. . . an innovative three-year continuing education program for writers, clinicians, and academics who want to develop their skill in writing with a psychological perspective. We have been of help to students who were novice writers and to others who were well-published authors, and to all those in-between. While most of our students have been psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapists, our student bodies have also included journalists, authors, and university faculty, among others.
In seasonal weekend conferences and optional summer and winter retreats, our community of students, alumni, teachers, and guest faculty come together to explore topics of psychological interest which stimulate our minds and enrich our writing. Each weekend has a specific topic focus, such as memory, play, trauma, gender, writers block, mourning, revenge and forgiveness, religion, boundary, children’s literature, evil, the body, music, neuroscience, projection, and imagining a life.
Writing helps us to think. Thinking helps us to write. But writing is the focus of the program.
Each weekend we combine a variety of program components to support this effort:
- Small groups that review each weekend’s brief assignments.
- Craft-oriented writing workshops.
- Presentations by guest faculty on the weekend’s topic.
- Long-term collaborations that facilitate individual writing projects.
In addition some of our students pursue independent help from our panel of writing consultants and arrange to work together in person and/or by mail, phone, or internet.
While some of our students are extensively published and others are novice writers, all are invested in developing their authorial skills.
To help them achieve this goal we have recruited a cadre of professional writing instructors who are paired with our psychoanalyst faculty as writing group leaders. The breadth of this group means there is support in New Directions for crafting material for not only theoretical and clinical publications but also fiction and non-fiction for a wide variety of other media formats including newspaper, magazines, poetry collections, scripts for stage or screen, and oral presentations.
Expansion of the use of memoir into many of these projects has been of particular interest to many of our students.
The demographics of the students range in age from their twenties to their eighties and come from all over the US, Canada, and abroad.
One interesting phenomena of the program is that many of our alumni continue to participate in the program long after completing the program because they find New Directions a supportive home where they can continue to develop as thinkers, writers, and professionals.
Another excellent source of information on The New Directions program is in “Writing With an Other: The Essay as Interpersonalized Fantasy” written by a current writing group leader, Sandie Friedman and published in Other/Wise: The Journal of the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education
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