations Committee of Division 39 at the APA in 2019. Following this recognition, she joined the International Relations Committee and now chairs its international scholars subcommittee. Diana's research interests are in religious and political psychology, as well as in understanding history, worldviews and epistemology within psychology.

Moderator: Dr. Alexander Lupis is a psychoanalytic psychologist with a private practice based in Washington, DC, that focuses on providing culturally sensitive psychotherapy for clients from Eastern Europe & Eurasia. He has been an active member of the SPPP International Relations Committee since 2021 as well as an active member of the National Psychological Association (NPA) of Ukraine since 2022.

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