In This Issue

A Message From the Section IX President

Current President Alice Lowe Shaw talks about Section IX activities, as well as a range of projects recently undertaken by section members.

By Alice Lowe Shaw, PhD

In January 2010, as I began my two year term as President of Section IX, I asked our members which issues related to our section’s mission were most pressing for them. Topics included: both domestic and international human rights; concerns for women and immigrants; torture with a particular focus on psychological torture; the military, military families and returning vets; continued engagement and support for the Gaza Community Mental Health Program; access to optimal treatment choices for mental health clients; multicultural perspectives; integration into Section IX and division leadership; and coalition building.

Some of these issues have been addressed by members within the section, others are being addressed by Section IX members outside of the purview of the group. For example, a vibrant listserv discussion considered prejudice against women, control of women’s bodies and the struggle for human rights. Members Jane Kenner, Marilyn Metzl, Susan Gutwill, Jane Hassinger, Marilyn Charles and Leanh Nguyen developed an exceptional roundtable
panel entitled “Claims on Women’s Bodies and the Struggle for Human Rights” that was presented in October, 2010 at the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) conference at Rutgers University. Three of those papers appear on pages 4 and 5 in this issue of the Psychoanalytic Activist.

Health Professionals Against Torture, of which Section IX and Division 39 are coalition partners, is working on a number of activities that will be reported in future issues. Past president, Frank Summers is collaborating with others to develop legislation making the participation of Illinois licensed health professionals in torture illegal. Similar efforts are being led by Steven Reisner in New York. Ernesto Mujica has been working in collaboration with the Executive Board of the Division of Psychoanalysis in New York, to develop a “Psychologists’ Oath”.

Jessica Benjamin, Virginia Goldner, Jane Hassinger, Steven Reisner and Charles Strozier are participating in a multi-disciplinary conference in NYC, May 13-15, 2011, entitled: “ Bystanders No More: Psychotherapeutic Dialogues for the Politically Silenced”, sponsoored by TRISP. Jessica Benjamin, Nancy Hollander, Stephen Portuges, Jess Ghannam, are among Section IX members who are continuing collaborative efforts to improve human rights in Gaza. Skye Haberman has been addressing declining community mental health services in NYC. Donna Bassin continues her dedication to the concerns of military veterans. For the past three years Ghislaine Boulanger has been working with mental health professionals in New Orleans addressing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on their personal and professional and lives. This project and a brief film documenting the work in New Orleans will be presented at the Division 39 meetings in April 2011.

In this issue of the Activist, Stephen Hartman reviews First Do No Harm: The Paradoxical Encounters of Psychoanalysis, War Making and Resistance, edited by members Adrienne Harris and Stephen Botticelli. As you will see from the list of authors on page 9, many members of Section IX have contributed chapters. Other recently published or upcoming books of particular interest to Section IX members include Uprooted Minds: Surviving the Politics of Terror in the Americas by Nancy Hollander and Elizabeth Goren’s Beyond the Reach of Ladders.

Many of our members have commitments beyond work and family leaving them little time to participate in listserv discussions and projects. One way to share thoughts and generate community is through participation in the Division 39 Spring Meeting, April 13-17 in New York City. This year, Frank Summers and Rachael Peltz will be joined by guest panelist, Robert Lifton on our sponsored panel, “Why We Matter: The Experiencing Subject, Psychoanalysis, and the Clinging to Hope,” on Saturday, April 16 from 1:00-2:50 p.m. Our reception is on Saturday, April 16 from 6-8 p.m. This is one of the few ways we can actually enjoy each other’s company in person.

We have an active and inspiring board. We also hope to engage new members in assuming leadership roles in our section. Interested members are invited to sit in on our next board meeting in New York on Saturday, April 16 from 4-6 p.m. Alice Shaw