Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives on Working with Transgender Patients with Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou at NYPSI

Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives on Working with Transgender Patients: A NYPSI Faculty Meeting OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS AND CANDIDATES

On Tuesday March 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM we will be privileged to have psychoanalyst Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou discuss current theoretical and clinical considerations raised by trans phenomena. Over the past few years trans has increasingly become a focus of interest for psychoanalysts and developmental theorists as well as for biologists, geneticists, ethicists, educators, jurists, and holders of public office. The transformations of Caitlin Jenner have riveted public attention to this subject. Amy Ellis Nutt’s 2015 book, Becoming Nicole[1], has contributed to the mounting interest. Becoming Nicole is a complex, wrenching, and highly sympathetic account of a family with identical twin boys one of whom identified as a girl beginning at age 2 and who is today at 18 contemplating gender reassignment surgery.

Dr. Saketopoulou – by the way a former extern here at NYPSI – has written and lectured widely on her psychoanalytic clinical work with trans individuals, both children and adults. Her theoretical framing and moving account of her analysis of a five year old trans girl in a paper titled “Mourning the body as bedrock: Developmental considerations in treating transsexual patients analytically[2]” received the JAPA Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association during 2014 as well as the Ralph Roughton Prize – also of the American Psychoanalytic Association – for that year. She has expanded on her ideas in a wide-ranging discussion with me in a JAPA podcast available on the JAPA website[3].

How psychoanalysts think about and work with trans persons are matters of controversy. Certainly they represent challenges to the most traditional psychoanalytic formulations of gender, gender identity, and sexuality. Is it sufficient to say – as some do – that the body develops separately from the brain or mind? Clearly such an idea flies in the face of some analysts’ most deeply held postulates, for example Freud’s statement that “the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego”[4] – or does it?

Dr. Saketopoulou has developed a position in this controversial arena, one based upon her extensive clinical experience and mastery of the relevant theory. Yet she is open to data and fair toward thinking that differs from her own.

The meeting is open to all members and candidates. I strongly urge everyone to attend and to learn.

Richard Gottlieb, M.D.

Chair of the Faculty, NYPSI

­­­­­­­­­­­­­[1] Random House, New York

[2] JAPA 62/5:773-806

[3] The podcast is downloadable at:

[4] Freud, S. (1923). The Ego and the Id, S.E. XIX, page 26.

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