Smart Foundation helps candidate study end-of-life ‘Existential Maturity’
Sometimes patients say striking things like: “Cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.” And patients' loved ones say things like: “Accompanying him on his last journey is the most inspiring thing I have ever done.”
Sometimes palliative care clinicians say equally odd things. Like: “I could never find the vitality that we have in palliative care in another medical discipline; it comes from the people we care for.”
Comments like these across a career in medicine inspired Linda Emanuel, MD, PhD, a candidate in the Institute Psychoanalytic Education Program’s Child Analysis Committee, to investigate what she has come to call “existential maturity.” She coined the phrase to refer to a state she’s observed in patients old and young who are facing their own or another person’s mortality.
“Existential maturity is a state of balance in which the essential, integrated reality is death. That reality can be unspeakably painful, but it is in place with the rest of life and the greater world,” Emanuel says. “This way of being seems particularly capable of love, finds or creates meaningful value, tenderness, and acceptance, even along with other emotions that may be passionate, turbulent, and pained.”
Grant Support; Partners
Emanuel recently received support from the Smart Family Foundation and the International Psychoanalytical Association to work with children and adults who have terminal cancer in order to explore what existential maturity feels like experientially and how psychotherapists can assist in achieving the state.
Other partners in the project include the Supportive Oncology Services at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, and the Institute.
Emanuel came to the Institute with deep expertise in palliative care and a research interest in understanding what moves people when mortality seems near.
Many times, she says, “inhibitions that impeded loving relationships before would lift, and people become freed to relate and love fully.” She also observed that often people have not known how to think about death and as they learn how to do so they achieve needed skills in approaching it.
The partners in the research project will work together to produce insights that they expect will be reported in papers based on cases of children and their family members with whom they work.
To receive updates about this work, please sign up for our email newsletter
Join us for an Education Programs Open House
Please join us from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 21 in person at the Institute, 122 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 1300, or via Zoom tele-conference for out-of-state student prospects. At the open house, attendees will hear from directors, faculty and current students of our various programs and can speak with them informally. Refreshments will be served.
The Institute offers educational programs in psychoanalytic thought to mental health professionals and others seeking to apply these ideas in their own disciplines. Our programs serve learners new to the field as well as those seeking deeper mastery. At the Open House we will discuss programs for students interested in beginning classes next fall:
Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought provides a year-long foundational education in psychoanalytic thought, theory, and practice to mental-health clinicians, scholars, professionals in allied disciplines, college graduates, and the interested public.
In the Psychoanalytic Education Program mental health professionals undertake coursework, a personal psychoanalysis, and supervised clinical analytic experience to prepare to practice psychoanalysis of adults and of children, adolescents and families.
Also available are Exploring Psychoanalysis, a mentorship open to advanced trainees and early career professionals in psychiatry, psychology and social work or allied fields with an interest in psychoanalysis, and the Psychotherapy Clinic Fellowship, a two-year, part-time program for mental-health clinicians to study and improve skills in providing adult psychotherapy using psychoanalytic principles.
If you have questions about our programs or the open house, please feel free to contact Alison Chandler, Director of Education Administration, at email@example.com or 312-922-7474.
, education programs
Institute celebrates Everett as founding director of adult clinic
Photo: Kevin McMahon and Pfeffer Eisin were among the therapists at a gathering to honor Polly Everett Oct. 24
Therapists who work in the Institute’s Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Clinic and others from the Institute gathered to celebrate Polly Everett, founding mother of the clinic.
After more than 30 years with the Institute, serving as director and for the past several years as a therapist at the clinic, Everett will devote more time to her private practice.
“Polly was the driving force behind the development of the Adult Psychotherapy Clinic,” Institute President Erika Schmidt said. Current and past clinicians who gathered in the Institute lounge October 24 for a farewell gathering echoed the sentiment.
The Adult Psychotherapy Clinic, a reduced fee psychotherapy clinic within the Institute, employs approximately 15 licensed psychotherapists and a group of experienced student interns, offering consultation and psychotherapy to adult individuals and couples. Therapists are in the main graduates of one of the Institute’s training programs.
Originally from St. Louis, Everett worked as chief outpatient social worker at University of Chicago Hospitals before moving to the Institute. She was hired to evaluate people seeking psychoanalytic treatment for their potential as control cases to receive treatment by analysts in training. as for analytic patients.
For one reason or another, a number of those she evaluated were not a good fit as control cases, she said but after doing their intake interviews with her they were disappointed to have to start over with a referral somewhere else. Everett introduced the idea of adding psychotherapy services to treat these individuals.
Therapists at the gathering credited Everett with welcoming as well as helping to train them. Ironically, in many ways working as a therapist can be a solitary job, and Everett made the clinic a warm and welcoming place, said Pfeffer Eisin.
“Polly started the careers of a lot of people by giving them a place at this clinic,” added Sally Carton, who spent 12 years with the Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Clinic before moving to private practice. Polly embodied the knowledge, support and community therapists felt working together with her, many said. As one therapist put it: “I called it the Polly clinic.”
