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Grand, S. Newirth, J. Stein, A. Itzkowitz, S. Pines, D. Sirote, A. Sussillo, M. (2009). Violence and Aggression in the Consulting Room. Psychoanal. Perspect., 6(1):1-21.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 6(1):1-21

Roundtable Discussion

Violence and Aggression in the Consulting Room

Sue Grand, Ph.D., Joseph Newirth, Ph.D., Abby Stein, Ph.D., Sheldon Itzkowitz, Ph.D., ABPP, Deborah Pines, LCSW, Alan Sirote, LCSW and Mary Sussillo, LCSW, B.C.D.

Moderated by:
Art Baur, LCSW


Sheldon Itzkowitz, PhD, ABPP

The editors of Psychoanalytic Perspectives were shocked by the death of Kathryn Faughey in New York in the spring of 2008. The senseless murder caused all of us—and, in fact, the entire psychological community—to wonder about the safety of therapists everywhere. Most of us practice in private offices where there is no protection from forces beyond our control. Even an angry patient, in the aftermath of Faughey's death, causes many of us to wonder if we are safe enough.

The psychoanalyst knows all too well that evil lurks not in the hearts of men, but in the deepest, darkest recesses of the mind. It is the contemporary psychoanalyst who endeavors to enter, along with his or her patient, the world of unconscious fantasy and reverie and to confront the patient's inner demons. It is in this process that patient and analyst face the dark side of humanity: anger, lust, desire, envy, jealousy, and at times, murderous rage.

The idea for this Roundtable on Violence and Aggression in the Consulting Room occurred to me when I was enjoying a wonderful lunch at one of Manhattan's great Italian restaurants. Joining me that day were friends and colleagues who would be on a panel with me at the Spring 2008 Conference of the Division of Psychoanalysis (Division 39) of the American Psychological Association. Our meeting was just a couple of weeks after the brutal murder of Dr. Kathryn Faughey, the psychologist who was stabbed to death in her office on New York's Upper East Side. I began describing the patient whom I would be presenting who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and her system of alter-personalities.

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