A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Hatred and Bigotry

 

In response to the violence in Virginia over this past weekend, when a neo-Nazi fanatic violently plowed his vehicle into a crowd of protesters, killing one woman and wounding 19 others, I would like to offer a brief response, to help understand group hatred from a psychoanalytic perspective, and hopefully offer a way to help promote more social tolerance.

 

Much has been written on how the dynamics of groups can bring out and encourage the most primitive and violent aspects of human nature and ‘normalize’ this behavior. But I’d like to take a moment to focus on the individual psychodynamics, from a psychoanalytic perspective, that lead individuals to seek out hate groups to find support through unity and justify the violent expression of their rage and bigotry.

 

Freud’s described psychoanalysis as “the search for truth”. What he meant was that, as psychoanalysts, our task is to help people become more aware of their split off, unconscious memories and experiences that, without conscious awareness, inform their desires, motivations and behaviors. This search for ‘truth’ requires time and dedication; elements that are unfortunately often lacking in our society today that typically seeks quick ‘cures’ and immediate relief from any unpleasant feeling.

 

Hatred and bigotry are often the result of several unconscious defense mechanisms that blend seamlessly; disconnection by compartmentalization, reaction formation (the turning of one's feeling that is unacceptable into its more acceptable polar opposite), denial and, of course, repression of all these processes. Deep insecurity and self-hatred, which are ego dystonic, can easily be externalized and projected onto others as a way to feel better, (superior) about oneself. An unconscious (and unacceptable) ‘wish’ or impulse can be split off and transformed into a conscious fear and fuel the hatred of the repressed component of this dynamic. If the conflict is strong enough it can be intensified through a group process and acted out as violent hatred, as we unfortunately have seen played out in Virginia.

 

Here we may also see another unconscious dynamic in action. We are all genetically engineered, as a survival instinct for the human species, to become part of a group (or more primitively a tribe). Man needed to learn to hunt in groups in order to survive and those without this important genetic disposition inevitably died out leaving, this need to be part of a group, as the dominant genetic dynamic within all of us alive today. This group identity can become exploited by individuals who charismatically bring together like-minded individuals and incite an “us against them” mentality. We see this pattern in politics today and in history, played out over and over. 

 

But what if these unconscious processes were made more conscious and therefore less likely to be acted out? If more people began to explore their unconscious and become aware of the origins of their motivations and behaviors, they would be less susceptible to the manipulative influence of others.

 

Expressive analysis is not only about ‘symptom reduction’. It focuses on a more complete restructuring process that promotes healthy expression of authentic feelings that are not influenced by defense mechanisms or unconscious conflict. As we help our clients seek their own unique inner ‘truth’, as difficult as that may initially be, the result is a more tolerant, integrated, independently thoughtful individual capable of deep personal insight, introspection, and healthy interpersonal relationships. As an expressive analyst, I believe that our work is helping to make the world better in this way. It is important to remember this when we are faced with the type of tragedy that we have witnesses this past weekend.

 

Professor Robert Irwin Wolf, President

The Institute for Expressive Analysis

August 15, 2017

Re-Elected as President of the Institute for Expressive Analysis

I am please to announce that I have been re-elected as President of the Institute for Expressive Analysis for a second three year term.

The institute is guided by it's mission to integrate creative, expressive modalities into depth oriented psychoanalytic treatment. It is a NY State Accredited psychoanalytic training institute that also sponsors a community based clinic offering high quality, low fee, psychoanalytic treatment.

As a college professor, practicing artist, licensed psychoanalyst and licensed creative art therapist in private practice, I intend to continue to offer my years of experience integrating these processes, as a spokesperson who can promote the uniqueness of the Institute, both within the professional community and within public venues.

New Article published in The Psychoanalytic Review

A MIND’S EYE VIEW: Processing Psychoanalytic Treatment Through Artwork, 

by Professor Robert Irwin Wolf

While visual images have often been used in clinical assessments and diagnosis, this paper will explore how we may now utilize their unique capabilities to communicate unconscious, primary process material, to monitor and enhance ongoing long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy within the framework of expressive analysis. This paper presents several clinical vignettes that illustrate this monitoring process and demonstrates how the clinical work can be deepened with the exposure and integration of creative images as the patient and analyst process these visual metaphors within the expressive analytic session. A variety of sensory motor systems and perceptions are monitored and explored. These examples will follow the expressive analytic model, clearly focusing on transference and resistance, while also bringing in more contemporary life issues through visual metaphors

This paper is particularly important as it demonstrates how expressive art and 'implicit', nonverbal elements of sensory motor communication, can be used to receive and understand material that deepens the ongoing psychoanalytic process, providing a theoretical bridge between expressive art therapy and expressive analysis.

