Editors’ Note Spring 2015

In this edition of the newsletter we have attempted to provide a diverse range of topics that are discussed with psychoanalytic sensibility. We hope you enjoy the work of our different authors.

Nancy Hollander, the President of Section IX, provides a recap of recent social issues pertinent to Section IX goals toward Social Responsibility. She describes the different kinds of activism that the section, and members of the section have been involved in the past year. As editors, we felt inspired reading about other members involvement. We hope you have a similar experience.

Nancy’s update is followed by two articles written by Neil Altman. Galvanized by the historical reverberations of psychologists’ and the American Psychological Association’s (APA) role in torture and by the larger sociopolitical context of the United States war against terrorism, we decided to create an ongoing series on torture as space for reflexive and critical thinking. Neil will be spearheading this initiative, and sharing with our readership in upcoming editions his curiosity and attention to the issue of torture in the US and elsewhere,.

In Neil’s first article in this edition, Neil situates historically Section IX’s involvement in advocating for an end to torture and shares his own experience in advocating for systemic change. In his second article he discusses the case of Mohammed Al-Qahtani, the man who John Leso and others subjected to extreme interrogations. Neil provides needed attention to Mohammed Al-Qatani’s life and the treatment he has endured. While discussing this attention is also centered on, how due process can be squashed institutionally and psychologically.

Following Neil’s pieces, Allan Scholom turns his attention to the signature domestic achievement of the last eight years, the Affordable Care Act. Allan’s analysis provides a needed perspective, exploring the underlying fears and fantasies present in the passing of the legislation and offers a link to Evidence Based Practice movement. Allan guides readers through understanding the forces that are at play (both market based and personal) that are all too easy to neglect.

Finally, one of the editors, Matthew LeRoy, and his colleague, Batsirai Bvunzawabya, present us with an example of embodying social justice. Matthew and Batsirai share with us how a psychology training seminar on social justice can be a space for personal reflections, deconstruction of meaning and engaging with enactments. We hope that with this article, we turn our attention to an important longstanding goal of Section IX, the weaving of psychoanalytic social responsibility in classrooms and training programs.

The Psychoanalytic Activist welcomes proposals for future articles. Potential topics would include human rights, multicultural concerns, gender, sexual orientation, justice, ethics, economics, education, working with underserved populations, war and violence. We believe there is much that needs to be written regarding these issues, and hope the Psychoanalytic Activist provides a thoughtful and accessible method to begin and to deepen these conversations.

Matt LeRoy (mattleroy@gmail.com),  Nadine Obeid (n.obeid@wawhite.org)

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