CPPNJ Newsletter
Winter 2023
Meryl Dorf, PhD

Take a peek at our website (www.cppnj.org) to see upcoming and past events, social gatherings and celebrations. Explore the opportunities, learn, and network when you belong to our warm, stimulating community. Sign up to receive our newsletter posts, summaries, and photos of professional presentations
and social events.


"How many psychoanalysts does it take to change a light bulb? 
Just one. But the lightbulb has to really want to change!”
While this may be a really old joke, we all know it takes a lot more than one analyst to make changes in an Institute. Nonetheless, some changes are happening! By connecting with so many members - long-termers, new colleagues, and candidates, I finally have at least 2 fingers on the pulse of our organization. There is an energy, even a real buzz about what is evolving. Our programs are well-attended, and classes are growing. The Curriculum Committee, led by our Director of Training, Janet Hoffer, is moving forward with some compelling advances. We strive to deliver cutting edge programs in New Jersey. Coming up is a mind-expanding conference with Wendy Miller, organized by Alexandra Granville and the Program Committee scheduled for the Spring; a separate program for Faculty Members, spearheaded by our Dean of Faculty, Debbie Liner, and a rich slate of courses for current and upcoming Candidates.
“CPPNJ Moves Forward,” our 2022 Fundraising initiative, envisioned by our Treasurer, Ozzie Haller, was a resounding success! Thus far, we have raised our goal of $5000 and we’ve already used it to expand tech capacities. In 2023 we plan to focus on expanding Diversity within CPPNJ. Among the various initiatives, is a new Fundraising campaign focusing on Scholarships to encourage all professionals who have an interest in learning psychoanalytic ideas to join us, without financial hardship.
The goal of expanding diversity in our growing organization continues in many ways. Members have registered enthusiasm to participate and by reaching out to other programs, we are learning ways to make headway towards this goal. Kudos to Rose Oosting who has initiated a Diversity Social Media group for Members that meets regularly to screen important documentaries, films, and read books which have equipped us to step outside the lines of what we already know about race, LGBTQ issues and cultural differences. It has been well received and is growing fast. We encourage all CPPNJ Members to attend! New Faculty Member, Jonathan Lebolt, stepped right in! He is offering his extensive experience in working within the LGBTQ community and expertise in running groups, to provide a Virtual opportunity for Members who would like to follow up with many questions and opinions, sparked by the recent Jack Drescher conference. Please join us!
Let’s expand our psychoanalytic lens to include “that which we may not yet know and might not even know how to look for,” within ourselves and within the community. I hope all of you will join in this important journey.
Spring 2023 Event
Wendy Miller, PhD Presents
Working with Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Theory and Technique with Individuals and Couples

Lenfell Hall, Fairleigh Dickinson University,
Florham Park Campus, Madison
and Virtual via Zoom
Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Look Back at Fall 2022
Ethical Issues in Treating LGBTQ Patients
Controversies in Treating Transgender Children and Adolescents
Jack Drescher, MD
December 11, 2022

By Marion Houghton, EdS, LMFT

This CPPNJ Conference was attended online by 149 participants. Here are a few comments that were received in response to the presentation.

Congratulations to all on a very successful conference!! I thought it was
thought provoking and a very good discussion…
                                                                       Debra Roelke, PhD

What a marvelous conference we had yesterday. I think everyone
would agree that we learned and grew from the information-packed
presentation that Dr. Drescher shared with us. His lifelong dedication
to this profoundly important issue came through in his breadth of knowledge. 
                                                                       Meryl Dorf, PhD

…it was an excellent conference. Jack is a true pioneer in moving our society
toward accepting LGBTQ folk.
                                                                       Jonathan Lebolt, PhD

