Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society

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Graduate Students 
 Early Career Professionals

APS is committed to providing opportunities for graduate students and early career professionals (ECP) to learn more about psychoanalytic theory and practice. Graduate students and early career professionals have a reduced membership fee as well as discounted rates for conferences and seminars. In fact, with early online registration, Saturday Morning Seminars are free to Graduate Student Members and Early Career Professional Members.   

Graduate Student Assistance Fund

As part of our commitment to our graduate student members, the Graduate Student Assistance Fund (GSAF) was established to provide small awards to students to attend psychoanalytic or generally psychodynamic conferences and workshops, as well as to address research expenses

Please consider making a separate tax-deductible donation to the GSAF. Recent student letters of appreciation are below, and if you'd like to read a more detailed overview of the GSAF click here: GSAF 

In addition to donations, APS sells items to raise funds for the GSAF. Currently, "Pink Freud" mugs designed by former APS member Reva Heron, PhD are available. The suggested donation is $20 (or more), and the amount of tax deduction you claim is between you and your accountant. To purchase, contact: Diane Humphreys-Barlow, LCSW.

If you have questions, please contact our 2016-17 President: Heather Hirschfeld, PhD.

If you are a graduate student or early career professional and would like to apply for a grant: APS Awards Application

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"Your donations really help..."

 in the words of our graduate student members.

This year’s Division 39 conference in Atlanta was a very productive and deeply moving experience for me. I had the good fortune of presenting on a panel during the conference, and it was the first occasion I had to do so in a psychodynamic setting. While the anticipation leading up to the panel was terrifying, I found the ensuing conversation to be rich and productive in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I am hopeful that this will be the first of a long career of presentations at Division 39 conferences. I also had the opportunity to help organize the conference by coordinating the volunteers for the conference, an opportunity which taught me a great deal about myself and my disposition towards administrative roles. Through this, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting psychanalytically oriented students from across the nation (and some internationally) who share in a passion for good clinical work, but often have trouble finding support in their communities. My conversations with these individuals reminded me of how fortunate we are to have an active psychoanalytic community in Knoxville with whom to learn and grow as a clinician and as a human being.

As in prior years, being caught up in such a vibrant and lively community at Division 39 was encouraging and emboldened my passion for psychoanalytic work. Between the three phenomenal keynote speakers, many clinically oriented panels, and panels integrating clinical practice and empirical work, I learned a great deal. My favorite clinical panel was with Dr. Jack Barlow (though I admit I am somewhat biased in this regard), and of the values the panelists found vital in their supervision with graduate students. His presentation was emotionally evocative, and really encapsulated all of the values he instills in students throughout supervision and his didactic seminar. I also attended the live supervision panel presented by the graduate student council, which made me reflect upon my own supervisory experiences and gave me an appreciation for the top notch supervisors we have in the University of Tennessee Psychological Clinic. Another great panel was that on research on Transference Focused Psychotherapy, including Diana Diamond and others who are on the cutting edge of diagnostic tools for the use with Borderline Personality Disorder. After Ken Levy’s presentation at APS on TFP, I took it upon myself to learn this approach, and the panel provided me with further direction in terms of educating myself in TFP as a treatment approach.

Lastly, and most importantly, I want to give my deepest thanks to Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society for their support this year and in previous years. It is not an exaggeration to say that, without your support, I could not have attended this conference. The education I’ve received in the past few years through APS has given me both the knowledge to understand and participate in intellectual culture in the larger psychoanalytic community, and the comfort of knowing I will always have a family in Knoxville despite where my career takes me. I look forward to spending my remaining time in Knoxville learning and growing within the APS community.

Morgun Custer
Graduate Student Member
May 17, 2016

Thanks to the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society, I was able to attend the APA Division 39 Spring Meeting for the second consecutive year.  As was the case last year, the conference was a rewarding and stimulating blend of ideas and fellowship. 

One of the more interesting panels addressed erotic countertransference, a subject that was in keeping with the theme of the conference: “hot and bothered.”  In particular, a graduate student on this panel gave a rather brave paper on the erotic feelings she had harbored for a patient early on in her training.  She detailed the ways in which her careful, explicit acknowledgement of the flirtatiousness that had developed between she and her patient had elicited information that may have otherwise remained hidden.  She also contrasted two different supervisory styles she had experienced while working through her erotic feelings.  One of her supervisors quickly dismissed her concerns, perhaps out of discomfort.  This mistake had the unfortunate effect of leaving the therapist feeling ashamed of her feelings.  Another of her supervisors, however, engaged her in an honest exploration of the countertransference.  This freed her to think about how to use her feelings as an instrument to propel the treatment forward.  With regard to both the therapeutic and supervisory relationships, her paper reified the value of a key psychoanalytic ethic: speak the unspoken and openly engage with it.  

Another panel I attended focused on the integration of research and clinical practice in the context of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy, a manualized and empirically supported psychodynamic treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  Recent research findings presented by the panel indicate that patients with BPD perform better than controls on a task that asks subjects to identify affect as expressed only by the eyes.  Another interesting finding revealed that patients with BPD may best be characterized as inclusion-insensitive as opposed to rejection-sensitive.  That is, rather than being acutely sensitive to rejection, these patients tend to assume they are always being rejected, and thus, have greater difficulty recognizing situations in which they are being included.  The implications for treatment were thoughtfully discussed with special attention paid to the ways in which these findings might illuminate the dynamics that tend to evolve between BPD patients and their therapists.

