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Othering: What on Earth are We

March 3, 2023 — 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Psychoanalytic Brooklyn would like to invite you to a conversation on Knowing in the Face of Othering with training analysts Paula Ellman and Shelley Rockwell. They will each give a paper and discuss together how othering shows up in dyads, as well as how issues of diversity and violence emerge in analytic work. They will consider the problem of “othering” through poetry as well as their clinical and theoretical understanding, raising the questions: what is genuine knowing and how do we come to know the other? 

Paula Ellman:

With our psychoanalytic lens focused on the changes that a pandemic has brought to our worlds, we bring greater attunement to issues of diversity and the violence that experiencing “otherness” can generate. I consider the problem of “othering” with the intention to bridge from the social to the psychoanalytic – a bridge that appears more accessible to some than it is to others.

I discuss how our work as the analyst depends on our capacity to deconstruct aspects of the other. I use Dominique Scarfone’s writing on “otherness” to help deepen our understanding of the universal developmental task to separate enough to be able to truly see the other.

I will discuss clinical vignettes, specifically my countertransference with patients who I experience as most “other” from me, to deepen our understanding of the psyche’s “othering.”

Shelley Rockwell:

Jericho Brown wrote in his poem “What on Earth are we (that) we do not have to know what we believe we own” nor hear the wailing of the mother for her dead son.

In stark contrast Zbiegniew Herbert wrote of his loving knowing of a “pebble …filled exactly with its pebbly meaning.”

Simone Weil, a French philosopher and WWII activist believed colonialism, war, racism comes from our need to eject our own evil and ugliness into the other.

Melanie Klein’s work with 4-year-old Dick provides a window into this development: initially he treated her like a piece of furniture, and with the help of psychoanalytic play therapy, could better treat her with tenderness and concern.

These two states of mind underlie two otherings; one filled with love, the other hatred. I will explore the quality of these two otherings; how each may develop out of childhood


Paula L. Ellman, PhD, ABPP, is a training and supervising analyst and faculty in the Contemporary Freudian Society, Washington DC and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.  She serves on the IPA Board as North America Representative and is past Overall Chair of the IPA Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis, and past Chair of the IPA Intercommittee Work Group on Prejudice and Race.  She is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Shelley Rockwell, PhD, is a training and supervising analyst for the Contemporary Freudian Society and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. She has written and teaches in the area of Kleinian theory and clinical technique.  She has an interest in the intersection of poetry and psychoanalysis.

Program Fee:  $60 General/$50 CFS Members/$30 Candidates & Students

Learning objectives:

At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  1. Illustrate the vicissitudes of “othering” in working in the transference/countertransference.
  2. Describe what it means to know, how do we know the other?
  3. Answer the question “Can we connect our relationship to the natural world with the human?”

Who Should Attend: The instructional level for this activity is advanced.  Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.

Continuing Education Credits:

NY Social Workers: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0087

NY Psychoanalysts: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0021.

NY Licensed Psychologists: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provide of continuing education for Licensed Psychologists #PSY-0017.

Psychologists: The CFS is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The CFS maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  (DC, MD and VA Psychologist licensing boards accept CE credits provided by an APA approved Sponsor.  All other psychologists should check with their licensing boards.)

DC, MD and VA Social Workers: The Social Work Boards of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will grant continuing education credits to social workers attending a program offered by an APA authorized sponsor.

CE credits will only be granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program and completed online evaluation form. No partial credit will be offered. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements.  Upon completion of this program and online evaluation form, participants will be granted 2 CE credits.

Important Disclosure Information:

None of the planners and presenters of this program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.


March 3, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


By Zoom


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