It was one of the best conferences I’ve been to. Jack was personable and
very knowledgeable, and I felt I learned a lot. Even though I try to keep up with
advances in this topic, there is still a lot that has happened that was good
to know. And yes, thanks to all who made it possible.
                                                                       Rose Oosting, PhD     
When the Last Class Becomes the First Class ...
By Li Faustino, PhD
At the beginning of the Interpersonal Psychoanalysis class last semester, our instructor, Meryl Dorf, asked if we would be interested in meeting in person for one class later in the semester. We said yes, but I did not think we would all follow through. So, I was surprised when Meryl brought it up again right before the last class. I was even more surprised when, one by one, email responses came in with people saying yes, they would be able to make it in person for the last class. But it was not easy to make this happen-- our schedules were different, we lived at a distance and we had another class right before. There were many barriers, but somehow, we made it happen. We rearranged appointments, we car-pooled, whatever it took. We brought bagels, cookies and fruit and when we finally met, it felt like a joyous party. There was excitement in the room much like at the other in-person CPPNJ events I have attended. Happily, we greeted each other and settled into class. As we began, it became apparent that there was an energy in the room, an electricity, that could not be ignored. We stopped class and re-started by addressing how it felt to be together for our first in-person class in a long time. As far as we knew, this was the first CPPNJ in-person class since the start of the pandemic.
We were a diverse group with a range of experiences as candidates. Some of us had never taken a CPPNJ class in person and some of us had. Some of us were meeting for the first time; some were reuniting. The room was buzzing and our connections felt tangible as we described our experience of being together. Seamlessly, our discussion drifted back to the articles and then someone brought up a case. The theoretical and clinical material unfolded naturally and we talked it through from many angles with eye contact and a spontaneity that could never happen over video. The time flew by. The discussion, the learning, the metabolizing of the information had a richness that I had forgotten existed. It felt comfortable, inspiring, and right.
After the class was over, a flurry of happy and grateful emails ensued. What a day we had! One person wrote that it reinforced for her that meeting in person is a real human need. Another person wrote “the articles came to life through our discussion and our ideas merged together, making them even more powerful ‘thirds.’ It felt alive, conscious and present.” I wrote to the group that I felt re-charged in a way that I had not felt in a while and that I could feel the chemistry I used to experience in “live” classes.
I know that at CPPNJ we have been discussing and managing through what “going back” looks like for us. Recently, our workshop which was originally offered as a hybrid event had to be switched to virtual only. My own practice (and I am sure many other’s) has also been a bumpy road back with logistical and qualitative challenges around every corner. I wish I had a solution. I believe the greatest challenge comes when we need to measure quantitative variables against qualitative ones. How do we stack the cost of time, rent and commuting expenses against the quality of the in-person experience for just a few patients?  Or for CPPNJ, how do we measure the risks during flu and COVID season and each faculty and candidate’s comfort level against the quality of the class? Again, I have no solutions, but I do think that there is much to consider in terms of the far-reaching positive effects of meeting in person for at least a few classes.

I believe we have all found ways to do effective and deep analytic work over video and phones. Myself and other candidates have benefited exponentially from our classes despite the fact that the majority of them having been virtual.  But when we remind ourselves of what the “in-person” dimensions feel like by actually experiencing them, we validate what we know intellectually-- that there is a difference when meeting in person and that you have to live that to really know it. We bring our patients to this very place all the time. We help them really know what they know because they live it with us. The lived experience of analytic teaching and training is an immeasurably valuable, qualitative variable. Experiencing that parallels the very theories with which we work. Thus, I hope there are more opportunities like this one while we figure it out.
Book Review
IntraConnected Me + We=MWe:
As the Integration of Self,
Identity and Belonging
Daniel J. Siegel, PhD

By Marion Houghton, EdS, LMFT
Dan Siegel comes from a place of immersion in the study of neuroscience, and a familiarity with attachment theory and self-states. That is what attracted me to approach this challenging new book. It has taken “Mwe” to felt awarenesses I could not have imagined.

Starting with the title “IntraConnected—MWE(ME + We)”, I entrusted myself to Dr. Siegel’s invitation to turn the pages and engage in pursuit of the subtitle: “the integration of self, identity and belonging”. 

At the moment, I am preparing to teach Developmental Psychology (CPPNJ #302) with my colleague, Elizabeth Choby, LCSW. As I read the “Table of Contents” in Siegel’s book, I saw entries like Emergence, Conception and Birth, Infancy, Toddlerhood and so on… “IntraConnected” is an interdisciplinary work built on principles of psychoanalysis, neuroscience, diversity, cultural and relational concepts.

