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“Stranger at the Gate: On Guard Against Our Ethic of Welcoming” with Stan Case, LICSW PhD (SPSI Scientific Session)

April 18, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

“Stranger at the Gate” (1958) by Jacob Kainen, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Freud wrote that “the initial helplessness of human beings is the primal source of all moral motives.” If caring for the newborn, a stranger on arrival in this world, is our most primal human ethic, it serves the survival of the group. The biblical command that “you shall not wrong nor oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” and the admonition “to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” express core values of compassion for the vulnerable in the Judeo-Christian faiths (as well as in other matriarchal religions). As Warren Poland observes as well, “one’s sense of self as an outsider, a stranger, is an inescapable part of human life.” But in groups, we’re on guard against others who are not-like-us. If we let the outsiders in, will they throw the insiders out? The outgroup might bring back estranged parts of ourselves. As psychoanalysis opens new doors to our social unconscious, why isn’t our collective conscience more welcome?

Stan Case, LCSW, PhD, is a consulting analyst and analyst of candidates at SPSI and NPSI. His paper titled “Weaving our Webs—Untangling our Truths” will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is in practice in Edmonds, Washington.

“Incorporating Anti-Racism Ethics into Clinical Practice and Institute Functioning”
Discussant: Elizabeth Jordan, MD

In our clinical work, “psychoanalytic neutrality must not be confused with an ethical neutrality which would allow us to be neutered” (Hanna Segal, from Stan’s beautiful paper). I wonder how we can effectively incorporate our ethical values regarding anti-racism into our work with patients, and into our vision for the future of our analytic institutions. How can I (a white therapist/analyst) respond when my patient’s unconscious discrimination manifests? How can I separate out differences I might have from my patient in our ethical ideals, while also acknowledging our current social situation, my own ethical values/personhood, my own and my patient’s disavowed internal racism, and a collective conscience. How can I do this ethically and not morally, using “we-ness,” with our patients and with our institutes, including our differences of opinion, without a flight into manic activity, morality, or divisiveness?

Liz Jordan, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Seattle. She is on the faculty at SPSI and at the UW Department of Psychiatry, where she teaches psychiatry residents. She is interested in DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) and is currently acting as the chair of the Diversity Committee at SPSI.

Learning Objectives

After attending this presentation, participants should be able to:

  1. identify several resistances to experiencing collective guilt.
  2. understand moral emotions in infants and the socialization of racism in child development.
  3. understand the difference between moralism and ethics.
1.5 hours Category II CME. This presentation meets the requirements of WAC 246-924-240 (Definition of Category of Creditable CPE). “This program has been approved for 1.5 CEUs by the NASW Washington State Chapter.” Licensed Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors are eligible. Provider number is #1975-144.

If you have a psychoanalytic idea that you would like to present, contact Stan Case or Ron Levin. Presenting offers the benefit of having your idea discussed and further developed.

SPSI Scientific Sessions are free to attendees.


April 18, 2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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(206) 328-5315
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