OPENING MOVES IN WRITING AND TREATING
Among the most important passages in a piece of writing is the one that opens the story. This is where the writer captures the readers’ attention, bidding them to read on. The invitation needs to be an engaging one, so that the reader will trust the writer and want to follow along, through all the twists and turns, staying with the piece until the end. So, too, in therapy—beginnings matter. As therapists, we want to spark the client’s curiosity. In the opening pages the writer is signaling where he or she is hoping to go, our patients are signaling to us what they want to deal with about themselves, and as therapists we wonder how we may get there. All are setting the stage for what’s to come. From the start one’s curiosity needs to be sparked, a connection made between writer and reader, and therapist and patient. This weekend will explore beginnings, how they develop, how they succeed and how they fail. It has been said that the goal of the first session is to do what’s needed to have a second session. And it has been said the goal of the opening lines is to have the reader inclined to turn the page. There’s a whole story in that. The poet W. S. Merwin wrote: Come even so. We will start. Bring your nights with you.
Coordinators: KERRY MALAWISTA, Ph.D. and BOB WINER, M.D.
MAUD CASEY is the author of three novels, The Shape of Things to Come, a New York Times Notable Book, Genealogy, and The Man Who Walked Away; and a collection of stories, Drastic. She is the recipient of the Calvino Prize and has received international fellowships from the Fundación Valparaiso, Hawthornden International Writers Retreat, Château de Lavigny, Dora Maar, and the Passa Porta residency at Villa Hellebosch. Casey teaches at the University of Maryland and lives in Washington, D.C.
THEODORE JACOBS, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Emeritus). He trained in both adult and child psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently he is a Training and supervising analyst at both the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and The Institute for Psychoanalytic Education. Dr. Jacobs serves on the Editorial Boards of three analytic journals and is the author of sixty-five articles on a variety of analytic topics, plus many book reviews. He is the author of two books, The Use of the Self: Countertransference and Communication in the Analytic Situation and The Possible Profession: The Analytic Process of Change and has co-edited a third, On Beginning an Analysis with Arnold Rothstein. His coming of age novel, The Year of Durocher was published in 2013 with Bookstand Publishing. He is currently working on a mystery novel.
ELIZABETH POLINER is the author of the novel, As Close to Us as Breathing (winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and an Amazon Best Book of 2016); Mutual Life & Casualty, a novel-in-stories; and What You Know in Your Hands, a poetry collection. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared widely in literary journals including the Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Colorado Review. She is a recipient of seven individual artist grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, fiction fellowships to the Wesleyan and Sewanee writers’ conferences, and artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She teaches creative writing in the MFA and undergraduate programs at Hollins University where she is an associate professor. For twenty years she was a resident of Washington, DC and taught at George Washington University, American University, and the Writer’s Center.
STEVEN REISNER, PhD is a psychoanalyst and couples therapist in New York City. Dr. Reisner has been on the faculty of the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University, the International Trauma Studies Program and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education at NYU, the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, and the Women’s Therapy Center Institute. He is a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, Advisor on Psychology and Ethics for Physicians for Human Rights and past-President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He is a leader in the movement to remove psychologists and other health professionals from their central role in our nation’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ program. Because of this work, Dr. Reisner was the recipient of the New York State Psychological Association’s “Beacon” Award. In an earlier career, Dr. Reisner was an Obie-award winning director and actor, whose projects have been performed at the Public Theater, La Mama E.T.C., and Theater for the New City in New York, and on tour in North and South America.