In Dan Siegel’s words:

Weaving the internal and external, the subjective and objective, IntraConnected
reveals how the wiring in our brain, as well as the message of modern culture,
may reinforce a way of living and a belief system based on the view that our
fundamental nature is one of independence and separation—a life to be lived as
a solo, isolated self. Yet a wider perspective, revealed in new views of contemporary science and echoed by the wisdom of generations of Indigenous and contemplative traditions, unveils that who we are, our deeper reality, may actually be something more than isolated individuals interacting with one another—one’s mind and the experience of self it creates are broader than the brain, bigger than the body: both are fundamental to the social systems and the natural world in which we live.
                                                                                   Synopsis, p. xxI

Dr. Siegel believes in an interdisciplinary approach to learning, by which he means including not only Western scientific methods, but also non-Western approaches like “Indigenous science and contemplative insights”. He sees “self” as a part of a “synergy of systems”, rather than as an “isolated, separate identity”, a concept he refers to as “the solo-self”.

He uses the lens of neuroscience when he talks about the Western mind as taking a “linear perspective” on knowing, which is the left hemisphere’s way of seeing reality, as opposed to seeing “patterns of interactions”, which is a systemic view of reality. Our right hemi-sphere fortunately uses a different mode of information processing than the left-- which includes context and relational connections. Siegel notes that our left brains seek certainty, which favors a “top-down approach” to knowing. He proposes that a “bottom-up approach” involves “more direct sensing” which is typical of right brain, experience-near learning.

The title for this book chosen by Dr. Siegel, “Intraconnected”, is not a typo intended to be spelled as “Interconnected”, and “MWe” describes the idea of “Me in a We”-- that our brains can be compared to the nodes in our nervous system, not separate entities. Understanding our “human being” requires a systems perspective in which we are seen as interconnected with all other human beings and with nature. Siegel’s ideas are rooted in complexity theory. “A complex system is composed of interacting parts”, in which we view ourselves as having an “inner identity” (our bodies) as well as an “outer identity” as members of an external human and natural family. To deny this reality causes chaos and/or rigidity and prevents integration.

Dr. Siegel states that “our minds create human culture” and he believes that by making better choices, we can change the course of human history. These comments remind me very much of Iain McGilchrist’s work: The Master and His Emissary.

Dr. Siegel cites these words from Albert Einstein:

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us, “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
                                                           (New York Times, March 29, 1950, p.1)

Reading this book has given me hope that there is a way forward for humankind, and that psychoanalysis has an essential part to play in the growth and healing of our universe.
For Our Members
Diversity Media/Book Club
By Rose Oosting, PhD

CPPNJ has begun an informal diversity book/other media club to read/watch and discuss material of interest to CPPNJ clinicians. The focus is on issues of diversity, (eg, racism as it is experienced in the United States, issues regarding the LGBTQI+ community, LatinX issues, trauma, world events as they affect mental health, climate change as it is affecting mental health, and more as seems appropriate).

The CPPNJ Diversity media/book club is not a structured peer group or interest group, per se, but a loose gathering for conversation on topics of interest to clinicians. It’s intended to be a safe space for open communication and to get to know one another better. In order to be as flexible as possible, we’re just meeting via Zoom, for now.

This club is not for professional reading, but rather reading fiction, non-fiction, or articles, watching movies, photography, art, anything, which is clinically pertinent. We can look at the material on our own and then gather to discuss. Generally, meetings are bi-monthly, scheduled on Sundays from 5- 6:30.

In our first meeting, we read Ben Raines, The Last Slave Ship, about the discovery of the ship Clotilda, the last ship to bring a load of slaves from Dahomey to Alabama in 1860.

For our second meeting, we watched a docuseries: Exterminate All the Brutes, by acclaimed director Raoul Peck. It is a four-part hybrid docuseries that provides a visually arresting journey through time. Through his personal voyage, Peck deconstructs the making and masking of history, digging deep into the exploitative and genocidal aspects of EuroCentric colonialism and its impact on American society today.

