As part of Div. 39’s Scholars Program, Section IV (along with Sexuality and Gender Identities, Multicultural Concerns, Early Career, and Graduate Student Committees) has been providing awards to students and early career professionals for the past several years.

Section IV is the section of Div. 39 comprised of its local chapters across the country — small groups affiliated with the division who create local communities and programming.

Each year, a few of these local chapters nominate a bright and outstanding student or early career professional (ECP) from their community. The scholars are provided with $500 to travel to the spring meeting; a mentor in the division that they meet with for the year; and free membership with a subscription to Psychoanalytic Psychology.

This year’s Section IV scholars are: Hannah Cassedy, PhD, from Dallas; Sara Hamilton, PsyD, from Austin, Texas; and Corby Thompson from Oklahoma City. They have all written about themselves and their experiences at this year's meeting.

Hannah Cassedy, PhD

It was my privilege to be selected as one of the 2017 Section IV travel awards. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dallas, where I provide psychological services in an OB/GYN department of a local hospital. At this early stage in my career, I am eager to become more involved in Div. 39 and my local chapter, Dallas Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology. This award allowed me to travel to New York for the Div. 39 spring meeting, which is something I would have not been able to afford without this financial support. It was also an unexpected delight for me to attend the Section IV meeting; I came away from that motivated to increase my involvement in the leadership of my local chapter. This was my first time attending the Div. 39 spring meeting. In addition to the Section IV meeting, I also attended some fantastic presentations and accrued 14 CEUs. I was especially interested in the presentation, “Parents as Clinicians and Clinicians as Parents” (Kevin Meehan, PhD; Elizabeth Zick, PhD; Monique Bowen, PhD; Paul Donahue, PhD; Steve Tuber, PhD). I myself am not a parent, but I work primarily with pregnant and postpartum women as they face parenthood in a new way. This presentation was very helpful for me to think through ways of working with parents as they struggle with conflicted feelings of grace and anger, joy and sorrow.

Another presentation that was particularly compelling to me was Allan Schore’s keynote address, “Moving Forward: New Findings on the Right Brain and Their Implications for Psychoanalysis.” Like many, I am a big fan of his work and it was a delight to see him present in person. My local chapter is bringing him to Dallas in the fall for an invited workshop: his keynote reaffirmed my enthusiasm for further training with him, and I am now eager to become more involved in coordinating his visit to Dallas.

I was also particularly impressed with a graduate student panel entitled, “From the Couch to the Community: Exploring Diverse Applications of Psychoanalysis,” organized by Laura Captari, MA. Some of the speakers on this panel were exceptional presenters, which was quite inspiring as an early career professional. I was especially interested in the paper by two students from University of Texas Austin, Crystal Guevara and Hannah McDermott, who discussed how they negotiate self-disclosure in working with Latina women in a detention center. Their experiences sounded similar to some of mine, and their discussion of linguistic code shifting really resonated with me.

I am very grateful that the Section IV travel grant allowed me to attend these and other presentations. I am also very excited about my mentorship pairing with Tedi Koehn, PsyD. I am grateful that she is based in Dallas so we will be able to meet in person. I am also delighted to learn that she specializes in women’s issues, which is what I hope to specialize in as well. This kind of one-on-one mentorship can be invaluable as an early career professional (ECP) building a practice in Dallas, so I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity.

Please share my gratitude to all involved in this wonderful scholarship program. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Sara Hamilton, PsyD

This year’s meeting of Div. 39 was the first I have attended. I found the question posed to us, "The Times, They Are A-Changin’ How About Us," to be particularly apt as I continue my transition into an early career professional. Multiple opportunities arose daily for me to examine my various identities as a psychologist, a woman, a white person and as a psychodynamic clinician. I found myself reflecting on the interaction of these identities with each other, with our current political and social climate, and with the larger world of mental health treatment. As president-elect of the local Div. 39 chapter in Austin, Texas, I was also particularly aware of my anxiety about developing an identity as a leader within my local psychoanalytic community.

Meeting with the local chapter representatives of Section IV helped me to see the various ways in which Div. 39 members are using their own identities to foster conversations about psychoanalytic thinking in their communities. Listening to the discussions in the Section IV meetings showed me how energetic and creative members are in facilitating deep engagement around analytic topics. Within the passion of the membership, I also saw some fear; fear about the looming presence of CBT over our field and fear that the impact of managed care may shrink the numbers or perhaps the enthusiasm of our community. It seems like a reasonable fear that currently there are maybe not enough psychoanalytic thinkers to go around. I am inspired to use my position in Austin to reach out to more students and ECPs and to continue to show how psychoanalysis and analytic psychotherapy are important and useful in modern mental health treatment.

Corby Thompson

My name is Corby Thompson, and I am from Oklahoma City. I have been a member of Oklahoma Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (OSPS) for about three years and a member of Div. 39 for about two years. I first became interested in psychoanalytic thought while working towards a master’s degree at Southern Nazarene University (SNU), from 2010 to 2012. During that time, Joe Shaleen, my intern and later, LPC candidate supervisor was in psychoanalytic training while providing me with supervision. I have greatly benefited from his knowledge of psychoanalysis, wisdom, cool demeanor and clever antics over the past several years. After completing requirements for LPC licensure, I began serving as intern coordinator at the SNU community counseling center while seeing primarily adult individuals and couples. I have retained those roles to a more limited extent since I began pursuing a PhD in counseling psychology at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2016.

OSPS has been an ongoing community for personal and professional growth. I will forever be appreciative of the elders and forefolks of the community for their dedication to serving the membership, our broader community and the health and wellness of humanity. In addition to leadership and traditional mentoring roles, many of the elders volunteer teach in a one-year “Foundations of Psychoanalytic Thought” course—a course that has been crucial to the development of my understanding of the history and diversity of psychoanalytic thinking. OSPS has hosted a good number of my most influential writers, speakers and thinker/feelers. I am constantly starstruck at the speakers that present at monthly meetings and am constantly helped in finding new and more nuanced ways of working and being with clients.

I was pleased to hear of the social justice theme of the 2017 spring meeting, as the integration of social justice and psychodynamically oriented therapy has been a topic of increasing interest for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the range of topics presented, from Cleonie White’s integration of race-theory into psychoanalytic thinking to Alexandra Jamali’s conceptualization of being “racially-queer” and Fakhry Davids’ model of internal racism. As a whole, the presenters of the conference made a case that identity-based oppression constitutes a significant portion of human suffering for the oppressed, the oppressor, and the cultures and microcosms to which they/we belong. No one is immune; everyone plays a part. The part that one plays depends on the extent to which he/she/they are aware of their biases, prejudices, traumas and fears. 

My professional goals for the future are numerous and uncertain. Any anxiety I feel about my uncertainty is typically ameliorated when I consider that I am a part of a profession that considers people in the field with ten years or less of experience as “early career professionals.” One trajectory that is certain, however, is that I plan to continue to get and give what I can to the psychoanalytic community. Having been a part of the local and world psychoanalytic communities has contributed as much to my personal/interpersonal growth as it has to my professional growth.

Finally, I wish to express thanks to Section IV for funding the grant to attend the 2017 spring meeting; to the OSPS leadership for nominating me for the award; to the organizers and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the conference possible; and to the presenters who have enriched my life and the lives untold number of other individuals with whom I connect.