Ronald Ruskin, MD, FRCP[C] Dip Psych [McGill] FAPA
Reviewing Grandparents: Ageing and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Later Life
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST
*This is a Zoom Virtual Conference Event*
About the Presentation
The author reviews the role of grandparents in contemporary life with reference to graphic/narrative representations of ageing in art, children’s [fairy] tales, and societal family life. As analysts we study individual development in psycho-sexual stages with particular emphasis on early childhood, pre-oedipal and oedipal issues. Erikson’s writing on the life-cycle included eight stages to the age of 65, amending a ninth stage of old age shortly before death. From Freud onward psychoanalysis has focused on treating individuals in the first half of life. What of the second half of life and grandparents? What is their role in our understanding the relational dimensions of psychoanalytic process? Now it is common for individuals to live productive lives well into their 80’s or 90’s and it is not unusual for patients to enter psychoanalysis in mature years. Psychoanalytic candidates are often middle-aged, while many practicing analysts work well past middle-age. As we and our patients age, our resilience and capacity to respond to conflict is influenced by the support of significant others and the strength of our body-ego. The author cites the reality of the grandparent-child relationship as a supportive cohesive structure in family and psychic life. The reciprocal of this relationship is the metaphor of the adult-child as caregiver to the elder parent/grand-parent. Now, as analysts, analytic patients, and analytic societies age, may we discuss the realities, conflicts, and transferences of later life? The author presents personal experience and clinical examples to illustrate this perspective.
Dr. Alison Bentley ran the first diagnostic sleep laboratory in South Africa. She headed Wits University School of Physiology’s Sleep Laboratory, was the founding chairperson of the Sleep Society of South Africa, and represented Africa on the governing council of the World Association of Sleep Medicine. She has published many articles and book chapters on sleep and sleep disorders in lay media and scientific journals and has contributed over 40 invited conference presentations. She edits Sleep Matters, a publication sent to 2000 doctors quarterly.
Dr. Brent Willock, Past President, Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, taught at the University of Michigan, University of Toronto, and Adelphi University. He has authored scientific articles, chapters, edited books, and 2 volumes: Comparative-Integrative Psychoanalysis; and The Wrongful Conviction of Oscar Pistorius: Science Transforms our Comprehension of Reeva Steenkamp’s Shocking Death. His contributions have been honored with awards from The Ontario/Canadian/American Psychological Associations, The International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education, The Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, The University of Chicago.