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Oppenheim, L. (2014). Introduction. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(4):281-282.

(2014). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13(4):281-282



Lois Oppenheim

On February 7–8, 2014, the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute sponsored a conference entitled Violence in Schools, Homes, and on the Streets: Psychoanalytic Collaboration with Educators, Law Enforcers, and Community Leaders. Why violence? Why a conference? Why at NYPSI?

The reasons for such a meeting, attended by mental health practitioners, school administrators, and interested members of the general public, are all too obvious. With the extraordinary loss of life across our country in recent years, with the extraordinary number of acts of bullying and other forms of maltreatment, with the extraordinary sense of hopelessness running ever deeper in the fabric of this nation, bringing together several of the most innovative clinicians, educators, and others treating or otherwise assisting victims of violence and their families (some of whom work closely with federal agencies here and abroad) promised to be informative. And informative it was! That NYPSI should host such a meeting was in keeping with its more than a century-old mission of, in addition to providing excellent psychoanalytic training and promoting high caliber research in the field, contributing on the broadest scale to the understanding of human behavior.

A New York Times article of some months prior to the conference cited a “statistical portrait of the high school class” of 2013. Referencing a report in which “a hypothetical class of 100 graduates” was imagined, the statistics were chilling: In such a class, 71 would have been physically assaulted (of the 28 having been victimized sexually, 10 would have experienced dating violence and 10 reported rape); 27 would have been in a physical fight; and 16 would have carried a weapon in that year. Of these graduates, 32 would have known some kind of child abuse, 39 would have been the victim of bullying (physical or emotional), and 14 would have seriously considered suicide with 6 having followed through on the suicidal ideation. Of the 22 living in poverty, 10 would have been living in “deep poverty.” As the author of this op-ed piece, Charles M. Blow, was quick to conclude: “Those statistics are shameful” (June 15, 2013, p. A21).


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