Columbia University and Yeshiva University
New York City, NY
It is truly an honor to be invited to present myself in this forum. It is a wonderful opportunity to ‘meet’ each other, which I find so enriching.
I was captivated by psychology from a very early age, when I happened to grab a psychology book that belonged to my much older sister, who was studying sociology at the University. I remember feeling the overwhelming sense of awe and rupture, and the immediate connection to this way of thinking and understanding people. I was 10 years old at the time, and it was the start of an intense fascination that continues to this day. The most interesting thing about our work as psychologists is that it is so varied in every way. We can delve into so many areas and types of work, we can bring psychology to so many different settings, and in clinical work, new horizons open daily, with every patient. No individual is like anyone else. It is never boring! The most meaningful thing in terms of changes in our field has been for me the evolution of intersubjective and relational psychoanalytic psychology, which took place in the span of the three decades between the beginning of my schooling and now. I feel so much more aligned with some of the cardinal changes brought about in theory and in the practice of psychology, especially the emphasis on the authenticity and embodied presence of the therapist, the co-constructed nature of the interactions between therapist and clients, and the much more humble and egalitarian stance of the therapist. There have been cardinal changes such as the patient-centered focus, rather than the therapist-expert stance, the revised view of enactment as a form of important non-conscious communication, and there have been new insights from empirical developmental studies, mother-infant research and the emerging discipline of neuroscience.