A Psychoanalyst Serves on a Jury

February 21, 2019, 8:00 - 10:00 PM

Most psychoanalysts have never served on a jury. This program describes the subjective experience of serving as a juror for nine days. The charges in the case were extremely gruesome, including rape, sodomy, kidnapping, and armed robbery. This essay is an attempt to work through the experience, including its after-effects. Dr. David James Fisher compares and contrasts the holding environment of the analytic situation with the frame of serving as a juror in the courtroom. He explores the ways in which legal thinking and procedures converge and diverge with psychoanalytic epistemology and methods of arriving at guilt, “truth” and “making judgments,” without being judgmental. Lastly, he argues that the legal system underestimates the traumatic effects on jurors in certain criminal cases.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the nature of the subjective experience of serving on a jury which may be applicable to clinicians and patients
  • Describe how the legal system underestimates the traumatic effects of serving on a criminal jury
  • Identify the differences in psychoanalytic and legal approaches to “truth,” facts, guilt, innocence, and judgment

David James Fisher, PhD, is a senior faculty member and former member of the Board of Directors at NCP. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at ICP. He is the author of three books: Bettelheim: Living and Dying (2008); Cultural Theory and Psychoanalytic Tradition (2009); and Romain Rolland and the Politics of Intellectual Engagement (2003). A research psychoanalyst, Dr. Fisher is trained as a cultural and intellectual historian. He has published extensively on the history of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic cultural criticism, and the application of psychoanalytic perspectives to matters of politics, movies, and aspects of high and popular culture. In October 2018, he published “A Conversation with Adam Phillips” in JAPA, a version of an interview he conducted at NCP during the inaugural program of The Master Clinician in Residence, which he chaired. He has been practicing psychoanalysis and psychotherapy for forty-one years.

Discussant: Elyn Saks, JD, PhD, is the Orrin B. Evans Distinguished Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the USC Gould School of Law. A MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient, she has written and presented widely in the area of law and mental health. She is also a research psychoanalyst and member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis.

Thursday, February 21, 2019,   8-10 PM   2 CE credits

$20 with CE Credit

Free attendance without CE Credit

Target Audience: This conference will be informative for mental health clinicians from all disciplines at every level of development and students as well. 


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of ths CME/CE program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  


The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency. 

REGISTERED NURSES: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is an accredited provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider #CEP1112). Registered Nurses may claim only the actual number of hours spent in the educational activity for credit.