A full copy can be found under 'Professional Vitae/Publications'

 

THE CONTINUING EDUCATION COMMITTEE OF THE
NATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS
Presents

Harnessing The Unconscious: Utilizing Expressive Modalities and Group Process in Clinical Supervision

Live Supervision by: Professor Robert I. Wolf, President of the Institute for Expressive Analysis

Case Presenter: Michael O’Loughlin

Moderator: Judy Ann Kaplan

Sunday, April 23, 2017
6:00 – 7:30 PM
NPAP
40 WEST 13 STREET, # 216
(Between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Handicap accessible facility

Expressive Analysis combines elements of expressive modalities, such as art, movement, drama and music, and integrates them into a psychoanalytic framework to create a unique experience that fosters communication on a sensory motor level, promoting both creativity and insight.

This workshop is designed to demonstrate how, within the format of group supervision, unconscious, sensory motor perceptions may be transformed into tangible, consciously perceived information that can then be used to inform and deepen the supervision experience. This supervision group will utilize various forms of expressive art modalities to elicit this sensory motor data.

After attending this presentation, participants will be able to

- Identify two types of sensory motor communication that may be used in clinical supervision

- Describe how these types of communication may be used in clinical supervision.

1.5 contact hours will be granted to participants with documented attendance and completed evaluation form. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements. Upon completion, a Certificate of Attendance will be emailed to all participants.

Open to NPAP members and candidates at no cost; and to non-members for a fee of $30 ($20 per contact hour). Registration is suggested.

 

RSVP: programs@npap.org / 212.924.7440

National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0139.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events in April, 2017

April will be a busy month for me. I have the following four presentations planned

Saturday April 1, 2017 I will be presenting a Seminar on the Therapeutic Uses of Photography at this first west coast Summit. For more information please go to: http://expressivetherapiessummit.la/

Saturday, April 8, 2017, I will be moderating a panel and conducting a workshop on Using Phototherapy with children, at the Child Art Therapy Conference held at The College of New Rochelle and cosponsored by NYATA. CE's will be available for LCATS.

 

Sunday April 9, 2017, I will be making a presentation on Creative Processing of Dreams at the annual Open House of the Institute for Expressive Analysis. For more information contact: info@ieanyc.org

 

Sunday April 23, 2017, 6- 7:30 PM, I will be presenting a seminar on Using Expressive Modalities and Group Processing in Clinical Supervision, for the Continuing Education Program of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. CE's will be available for LPs. For further information please contact: programs@npap.org

New Video: Art Therapy in Special Education: The Brief History of the Henry Street School

The New York State Department of Education has chosen to use this video as an informational piece on their website, for people inquiring about the uses of creative art therapy in various settings.

Professor Robert Irwin Wolf, Clinical Director of the Henry Street School from 1973-1980, along with Dr. Beth Gonzalez-Dolginko, discuss the integration of creative art therapy within the educational structure of this unique school serving students with a wide range of learning disabilities. The pioneering work using Polaroid cameras with inner city children led to the development of the therapeutic use of photography. Professor Wolf, upon joining the faculty of the College of New Rochelle in 1980,  used this foundation to expand his research in clinical applications which has now further expanded into the current clinical field of Phototherapy.

See Video: VIMEO

Now Forming an ONGOING GROUP for CREATIVE PROCESSING OF DREAMS

 

Currently FORMING an ONGOING DREAM PROCESSING GROUP SEMINAR

Consciousness is but a fragment of our overall thought processes. The unconscious part of our mind/brain contains an immense amount of information; perceptions, emotions, cognitive and affective memories, etc. that influence our behavior in ways that, by definition, we are not consciously aware of. Every night, our dreams provide a window into this vast unconscious part of our mind and create metaphors through images that communicate ‘from ourselves, to ourselves’ on this primal yet highly informed level, about our deepest concerns and reactions to our daily life experiences. Our dreams contain this wealth of 'authentic' information that is waiting to be deciphered, understood and processed within our consciousness. Dreams speak our own personal  'truth' in a unique language of creative metaphor that is just waiting to be discovered and understood for further enrichment of our 'true self'.

This Dream Seminar is designed to guide participants through an ongoing group structure that uses a variety of expressive modalities and interactions between participants to process dream material. This Seminar is open to anyone wishing to develop  greater self-awareness, capacity for introspection and access to ones’ unconscious. The Group will meet weekly in my office located at 461 West 43rd Street, NYC, NY 10036

For further information please contact me at rwolfnyc@aol.com

New Photos now available for viewing...

