Director’s ColumnBy Seth Warren, Ph.D.
I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate our two graduating candidates, Janet Hoffer and Mary Lantz, and to welcome them to full membership in our Center. I am very pleased to join with our other members and family members here tonight to celebrate their accomplishment.
It has never been easy to become a psychoanalyst, it is a lengthy process, very time-consuming and costly, and has always required a good deal of perseverance and devotion. But in many ways, it has become even more difficult and challenging. Our lives seem busier, the demands on our time greater than ever, and the pace of life in many ways is faster and less conducive to the reflective, expansive space that we seek to create in psychoanalytic work. We live in a culture, in a time, where the aims and goals of psychoanalytic work are less appreciated. Our culture is one that increasingly values products at the expense of process, efficiency but without a guiding sense or direction, ends without sufficient consideration of the quality of our lives, quality defined not so much in material terms but in terms of how we relate to others in our lives, a sense of connection to our selves, the expression of personality integrity in our work and relationships. To quote the very quotable Yogi Berra, “we’re lost but we’re making good time.”
Those of us who value the psychoanalytic tradition recognize that in many ways, our way of working and thinking about people and about therapy is the antidote to so much of what I’m describing. And yet we also find ourselves marginalized in a world seeking quicker fixes, simplistic solutions to life’s very complicated problems, and “products” that are more easily marketed, though lacking in the depth and substance and passion of our psychoanalytic tradition.
It is not easy to swim against these currents, and I have to express my appreciation and admiration for all of our candidates who clearly are choosing a less convenient, and probably less lucrative vocation, for one that emphasizes the importance of meaning, feelings, and humanistic values. Seeing our candidates progress and complete their training is an inspiration to all of us who share these values and devote ourselves to this kind of work in our practices as well as in our training program.
There is something else I want to celebrate here tonight with our two graduates. I have to point out that both Mary and Jan have been exemplary in their contributions to CPPNJ above and beyond their roles as candidates. Mary has been instrumental in creating and editing our newsletter, which has been a great success, a beautiful newsletter which is one of our major new tools in doing outreach to a wider audience of potentially interested individuals as well as keeping our own membership informed about events and persons of interest to our community. It has been a lot of work, and I am personally very grateful for her contribution, and thank her on behalf of our community. And Janet has also been very active and involved in the organizational life of CPPNJ, a member of the leadership of our Candidates Organization. She has contributed to providing a voice for candidates, conveying their interests and concerns, and organizing events put on by and for our candidates. I am very appreciative of her advocacy for candidates and her contribution to this very crucial aspect of our Institute.
They have both set wonderful examples of participation and involvement in the public life of our institute, and I hope that they have also inspired and encouraged others to participate in a similar way. Thank you to you both, congratulations, you have my fondest and best wishes for all your future work in our field. I look forward to continuing to work with both of you as colleagues as we go forward.
I would like to take a moment to once again thank our Training Committee, an incredibly devoted and hard-working group of individuals who each make significant sacrifices of time and effort and energy to make our training programs possible. It is a challenging process, a complicated “Rubik’s cube” kind of job of scheduling, coordinating, evaluating, planning, and monitoring, and I am very proud of our committee, and grateful for all they do for our candidates and for our Center.
Finally, my thanks to all the members Board of Directors, who likewise make real sacrifices, early Sunday morning meetings, and without financial compensation of any kind (on the contrary!), have worked so hard to make CPPNJ a continued success. Without your contributions there could be no institute, and I am very appreciative for all your hard and productive work.
I think we can all feel a measure of pride seeing candidates completing their training, which is really the culmination of all that work – theirs, and ours. Congratulations to all.