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Loew, C.A. (2003). The Evolution of N.I.P. in a Historical Perspective: A Founder's Reflections. Psychoanal. Perspect., 1(1):7-10.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 1(1):7-10

The Evolution of N.I.P. in a Historical Perspective: A Founder's Reflections

Clemens A. Loew, Ph.D.

The destruction of the World Trade Center shook me with a force that in a flash made me keenly aware of such things as who and what are valuable to me and the unpredictability of life and violence.

I experienced, among many other emotions, a desire to understand history and to put things in perspective. In my reflections about the community that has been so important to me, I realized that the idea of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies was born at a time seemingly very different and yet in certain ways quite similar to the stress and turmoil of the present.

About 1969, five of us, Jim Fosshage, Ken Frank, Henry Grayson, Hy Lowenheim, and I, while students at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, started talking about our dissatisfactions with the prevailing philosophy and practice of psychoanalysis. Paul Olsen joined us later. In our exchanges, we became close friends, in part because we had a common opposition: the orthodoxy and rigidity of our own training, which consisted of Freudian and ego-psychological principles.

Our discussions, which culminated in the founding of N.I.P., took place during a historical period when our country was in a state of intense agitation, unrest, and high drama. As many of you recall, the national and geopolitical crosscurrents that germinated in the Vietnam War fragmented our nation and generated a sense of chaos that affected everything and everyone from large corporations to people on the street, as well as in the bedrooms and kitchens of virtually every American household. When the Vietnam War finally ended, in 1973, Americans felt released from a painful burden, but embittered.

The year that we at the Postgraduate Center first began talking about our discontent, Richard Nixon succeeded Lyndon B. Johnson as President. But then, despite having helped to end the Vietnam War, Nixon became the first President ever caught engaging in criminal activity.

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