I've completed the publication of an online photo album of photos from my African Safari through South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

You can see these samples of these photo here on my website under 'Fine Art Photography'/ Wildlife Photography or the entire album by cutting and pasting this link:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPnXgF9m7Mk_cbpNvOWwpUT0YHstaeyRBU0amZyqKmMMMd01m4JLH3zmWdfgvhktQ?key=WU1UWEtUSGhvdmprYWQ1eXpidnd6c2Z5VHVtWV9B

Lunchtime in Kruger Park

Bob Wolf and Art Robbins: The Artist/Psychoanalyst @ NPAP on Friday, October 30, 2015

THE PROGRAM COMMITTEE

OF THE NATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS

PRESENTS

THE ARTIST IN THE THERAPIST/THE THERAPIST IN THE ARTIST:

A CREATIVE DIALOGUE

 

PRESNTERS: Dr. Arthur Robbins and Professor Robert Irwin Wolf

MODERATOR: Alan Roland, Ph.D.

 

The presentation will explore the importance of the psychoaesthetic dimensions of working within the third analytic space between analyst and patient. We will then focus on how the utilization of photography and sculpture can stimulate the analyst’s own growth, and how this may then be integrated into clinical applications and practice.

BIO

Arthur Robbins, Ed.D., is the author of numerous articles and books in the area of creativity and therapeutic artistry. He is Founding Director of the Institute for Expressive Analysis, former Director of the Graduate Art Therapy Program, Pratt Institute, and Honorary Life Member, The American Art Therapy Association. He is a Senior Member and former member of the Board of Directors of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is also a fine art sculptor.

BIO

Professor Robert Irwin Wolf is currently President of the Institute for Expressive Analysis, on the Graduate Faculty of The College of New Rochelle and the Art Therapy Program at Pratt Institute, and a Senior Member, National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the uses of creativity and expressive art modalities in clinical practice. He is an exhibiting fine art photographer and sculptor.

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 7:30 P.M.

NATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS

40 WEST 13 STREET, BUZZER # 216 (BETWEEN 5TH AND 6TH AVENUES)

 

Refreshments Following the Meeting

Pratt Alumni Art Exhibition

On Saturday, September 19, 2015, Pratt Institute presented an Alumni Art Exhibition featuring the work of more than 80 prominent graduates.

This juried exhibition included work of 80 alumni spanning over six decades.

I was excited to have been selected to show my work in the Fine Arts exhibition as a graduate and representative of Pratt's school of Art and Design. My contribution to the show was piece of contemporary stone sculpture:

DANCER”, 1999, 27”H x 9”W x 5”D, White Carrera Marble

I was honored to have Pratt President Thomas Schutte present at the Artist's Reception, seen here personally welcoming me back on the campus.

Solo Pop-Up Exhibition: Sculpture In Stone

This Solo Exhibition of my work in stone took place in Chelsea at a unique Pop-Up Gallery space at 290 Eighth Avenue on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 6-9 PM. The space at one time, had been a nightclub, bar and restaurant with a "Roman" theme and was in between ownership at the time of the event. My art representatives were able to secure the space of this one night only event. The unique space: a room with mirrored and marble walls and marble floors became a wonderful backdrop for my stone sculpture. Over 75 people, from the fine art, art therapy and psychoanalytic communities attended during the three hour time frame. Special thanks to my Art Representatives: Mueller+Jacobs, www.muellerjacobs.com for their effort in making this special event possible

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Unique Clinical Supervision Opportunity

I am pleased to offer the opportunity for new participants to join my ongoing clinical supervision group that meets on Wednesdays, from 7 - 8:30 PM in my conveniently located midtown Manhattan office. This group consists of a variety of clinicians, including creative art therapists, psychoanalysts and other clinical professionals interested in integrating creative processing into their work.

In this unique group, participants bring in one piece of artwork each week that they have created at home, to begin a creative exploration of supervisory issues, often focusing on countertransference and resistance. A variety of expressive techniques modalities are explored and demonstrated, including the therapeutic uses of photography, (Phototherapy) and the creative processing of dreams. I welcome this opportunity to offer my clinical skill and experience, having spent the past many years in private practice, teaching graduate art therapy students in a variety of settings and pursuing my own artwork as a photographer and sculptor, as I explored and defined the further integration of creative art therapy, fine art and psychoanalysis.

Please pass this information along to interested colleagues.

For further information please contact me directly at:

rwolfnyc@aol.com