Leslie Wells, JD, LP, FIPA, IPTAR – Incoming Editor, NewsBriefs

Dear CIPS Community, I am delighted to be part of the CIPS community as the incoming Editor of NewsBriefs. As will be evident in this issue, individually and collectively we have so much to offer and indeed give so much. It is my hope that this issue will serve in part to replenish us in these unprecedented times as we share with each other our thoughts, experiences, creativity and humanity.

Let us offer our thanks to Carol Mason-Straughan, the outgoing Editor, and appreciate her work and care in keeping our community connected and informed through the issues she shepherded to publication.

This issue of Newsbriefs was originally conceived as a way to help us share with each other about what and how we—as societies and individuals—are doing during the early days of the unfolding of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was largely written prior to the murder of George Floyd and before the long-brewing protests against police brutality and for racial equality began. Here and there, you will see references to these more recent events but by and large contributions were submitted when the Covid-19 pandemic was foremost in our minds.  

As you shall see, this issue has the usual letters from the Presidents of CIPS and NAPsaC, as well as this letter from the Editor. There is also a book review. Beyond these elements, the issue perhaps strikes new ground. We are fortunate to have letters from the Presidents of all the member societies who share with us how their society has been impacted so far by the pandemic. We also asked the Reporters to find members and candidates who would offer brief reflections related to their personal experiences in light of the pandemic. The organizing hope was that between the “bird’s eye” perspective from the societies’ presidents and a “boots on the ground” perspective provided by these individual contributions, we could convey our experiences with each other in a more fulsome way.

Nancy Goodman insightfully reviews the recent CIPS publication entitled Trauma and the Destructive-Transformative Struggle: Clinical Perspectives which was edited by

Terrence McBride and Maureen Murphy. Members from our various societies contributed to this volume, which perhaps at this time is a “must read” for the psychoanalytic community. A general observation Nancy made in the beginning of her book review seems like an apt description of this issue of NewsBriefs as well. She wrote: “Without the [transformative] struggle, destructive forces of trauma can take over our ability to think and feel leaving a permanent “dead space” in the mind. The psychoanalytic writers here show how the struggle to find the psychic truths of this dead space can give birth to something new, what I call a “living space” within the struggle.” In writing for this issue, all the contributors have helped create a “living space” for our community.

Our living space here also includes remembrances of colleagues we love and have lost due to Covid-19 and other causes. This section, entitled “In Memoriam”, is envisioned as being a permanent fixture of NewsBriefs.

At the end of the issue, there is also a section entitled “Resources” which offers a very small sample of resources out there – both psychoanalytic and not – that might be of interest or helpful right now.

Even in these times that are profoundly stressful and straining, many have given generously to create this issue. I deeply thank those who offered Remembrances: Hadassah Ramin, Leigh Tobias, Steven Ellman, Jane Hall, Elizabeth Reese, Maureen Murphy and Andrea Greenman. Thank you for speaking of loss and death in this time blanketed by loss, death and uncertainty. I also offer my heartfelt thanks to the presidents: Batya Monder (CIPS), Robin Deutsch (NAPsaC), Andrea Greenman (CFS), Michael Moskowitz (IPTAR), Lanning Melville (LAISPS), Maxine Nelson (NPSI), Jennifer Langham (PCC) and Bruce Weitzman (PINC). They already had a lot on their plates navigating their societies through the changes necessitated by the pandemic, yet were nonetheless delightful to work with and generous with their time. My enthusiastic thanks also to the Reporters—Mary Wall (CFS), Joe Davis (LAISPS), Dave Parnes (NPSI), Susan Mitchell (PCC) and Drew Tillotson (PINC)–who were game for their new mission and went about it with good cheer and dedication. As you shall see, our Reporters also share the various responses and adaptations occurring at their society necessitated and inspired by the pandemic. And, finally, to all of the many members and candidates who share their creativity, hearts, minds and genuine experiences with us – thank you for making this issue so very special.

Consider this edition of the NewsBriefs somewhat akin to an issue of The New Yorker – filled with so much good stuff (including poetry, art and humor) but perhaps impossible to read in one sitting. I invite you to take your time with this as it may help soothe your mind and soul in these troubled and troubling times.

With warm regards, Leslie Wells, JD, LP, FIPA, IPTAR