Countertransference to Patients Facing Death:Reflections on Death Anxiety, Presenter: Norman Straker, MD
Discussant: Anna Burton, MD
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 8 pm, The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium, New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, 247 East 82nd Street, NYC (btwn 2nd and 3rd Aves)
This presentation will address the longstanding neglect of “death anxiety” by psychoanalysts. As a profession we have denied the importance of helping our patients with the existential crisis of facing death and have had a tendency to discourage our patients from speaking about their fears of death and dying. As a counterpoint, our society has very recently and actively moved to pass legislation for “assisted death” to respond to those who want to exercise control over their anxieties about facing death. Our theory and practice needs to be more connected to the needs of our patients and to our medical colleagues, rather than being stuck in the theoretical past. I have had to evolve my thinking and leave the comfort of Freud’s view that “our unconscious believes in our own immortality.” This view defended me against my own countertransference anxiety about death and permitted me in the past to feel comfortable discouraging my patients from working through their fears of death and dying. I have found that a more direct existential approach backed up by empirical data has given me a sense of competence and comfort in facing the most challenging crisis in each of our lives. This approach lessens the patient’s death anxiety and promotes meaningful, psychological growth at the end of life.
NYPSI Members and NYPSI Students: FREE
General Admission: $15
Student Admission (non NYPSI): $10
To register, click HERE, visit nypsi.org or call 212.879.6900
Lois Oppenheim, PhD, Scientific Program Chair
Norman Straker, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell College of Medicine, a consultant at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and a member of the faculty of New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute. Dr. Straker also maintains a private practice in New York City. His main area of interest is the subject of his recent book Facing Cancer and the Fear of Death: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Treatment. Dr. Straker has 40 years of experience with cancer patients and their families. He was one of the original faculty members of the very first psycho-oncology program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While there he taught courses on psychodynamic psychotherapy, was a consultant to oncologists, conducted empirical research, and participated in the production of two widely distributed teaching videos. Currently, he teaches a course on facing death to psychiatry residents, hematology-oncology and palliative care fellows at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. His psychoanalytic teaching is at NYPSI where he teaches candidates, psychotherapy associates and extension classes. Dr. Straker has chaired a discussion group on the topic of “Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy of Cancer Patients” for the American Psychoanalytic Association for more than 25 years.
Anna Meister Burton, MD is a graduate and member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education (IPE), affiliated with NYU School of Medicine, and the New Jersey Psychoanalytic Institute. She has been a member of various study groups including the Kris Study Group. Dr. Burton, a graduate of New York Medical College, has been an active member in the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance and is a founding member of The Soldiers Project. She has taught at various medical schools and institutes including UMDMJ, IPE, and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, where she has also served on the Board of Trustees, the Ethics Committee, and the Program Committee. Dr. Burton has been in private practice for over six decades.
2 CME/CE CREDITS OFFERED
Educational Objectives: After attending this activity, participants will be able to:
1) Explain the theoretical basis for our failure to accept “death anxiety ” and offer empirical evidence that death anxiety does exist in the unconscious.
2) Illustrate how our countertransference avoidance of facing death with patients is the result of adherence to theory and a failure to develop comfort and competence in facing death.
3) Utilize a new clinical approach based on empirical data that enables the clinician to lessen death anxiety and promote meaningful dialogue at the end of life.
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of (2) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program has any relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Psychologists: New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education programs for psychologists.
DISCLOSURE: None of the planners and presenters of this CE program has any relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Social Workers: New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0317.
Persons with disabilities: The building is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator. Please notify the registrar in advance if you require accommodations.