Friday, February 9, 2024, 6:00-8:00pm Eastern/Online

JANE HASSINGER, LCSW, DCSW and BILLIE PIVNICK, PhD with Discussant George Bermudez,  PhD

The 21st Century Psychoanalyst: Clinician, Community Member, and Relational Citizen


The Colloquium Series 2023-2024 presented by the Psychoanalytic Society of the William Alanson White Institute

The 21st Century Psychoanalyst: Clinician, Community Member, and Relational Citizen






Psychological development and related mental health challenges unique to the 21st century call attention to the ways social, cultural, and political arrangements interlace with our psychic worlds and must become integral parts of our psychoanalytic endeavor (Cushman, 2015; Butler, 2022). Extending the pioneering work of WAWI’s Sullivan, Fromm, and Bromberg, we recognize the developmental significance of our participation in community life.  We are each a part of an unconscious group matrix – dyad, group, family, institution – which influences the organization of psychic life (Foulkes, 1964; Tubert-Oklander, 2014). These networks constitute self-states or ‘groups-in-the-mind’ (Shapiro, 2020) and are significant though under theorized features of our internal worlds.

What we have called “the community turn” in psychoanalysis acknowledges that public participation in community life, for example, as neighbors and as citizens, constitutes an important aspect of adult development and contributes to the intersubjective experience of oneself as a generative citizen among citizens–what we have termed ‘relational citizenship’ (Hassinger & Pivnick, 2022; Pivnick & Hassinger; 2023). Evolving from the experience of taking up roles in groups, relational citizenship is an expression at both intrapsychic and interpersonal levels, of maturing capacities for intersubjective perspective taking and group relations outside the family (Shapiro & Carr 1991, 2017). This psychological work produces increased empathy for others, self-authorization, and the capacity for managing multiple group identifications necessary for mature participation as a citizen in community life.). These multiple group identifications complement the multiplicity of other internalized object relations (Bromberg 1998, 2011).

Broadening our framework to include the conscious and unconscious intersubjective field enables us to acknowledge and work within a dynamic, dialectical view of the self-in-context in which group and community life become legitimate features of the therapeutic enterprise. Based on their work as founders of the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory, the presenters will discuss their concept of ‘relational citizenship,’ and how it links clinical and community practice.

2 CE credits are available for this event.

Jane Hassinger is a Community and Group Psychoanalyst in Ann Arbor, Michigan who teaches at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalyst. With collaborator Billie Pivnick, PhD, she is co-leader of the William Alanson White Institute’s Committee on Public Mental and co-founder of the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory (2014). In 2007, with collaborators Lisa Harris,MD and Lisa Martin, PhD, Jane also co-founded the Providers Share Program, a global research initiative and support intervention for abortion providers, now active in 57 countries. Her work is interdisciplinary and engages the intergenerational dynamics of psyche/social. Jane was on the University of Michigan faculty in Women’s Studies, Psychology and Social Work for 25 years, where she taught courses and conducted research on women’s health, gender-based violence, trauma, gender and work. She has co-authored numerous journal articles, including The Community Turn: Relational Citizenship in the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory (IJAP, 2022), with Billie Pivnick. She is also co-author of Women on Purpose: Resilience and Creativity of the Founding Women of Phumani Paper, Desklink Publications, Johannesburg 2012.
Billie Pivnick is a psychoanalytic psychologist in private practice in NYC, specializing intreating children and families suffering from traumatic loss and problems related to adoption. She is faculty/supervisor in the William Alanson White Institute Child/Adolescent Psychotherapy Program and is Co-Chair of WAWI’s Committee on Public Mental Health, Co-Chair of the Humanities and Psychoanalysis Committee of APA’s Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and is a co-host of the Couched podcast, which features conversations between analysts and influential cultural figures. Together with Jane Hassinger, she is also co-founder and co-leader of the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory, a web-based seminar and project incubator for psychoanalytically-informed projects focused on innovative interdisciplinary responses to significant community problems. Additionally, Dr. Pivnick is Consulting Psychologist to Thinc Design, partnered with the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Orlando’s OnePulse Foundation; and to the Parkside School in Manhattan. Author of some thirty professional articles, she was the winner of the SPPP’s 2015 Schillinger Memorial Essay Award for her essay, Spaces to Stand In: Applying Clinical Psychoanalysis to the Relational Design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, and the IPTAR’s 1992 Stanley Berger Award for her contribution to psychoanalysis. Formerly head of the Graduate Dance Therapy Program at Pratt Institute, she is also faculty at Adelphi’s Derner Institute, the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, and the New Directions Program in Psychoanalytic Writing at the Washington/Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. She is also an Associate Editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
Dr. George Bermudez is Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, Training & Supervising Psychoanalyst at The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis Los Angeles, and 2020-21 Visiting Scholar at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC). He has developed pioneering scholarship and practice – an expansion toward a social psychoanalysis –exploring the “social unconscious” through “social dreaming”.  The author of  The Social Dreaming Matrix as a Container for the Processing of Implicit Racial Bias and Collective Racial Trauma (International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 2018), and Community Psychoanalysis: A Contribution to an Emerging Paradigm (Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 2019),  he has focused on numerous contemporary socio-political concerns:  American xenophobia;  whiteness and psychoanalysis; Black reparations; The LGBTQ unconscious in the Trumpian era; and the global unconscious in the time of pandemic. Dr. Bermudez’ most recent work focuses on the applications of social dreaming to the discovery of potential solutions to our climate crisis and the development of “deliberative democracy”.

William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology 20 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023 | (212) 873-0725