On The Political Action of Psychoanalysis: A Memoir with Steven Reisner at CFS

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On The Political Action of Psychoanalysis: A Memoir
One-Session Program (2 Contact Hours)
Presenter: Steven Reisner, PhD
Date: Friday, December 16, 2016
Time: 8:00-10:00pm
Location: Mt. Sinai, Hatch Auditorium, Madison Ave @ 100th St., NYC

“When all is said and done, all resistance is a rupture in thought through the declaration of what the situation is, and the foundation of a practical possibility opened up through this declaration.” – Alain Badiou, Metapolitics, p. 8

My aim is approach the question of the formation and development of an ethical self. I will argue that each individual comes upon a crossroad moment where personal and political ethics confronts

familial demands and norms, and out of this clash emerges the kernel of an internalized ‘third.’ Depending on many circumstances, the result of this clash can lead to a strengthened sense of personal resilience and independent ideals or personal neurosis and political apathy. I will illustrate this idea by focusing on the dual concept of ‘resistance’: the psychoanalytic notion that there is a resistance on the part of the patient to the success of the treatment and to mental health, and resistance as a political force aiming to undermine or overthrow oppressive regimes. I will draw from my personal history and political activity to illustrate these concepts.

Steven Reisner, PhD is a psychoanalyst and couples’ therapist in New York City. He is a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, Advisor on Psychology and Ethics for Physicians for Human Rights and Past President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He has been active in combating torture in all its forms, and is a leader in the movement to remove psychologists and other health professionals from their central role in our nation’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ program. Because of this work, Dr. Reisner was the recipient of the New York State Psychological Association’s “Beacon” Award.

In addition to his political advocacy, Dr. Reisner has been a consultant on issues of trauma, torture, political violence, ethics, disaster response and resilience in the face of catastrophic events for the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the International Organization for Migrations and other international humanitarian and mental health organizations. He has trained clinicians following war and disaster in Kosovo, Iraq, Haiti, and East Africa.

Dr. Reisner has been on the faculty of the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University, the International Trauma Studies Program and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education at NYU, the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, and the Women’s Therapy Center Institute.

In an earlier career, Dr. Reisner was an Obie-award winning director and actor, whose projects have been performed at the Public Theater, La Mama E.T.C., and Theater for the New City in New York, and on tour in North and South America.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this program participants will be able to:

1. Understand the interplay of the personal and the political insofar as these add an ethical dimension to psychoanalytic treatment.

2. Identify the role of secrets, lies, resistances, and shame as these help to color personal and political identity.

3. Distinguish between ego ideal and superego formations as these relate to the dissolution versus the repression of the Oedipal complex. Be able to discuss how these relate to individual, analytic, and political development.

Continuing Education Contact Hours:

Social Workers: The Psychoanalytic Training Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society 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 #0087. CE credits are granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program and completed online evaluation form. No partial credits will be offered. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements. Upon completion of this program and online evaluation form, participants will be granted 2 CE credits.

Who Should Attend:

The instructional level for this activity is advanced. Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.

Important Disclosure Information:

None of the planners and presenters of this program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Program Fee:

CFS Members and Non-Members: $35

Candidates and Students: $15

No Refunds

If you have any questions, please contact Connie Stroboulis at or 212-752-7883.


Vivian Eskin, PhD, Chair





Program Fee: _________

Please mail this form with your payment to “PTI of CFS”:

PTI-CFS Political Action – 12/16/16

11 Bunker Hill Drive

Manalapan, NJ 07726

Or register online at

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