Other talks addressed such diverse issues as masculinity, aging and death, patients that elicit strong negative countertransferences, and the friction between the roles of scientist and practitioner that many graduate students must navigate.  The quality of these presentations was invariably high.  As was the case last year, the presence of so many other like-minded students, researchers, and clinicians allowed us all the opportunity to process new ideas in a rich and collaborative manner.  I expect that many of the people and ideas at this year’s conference will continue to impact my clinical work and sense of professional community for years to come.                

With many thanks,
Gyrid Lyon
Graduate Student Member
May 16, 2016

would like to first like to thank the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society for the financial support that has allowed me to attend my first (of many!) Division 39 annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. The meeting was a pleasant and welcomed surprise given some of the other, heavily research-focused conferences I’ve attended in the past. Without a doubt, my clinical curiosity around psychoanalytic theory and working with patients was valued and emboldened. I was excited to meet other graduate students and young professionals, many of whom I was given the opportunity to engage in insightful and intellectually fulfilling conversations around topics relevant to psychoanalysis in the current climate of psychology. I almost immediately felt welcomed by all of the members of division 39 I had the pleasure of meeting. It was clear the environment was warm and inviting to early career clinicians. 

During my time at the conference, I had the pleasure to attend many professional talks and seminars on a wide array of topics. I am happy to share my experiences and insights gained during some of my more favored seminars. One intriguing talk focused on working through assaults on the analyst’s subjectivity. Dr. Robert Grossmark and Dr. Steven Tublin both discussed demanding dyadic engagements that can occur while working analytically with patients. Specifically, Dr. Grossmark spoke to the flow of enactment that can emerge during psychotherapy, given different patient’s characterological organization and defenses. Dr. Grossmark further discussed how this enactment can occur beyond the level of language, and can be best understood by the means of countertransference. Dr. Tublin spoke to what can go unsaid between patient and therapist when political affiliations and ideology are in conflict in the relationship. Specifically, how much a patient may leave out of the therapy room out of anxiety around judgment or disagreement if he believes a therapist is of a different political ideology.

I also attended a talk on the current and future state of psychoanalytic education and training. Dr. Jack Barlow specifically spoke to his experience working as a supervisor and professor in the program I am currently attending. It was an eye-widening experience to hear a critical and deeply true analysis of the historically psychoanalytically oriented training institution moving away from its roots towards a more behavioral and research focused program. It left me with a concern; is there any room for us left? This question has stayed with me, and is one I hope to continue to explore and advocate for with my final time as a graduate student in a doctoral training program. Other speakers, including Dr. Gerard Fromm, spoke to longstanding issues within Division 39 itself, and within the greater entity of APA. Hearing the perspective of multiple speakers on this panel helped me to begin to understand the reality of where psychoanalytic training is, and for me to make the very most of the training I have access to currently.

I would again like to thank the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society for their generous support of myself and my fellow graduate students. I look forward to attending many more Division 39 spring meetings and APS events.
All the best,
Brianna E. Pollock
Graduate Student Member
April 15th, 2016

Thanks to the APS board and donors. Your generosity made it possible for me to attend last month's Division 39 conference.

I attended several presentations throughout the three days I was at the conference. The presentations I found most enriching were those that addressed or elaborated upon psychoanalytic psychology's contributions to clinical science. These included Auerbach et al's discussion of psychoanalysis as hermeneutic discipline versus as science, and Stern et al's presentation on TFP. The latter presentation was particularly informative. It confirmed my understanding of Kernberg's structural interview technique, and introduced me to more recently developed, standardized procedures for structural interviewing (i.e. STIPO). Finally, Eric Fertuck's discussion of research on borderline empathy demonstrated how empirical research can broaden and affirm knowledge derived from psychoanalytic theory.

Again, thanks to everyone for the generous support.

Paul Tullis 
Graduate Student Member 
May 16, 2016

My experience at the Division 39 Spring Meeting was valuable on two levels: first, it was an opportunity to be immersed in a community of psychoanalytic thinkers; second, I was able to explore a specific area in which I am deeply interested in the intersection of psychoanalysis and art. 

Spending time with so many people versed in psychoanalytic thought allowed me to take a new perspective on my clinical and theoretical training. Many of the attendees who clearly knew their theory also showed an openness to revising their own beliefs and positions, impressing me with their lifelong commitment to self-exploration. I left the conference with the idea that being part of a psychoanalytic community allows one to grow as a practitioner (and perhaps even practice psychotherapy more responsibly) because it gives us the opportunity to listen to and share ideas with other professionals. That clinicians with much more experience were still so committed to growth was inspiring. It was also reassuring to find that the generativity and support of the national psychoanalytic community reflects that provided by APS. It became very apparent that members of Division 39 care about the perspectives of early career clinicians hoping to continue the tradition. 

I was able to attend several panels with an emphasis on art and what it can tell us about culture, psychopathology, and clinical practice. A panel entitled "Encountering the Beats" discussed the impact Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other Beat artists had on American culture; the panelists spoke of being part of mid-20th century countercultures and how these experiences impacted their adoption of psychoanalytic thought. In another panel, Dr. Sandra Buechler used a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer to illustrate how an individual might not succumb to overwhelming shame. A presentation called "The Creative Pulse and the Great Wound" explored how art, in particular dance, can be used to work through cultural trauma (the art in question was a retelling of the Medea myth in response to the civil unrest of modern-day Greece.) The theme in this presentation appeared to echo a broader preoccupation across Division 39 with the large-scale crimes of cultures or nations (e.g., genocide, oppression, torture). In that sense, my experience at the conference helped me think further about how psychoanalysis can inform my morality and politics. 

I am extremely grateful to APS for its generous support, which allowed me to attend this event. I will be able to apply my experience there to both scholarship and clinical work.

Jared Goldman 
Graduate Student Member 
June 2, 2015

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