For our third meeting, we watched a documentary, "For They Know Not What They Do." www.fortheyknow.org This is a deeply moving documentary about the experiences of six gay and transgender young people, from different backgrounds and different parts of the country, as they negotiate coming out, for better or worse, with their families and their communities. It explores conversion therapy (still legal in many states) and its impact on the young people who are sent there, and public reactions from people as they realize they are seeing a gay or transgender person. It explores the political exploitation of the subject by MAGA Republicans and others, and by major Christian speakers, such as Jay Osteen. One featured family is from Montclair, the Porchers, and it explores their journey as their daughter becomes a son.

For our next meeting, on Jan 29, 2023 from 5- 6:30, we will be watching "Mudbound." This gripping 2017 movie, directed by Dee Rees, received several Oscar nominations. Mudbound is set in the rural South in the mid-1940's, during and after WWII. In the movie, two families, one black sharecroppers and one white landowners, have a shared history and expectation of the relationship between races. Two sons serve in the Army in WWII, and, traumatized when they return, are trapped by their need to talk to someone who has had the same experiences, and they contend with their conflicting racial experience in Jim Crow South. The movie follows the experience of Ronsel Jackson as he reencounters brutal racism after having experience equality during his time in Europe. It can be seen on Netflix.

All are welcome to attend. Contact Rose Oosting for further information: roseoosting@gmail.com. I will be sending a Zoom invitation the day before the meeting to all CPPNJ members.
Faculty Advancement Program
Jeri Isaacson, PhD, Dhwani Shah, MD and Deborah Liner, PhD present
Where the Culture Meets the Visceral:
The Intersection of the Female Body, Sexuality and Cultural Differences in a Long-term Analysis
Virtual via Zoom
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Program for All CPPNJ Members
"Let's Talk About Trans..."
an Informal Discussion
with Jonathan Lebolt, PhD
Virtual via Zoom
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Graduation and End of Year Celebration
Venue TBD
Sunday, June 11, 2023
Welcome Back Brunch
Maplewood Community Center
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Member Presentations and Publications
Monica Carsky, PhD

Oct 24, 2022. 3-Hour Webinar: An Introduction to Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP), Maryland Psychological Association Annual Meeting (virtual).

January 26, 2023: Lecture on using TFP for narcissistic pathology to the St Luke's Institute in Maryland.

Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, LCSW, CGP

Washington School of Psychiatry conference summary, "Race, Gender and Sexuality: Ancient to Present," was recently published in Psychiatry, 85 (4), 435-437.

Ruth Lijtmaer, PhD

Paper: No Apologies: Unfinished Business and the Pact to Forget. IFPE (International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education). Conference theme: Disruptions and Transformations. 9-15-22 to 9-17-22 Evanston, Chicago, Illinois, USA. In Person.
Paper: How Human are we? Reflections on Malevolence and Paranoid Fantasies. APCS (Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society). Conference theme: Totalitarianism and Psychoanalysis: Psychosocial perspectives on Fear and Anxiety. Rutgers University Continuing Education Conference Center. 10-20-22 to 10-23-22. New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. In Person.

Paper: Dehumanizing the "Other" and Ignoring Their Pain. Presented in Spanish as: "Dehumanizacion del otro e ignorando su dolor". IARPP Hogar Relacional, 11-12-22 Barcelona, Spain.

Dhwani Shah, MD

Published a new book: The Analyst's Torment: Unbearable Mental States in Countertransference.
Newsletter Editorial Staff
Co-Editor Marion Houghton, EdS, LMFT
Co-Editor Mirel Goldstein, MS, MA, LPC
Request for Contributions to our CPPNJ Newsletter
To our CPPNJ Newsletter readers: Marion and Mirel invite you to share your current interests and recommendations for worthwhile topics in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and related subject areas by submitting book reviews to be published in future newsletters. To participate, send your recommendation to Mirel Goldstein mirelgoldstein@gmail.com or Marion Houghton marion427@verizon.net. Thank you.
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