Bulletin of the Psychoanalytic Research Society, Volume V, Number 1, Spring, 1996

The President's Message

Harold Cook, Ph.D.
Teachers College, Columbia University

"The important thing is not to stop questioning."
--Albert Einstein

It is difficult to imagine that four years have flown by since we published our first issue of the Bulletin. We are fortunate to have Robert Bornstein as editor of our newsletter, he has done an outstanding job. In this, our fifth issue, I'd like to bring you up to date regarding the activities of the Psychoanalytic Research Society and inform you about what is coming up.

A large and appreciative audience attended our symposium at last Spring's Divisional Meeting in Santa Monica. Mardi Horowitz provided a comprehensive overview of the theory, methodology, findings, and implications of his programmatic research on defense control processes. Donald Spence and Gerald Aronson, each with a spark of humor, added an extremely thoughtful scientific and clinical critique of Horowitz's work.

This past year's annual APA meeting in New York was a first for us. Michael Sperling organized and chaired a symposium featuring the first recipients of the Psychoanalytic Research Fund's dissertation awards. The awardees--Michael Prezioso, Stewart Hockenberry and Brian Quinn--presented their completed dissertation research. Joseph Masling and Robert Bornstein provided an insightful discussion of these talks, and commented on a number of issues confronting psychoanalytic researchers. Again, we congratulate the presenters and look forward to their becoming productive colleagues and contributors to the scientific enterprise of psychoanalysis.

We have just completed the third round of Psychoanalytic Research Fund awards, and happily announce and congratulate the recipients:

Donna H. DiCello, a doctoral student at Antioch New England Graduate School, for her dissertation proposal Conceptualization of countertransference disclosure, intimacy and gender: An examination of attitudes of psychoanalyticically-oriented female clinicians in theory and practice. Her dissertation sponsor is Theodore T. Ellenhorn, PhD.

Mary Ellen Griffin, a doctoral student at Northwestern University Medical School, for her dissertation proposal Understanding mothers' contribution to disorganized attachment: A behavioral analysis of mother-child interaction in a naturalistic setting. Her dissertation sponsor is John S. Lyons, PhD.

We wish the new recipients of the Research Fund awards--and all the other students who submitted proposals for consideration--a timely and successful completion of their dissertations. It should be of interest to members of the Society that the current crop of dissertation proposals submitted for consideration came from across the country. The Psychoanalytic Research Fund's support of dissertations by these beginning investigators is an exceedingly valuable activity of the Research Fund and the Division. The Psychoanalytic Research Fund is the only funding source specifically dedicated to supporting psychoanalytically-informed doctoral dissertation research. The Fund's activity affords the Division national visibility among university faculty and graduate students, many of whom are potential members of Division 39. We extend our appreciation to the Division's Graduate Student Committee for helping to publicize the Fund, and the Advisory Board of the Psychoanalytic Research Fund, comprised of members from throughout the Division who thoughtfully read and assessed the proposals. The members of the Advisory Board are Robert Bornstein, Harold Cook, Gwendolyn Gerber, Morris Eagle, Norbert Freedman, Joseph Masling, Joy Osofsky, George Stricker, and Hans Strupp.

We are pleased that up to now the Division has played a significant role in supporting these young researchers through the Psychoanalytic Research Fund. In 1994 the Division made a committment to partially support the Fund for five years. This year, ostensibly because of "financial considerations", the Division Board entertained a formal motion to stop contributing to the Fund for the last two years of its commitment (i.e., 1997 and 1998). Fortunately, we prevailed upon board members to honor their original five-year commitment to support this extremely important activity. However, in light of the Board's attempt to withdraw support for the Fund, it seems judicious that the Psychoanalytic Research Fund seek to become more financially independent. To do this we need to develop a stable financial base. This could be achieved in several ways--by a long-range fundraising campaign to establish a permanent endowment, via an effort to get a philanthropic foundation to support the Fund on a continuing basis, or perhaps through a modest dues assessment for all Division 39 members that would be earmarked specifically for the Psychoanalytic Research Fund. If you would like to participate in the ongoing effort to help the Fund become more self-sufficient by contributing ideas, expertise, fundraising skills and/or money, please contact me or any other member of the Psychoanalytic Research Society Board.

Now I'd like to draw your attention to the upcoming Division 39 Spring Meeting, April 17-21 in New York, where we are sponsoring a symposium entitled "Varieties of Unconscious and Conscious Experience". Matthew Erdelyi and David Rosenthal will each present a paper, and Morris Eagle will be the discussant. The symposium will take place at 3 PM on Saturday, April 20th in the Jade Room of the Waldorf-Astoria, and it promises to be evocative and informative. We will hear about some interesting empirical research from Matthew Erdelyi--whose work many of you are familiar with--and we'll have an unusual opportunity to be philosophically enlightened by David Rosenthal, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Cognitive Sciences at City University's Graduate Center. Dr. Rosenthal has written extensively on unconscious and conscious mental activity. I'm sure you'll want to attend this session. Once again, I know you won't want to miss the biggest hit of the conference--our Social Tea on Friday, April 19th, from 3 to 4:50 PM in the Waldorf-Astoria's Hoover Suite. I look forward to seeing you at both events.

I am also pleased to let you know that I have made arrangements to have the Research Society's activities available to a much wider audience. We now have a site on the World Wide Web, which may be accessed at the following address: http://odysseus.tc.columbia.edu/prs/. We'll use this web site to keep Society members and others updated on Psychoanalytic Research Society activities. This issue of the Bulletin, as well as all past issues, and links to other sites of interest, are also available on-line at the site. Anyone with internet access can reach our new web site, and it will be interesting to see the impact that this new technology has on the development of the Society.

Finally, elections for Section VI officers will be completed by the time you receive this issue of the Bulletin. Unfortunately, since the issue went to press prior to tabulation of the election results, I am unable to announce the names of the newly-elected officers. I'm sure the incoming officers will want to do everything they can to make you feel a part of our organization. They and I encourage you to get actively involved. For example, you can participate in one of the existing committees by contacting the appropriate committee chair. If you'd like to propose a new committee or task force, please get in touch with any of the Psychoanalytic Research Society Board members. You can also communicate your interest by writing to the editor of the Bulletin. The Society will also do everything it can to assist people who are interested in establishing a local research chapter in their community. We could provide a modicum of support for a scientific meeting that you might be contemplating organizing.

For those of you who may have missed it, please read the November 1995 issue of Consumer Reports, and Martin Seligman's article in the December 1995 American Psychologist. Both articles describe an important research contribution regarding the effectiveness of long-term treatment, as well as the methodological issues involved in psychotherapy effectiveness and efficacy studies. You should also become informed of the APA's Board of Professional Affairs position on the use of "scientifically validated" assessment and treatment. Their proposal is likely to have an unfortunate impact on the reimbursement policies of managed care companies regarding needed long-term treatment, as well as on the accreditation criteria of predoctoral clinical psychology training programs. The January 1996 issue of the Psychologist-Psychoanalyst has an insightful discussion of the issues involved in this controversy. Both featured articles in this issue of the Bulletin also discuss the inteface of psychoanalytic treatment and research findings, and the impact of managed care on this already- tenuous relationship.

Thanks to Jeanne Hedstrom for her intriguing drawing. It adds a special flavor and panache to our Bulletin. If you haven't yet renewed your membership--or if you want to become a member--see the membership form which appears elsewhere in the issue. Please also encourage interested colleagues to become members.


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