Welcome new Psychoanalytic Fellowship Program members
This September the Psychoanalytic Fellowship Program will welcome 20 new Fellows. This group of social work, psychology, counseling, and psychiatry professionals and residents is joined by an artist and interior decorator.
Meeting monthly, the group will discuss readings selected to expose them to core ideas about psychoanalytic theory and practice. In addition throughout the year, each Fellow will meet monthly with a member of the Institute faculty to discuss their interests, clinical material, or research ideas.
Four case conferences where Fellows present their own clinical work and receive feedback from their peers and faculty provide an opportunity to further deepen their understanding of psychoanalysis. We are delighted to welcome this accomplished group of young people who are eager to expand their horizons:
- Lutfi Alkaddour, MA (PsyD student)
- Stacey Austin, PsyD
- Marina Bayeva, MD, PhD
- Alice Caceda, MA (Counseling)
- Indrany Datta-Barua, MD
- Lisa Karaitis, PsyD
- Amanda Kerschner, MFA
- Annette LePique, MA (Art History)
- Mollye Levy, PsyD
- Anne-Marie Lindquist, MA, LPC
- Michael Morin, PhD
- Ashley Moser, BA (completing Masters)
- Scott Niewinski, MA (PsyD student)
- Emma Peck-Block, MA, LSW
- Hugh Seller, MD
- Collin Shotts, MA (PsyD student)
- Jamie Tolmatsky, MA (PsyD student)
- Olivia Torres, MA (PsyD student)
- Simon Weismantel, MSW, LSW
- Weina Xu, MS, LCPC
- Timothy Yovankin, MD
, Fellowship Program
Undergraduates meet analysts in unique collaboration at Institute
Colorado College Professors Marcia Dunbar-Soule Dobson and John Riker organize a class on analysis for their undergraduates with support from the Institute every summer.
For the past 11 years, the Institute has played a unique role in helping to communicate a passion for psychoanalysis to Colorado College students as the site of Dobson's and Riker's popular summer school course, “Contemporary Psychoanalysis.”
Faculty serve as guest lecturers throughout the four-week program. For example, the students read several chapters of Allen Siegel’s Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of Self, then meet Siegel at his home for a cookout. Faculty who presented during the June 2017 course include Arnold Goldberg, Arnold Tobin, Frank Summers, Brenda Solomon, David Terman, and others.
Riker and Dobson met as teachers at Colorado College and married decades ago. In 1998, after Dobson received her second PhD in Clinical Psychology -- the first is in Classical Philology, and her professorship is in the Classics department -- they created a minor in psychoanalysis at the school.
The couple connected with the Institute in 2003, when Riker was Kohut Visiting Professor at University of Chicago. A philosophy professor, his recent work includes the 2010 book Why It Is Good to Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society and his 2017 Exploring the Life of the Soul: Philosophical Reflections on Psychoanalysis and Self Psychology.
“When we returned home, I spoke longingly to John expressing the wish that we could have these exceptionally gifted people come to speak at Colorado College for our Psychoanalysis Minor,” Dobson recalled recently. “We both understood this would be too expensive.”
“'Then John said, 'Well, if we can’t bring them here, why don’t we go to them?' she recalled. Institute faculty under the leadership of David Terman, former Director, welcomed the five-week program and the visiting class was born.
Analytic courses for undergrads
Riker and Dobson say that as far as they know theirs is the only undergraduate course at a psychoanalytic institute in the country. Students must have taken at least one previous course on psychoanalysis before traveling to Chicago for “Contemporary Psychoanalysis,” although many have taken far more.
“For me, the takeaway has been the opportunity to talk with psychoanalysts who are working in the present day,” said Dylan Ward of Vermont, entering his senior year. Ward created his own major in human motivation, combining psychoanalysis, literature, and film. “One theme that keeps coming up with a lot of analysts is empathy, and using that as a tool in analysis.”
Echoing that experience, Alexandra Appel, from San Diego, appreciated that the class focused less on theory than other courses. “It’s about people, not systems,” she said. Another plus of the class was the chance to learn more about non-Eurocentric notions of analysis and get beyond reading canonical texts. Appel said she plans to major in psychology with a minor in psychoanalysis and eventually to work as a clinician.
Dobson said students have gone on from the psychoanalysis minor at Colorado College to further study to become social workers, get a doctorate in psychology, or other programs, including at George Washington University, Smith College, University of Chicago, Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago, Denver University, and elsewhere.
The class is the crown jewel of the school’s minor in psychoanalysis program, according to Dobson: “We get people interested in psychoanalysis, and once they’re interested they really want to pursue it.”
Friday, June 23 is Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis' graduation day for our certificate-granting programs. Congrats to our graduates of the Adult Psychotherapy Clinic Fellowship Program, Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program, Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program, Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought, and Psychoanalytic Education Program.
Fundamentals is our newest course and we are pleased to report that six of those who completed the one-year program plan to continue psychotherapy or psychoanalytic study at the Institute.
Graduation takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 23 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor penthouse. Faculty and students who have not yet RSVP'ed but wish to attend, please check with Chris Susman to see if spots remain available to join us.
To our grads, we wish you a bit of rest followed by a prosperous, healthy and interesting future! If you would like to become involved in our alumni committee, please complete this survey or check in with Chris.