Town Hall with Jessica Benjamin, PhD, Master Clinician-In-Residence

Town Hall with Jessica Benjamin - "Facing the Deluge": November 5, 2019, 8:00 - 10:00 PM



"Facing the Deluge: How to Think about Social Repair in the Face of Escalating Social Catastrophe and Lawlessness"

Jessica Benjamin poses: How do we think about the worsening crises of our climate, our government, our electoral system, and our long history of systemic violence with its uniquely American foundation in racism? I've chosen the theme of lawlessness not only because of the current manifestations of corruption and power seeking, but also because our country has a particularly contradictory relationship to the rule of law as an idea and a practice. And further, because I want to highlight the idea of the "lawful world" as a representation of the basis for social attachments and solidarity. In my thinking, that representation of the Third ("the moral Third") is the position that allows us to step out of power relations (the dynamics of doer and done to) and the fatal imaginary of believing "only one can live." 

In light of the aggressive anti-social mentation that has been activated and the intensification of zero-sum thinking--"only one can live"-- what can the psychoanalytic understanding of reparation contribute to facilitating the needed social reparations? In acknowledging and trying to make up for the injustice and harm done to the indigenous and African American peoples, can we appeal to a psychological desire for repair and reconciliation that exists in many people who might be adversely activated by ideological and political slogans?   

The Town hall will be followed by a response and dialog with Jessica Benjamin and the panelists Peter Wolson, PhD, and George Bermudez, PhD, and a free-wheeling conversation with the audience. Jeffrey Prager, PhD, chairs this event.



Jessica Benjamin, PhD, is a psychoanalyst known for her contributions to psychoanalysis and social thought. She is currently a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City where she is on the faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Psychology Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Jessica Benjamin is one of the original contributors to the fields of relational psychoanalysis, theories of intersubjectivity, and gender studies and feminism as it relates to psychoanalysis and society. She is known for her ideas about recognition in both human development and the sociopolitical arena.

Peter Wolson, PhD, is a Training/Supervising analyst and faculty member of the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS). He served as LAISPS' President and Director of Training, is a co-founder of the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (CIPS), and was President of the Los Angeles Society of Clinical Psychologists. He is on the resident faculty of the Wright Institute Los Angeles (WILA) and in private practice in Beverly Hills. In addition to his political opinion pieces, he has published professional papers on adaptive grandiosity, the existential dimension of psychoanalysis, the relational unconscious, analytic love, and political power. 

George Bermudez, PhD, is currently a faculty member of Antioch University, Los Angeles following nearly 25 years as a clinical and family psychologist in poor urban neighborhoods. Dr. Bermudez has a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute (SCPI) and has been striving to develop and train others in a multi-dimensional, integrative approach to psychological theory and practice that brings together developmental theory, psychoanalysis, family systems, group psychology, and multiculturalism. 

Jeffrey Prager, PhD, formerly the Dean, is now a Senior Faculty Member at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. He is an active member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and a Co-Chair of the Committee of Psychoanalysis and the Academy. He is now the North American Co-Chair of the Psychoanalysis and the Academy Committee of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He has published widely, both books and articles, on psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice, including his award-winning Presenting the Past, Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Misremembering (Harvard University Press). Dr. Prager is also Professor of Sociology at UCLA, having received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978. He has been a member of the UCLA Faculty since 1977, where he is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award and several other academic honors. 


This special event is open to NCP members, the psychoanalytic community and the interested public. 

No Continuing Education Credits Offered for this Event