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May 6

Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP

May 6


Slouching Towards Kabul, Kyiv, and Tehran: Clinical Dispatches on War, Political Repression, and Moral Injury

Spyros D. Orfanos, PhD, ABPP

Saturday, May 6, 2023

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST



About The Day

The relationship between individual and collective trauma is increasingly important to psychoanalysts. The interest, however, cannot be properly said to be new. Since the days of World War I the field has tried to conceptualize the relationship and has linked it to social justice. The first part of this multi-media presentation will discuss the presenter’s work with two Afghan young women in Kabul as they experience the terror of the Taliban. In summer 2021, the American University of Afghanistan (in Kabul) asked the NYU Postdoctoral Program’s Human Rights Work Group to provide desperately needed mental health care for their students.  We planned a comprehensive mental health needs assessment that never took place because chaos and violence quickly overran events. Under emergency conditions, we pivoted from a community/public health model to one of crisis interventions with students, faculty, and university administrators. The experience of being a relational psychoanalyst working remotely but nevertheless intensively with the war in Afghanistan will be explored.

The second part of this presentation will focus on the presenter’s ongoing group consultations with a collective of psychiatrists and psychologists in Tehran as they do their work within the context of protests, executions, and other terrors. The consultation group began three months after the outpouring of rage against the Iranian government for its repressive crackdowns. The rage exploded on September 16, 2022 across dozens of cities, in protest of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-ol Kurdish Iranian woman. Ms. Amini was charged by Iran’s morality police for n wearing “improper hijab.”  The experience of being a relational psychoanalyst working with colleagues, many of whom are as traumatized as their patients, will be explored. The presenter’s subjectivity including motivations will be addressed in the the context of a contemporary understanding of moral injury.

About the Speaker

Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., is Director of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), he is past president of the Society of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology of the APA, the Academy of Psychoanalysis of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He is on the Advisory Board of the Sigmund Freud Museum of Vienna.  In April 2023 in recognition for his human rights work, the Society of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology of APA will honor him with the International Activism for Social Justice Award.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the day’s presentation, participants will be able to:

  • To identify the differences between a community/public health model and an individual/clinical model of intervention.
  • To describe domestic and international community engagement and clinical service within a psychoanalytic framework.
  • To describe how female liberation in a fundamentalist, paternalistic world can quickly be affected by situations of terror and political repression.
  • To identify past and current psychoanalytic ideas of moral injury.
  • To identify how the self can be influenced by non-linear modes of interactions with muses, mentors, and the analytic field.

Schedule of the Day

10:00 a.m.         Introduction

10:05 a.m.         Morning Session – Dr. Orfanos

11:00 a.m.        Audience Discussion

12:00 p.m.          Lunch

1:00 p.m.          Afternoon SessionDr. Orfanos

2:00 p.m.           Audience Discussion

3:00 p.m.           Closing remarks



Earlybird Registration Deadline is April 21, 2023

TSCP Member: $150 / $160

Regular: $160 / $170

Student: $75/$100