CPPNJ - The Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of New Jersey

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Highlighting Our Faculty: Eric Sherman, LCSW

Looking back, I was destined to be a psychoanalyst.

All the telltale signs were there; I was the somewhat nerdy eldest child groomed for a caretaker role by a narcissistic father and beleaguered mother. While other kids looked up to sports stars, my adolescent hero was Woody Allen.

Woody Allen, for crying out loud! How could I not have wanted to be a psychoanalyst?

And yet, I didn't. It never even crossed my mind. I grew up in the era of Woodward and Bernstein and was a pretty good writer. So I decided to be a journalist and change the world. Or at least get a lot of positive attention and praise. (Did I mention my narcissistic father and beleaguered mother?)

After majoring in journalism and political science at Syracuse University (I actually considered a career in politics), I got a job as a reporter and editor at The Staten Island Advance. I then made the leap to Ladies' Home Journal, where I ultimately became the Entertainment Editor. I interviewed celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Michael Caine, Debbie Reynolds and Jamie Lee Curtis (who drives like a maniac, by the way). After a few years, I left the magazine and went freelance, writing for People, TV Guide, Redbook and (this one embarrasses me just a bit) Cosmopolitan. Yes, I was a Cosmo girl!

So much for changing the world.

I was successful (and a great source for Hollywood gossip), but I wasn't really satisfied with what I was doing. I had already been in therapy for some years, and found it not only personally beneficial, but a potentially fascinating way to make a living. I started doing volunteer work at a telephone crisis line, and entered Hunter College School of Social Work. I continued to work as a freelance writer, mostly writing popular psychology articles for magazines.

Immediately upon graduating, I entered the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York, from which I received a Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Comprehensive Psychotherapy in 1991 and another in Supervision in 1995. By then I had already started a private practice in New York.

I moved to Montclair in 1997, and started a practice here several years later, in addition to keeping my New York office. I joined the faculty at CCAPS in 2000, where I taught Relational Theory and Gender and Sexuality, two areas of interest. (I also teach and supervise at NIP.) I have been on the Training Committee of CPPNJ since its inception. I now serve as Associate Director of Training.

Although I specialize in seeing gay men and lesbians, I enjoy working with individuals and couples across diagnostic categories, regardless of their sexual orientation. I also love supervising other therapists -- both as part of the Institute as well as privately. I work in a manner that is collaborative, dynamic and pays special attention to the transference/countertransference matrix and to the role of the analyst's unique subjectivity. I am particularly interested in erotic countertransference, an area about which I've written and presented. I am currently putting together a relational supervision group with particular emphasis on these topics (and with the possibility of group members sharing their writing) to begin this spring.

Through it all, I have continued to write. I am the author of 365 Amazing Days in Sports, a trivia book for young adults. In 2005, I wrote Notes from the Margins: The Gay Analyst's Subjectivity in the Treatment Setting, which was published by The Analytic Press (now Routledge). My work has appeared in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, where I am also on the Editorial Board.

I get a kick out of writing for the CPPNJ blog, Free Associations, and for my own blog, Couch Meets World at PsychologyToday.com. I also write the Stand Up Analyst humor column that appears occasionally in this Newsletter.

I enjoy spreading the word about psychoanalysis and CPPNJ, and being part of this vibrant community. I guess I'm changing the world just a little bit, after all. I think we all are.