Childhood Trauma and the Achievement of Greatness with Sue Erikson Bloland at WCSPP

Dropped on:December 5, 2016
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WCSPP: Scientific Meeting, 2 CE Contact Hours

Sue Erikson Bloland, LCSW

Friday, December 9, 2016, 8:00 p.m., Admission: $20, 2 CE Contact Hours: $10 additional

Community Unitarian Church, 468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605
RSVP to Ken Barish,

In his book Greatness, psychologist Dean Keith Simonton argues that the achievement of greatness in any field of endeavor requires “a monomaniacal preoccupation” with a single pursuit, driven by “huge motivational forces” that clearly distinguish the renowned genius from others of less spectacular accomplishment. This presentation will highlight an important connection between certain childhood experiences of loss, neglect or abuse – in other words, early relational trauma – and the origin of the monomaniacal preoccupation with work and with the achievement that Simonton describes. What kind of trauma is it that sometimes sets in motion an extraordinarily driven, highly focused and effective pursuit of “greatness”? And why is it that even the most extraordinary success in achieving this goal does not, in fact, heal the wounds of childhood trauma or provide the emotional gratification that we all imagine it must?

To provide our clients with insight into this paradox, and encourage them in the pursuit of a more genuine path to healing and self-esteem, we need to examine our own fantasies about the emotional rewards attainable through the achievement of fame or greatness.

Sue Erikson Bloland is a psychotherapist in private practice and a member of the faculty of the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis in New York City, where she is also Co-Director of Admissions. She received her MSW from New York University and her analytic training at the Manhattan Institute. The daughter of the celebrated psychoanalyst and author, Erik H. Erikson, Ms. Bloland has made a life-long study of the nature of fame. Her memoir, In the Shadow of Fame, was published by Viking Penguin in February 2005. She has also published articles in The Atlantic Monthly, Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Psychoanalytic Inquiry.

We seek talented faculty and students who will constitute a vibrant community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran status, interests, perspectives, and socioeconomic status. Grounded in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination, WCSPP’s robust commitment to diversity is fundamental to the Institute’s mission of advancing knowledge, educating future leaders in the field, and providing public service.


Social Workers: WCSPP SWC PE is recognized by NY State Education Department’s State Board of Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #00063. A completed evaluation must be submitted at the end of the conference.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify several types of childhood trauma that are frequently associated with an obsessive drive to achieve extraordinary success.
2. Participants will have a greater awareness of their own commonly-held but distorted belief about the psychological rewards inherent in attaining renown.
3) Participants will be better able to guide their clients, who have grown up in a culture of celebrity, toward the pursuit of more genuine sources of personal gratification and self-acceptance.

Who should attend: Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health professionals, nurses, graduate students.

The Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
is a non-profit psychoanalytic training institute chartered in 1974
by the Regents of the University of the State of New York.
This email represents our on-going efforts to share a pluralistic view of psychoanalysis with the broader community.
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