Therapeutic Passage: Mid-Life and Beyond

Fall 2014

Life after fifty! The joys, challenges, and heartaches are the terrain of this weekend. As writers and psychoanalysts, we are among those who might be fortunate enough to engage in our crafts for a long period of time, our wisdom and creativity hopefully expanding as we age. Nonetheless, as we continue to ply our trades, life happens: time passes, children leave, grandchildren arrive, health and mortality become concerns for our parents and ourselves. Our language, “midlife crisis,” speaks to the sense of both danger and opportunity. We will be looking at how writers and analysts may be able to use these passages to advance both their creativity and their growth. As clinician, playwright, poet and memoirist, speakers will share their “behind the scenes” process, to help us understand how they have made use of these transitions in their work.


ANN BURACK-WEISS, PhD, has a doctorate in social work and is presently a member of the faculty in the Masters program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. Dr. Burack-Weiss taught two generations of students at the Columbia University School of Social Work. She also maintains a private practice in New York City.

Ann’s publications include: The Caregiver’s Tale: Loss and Renewal in Memoirs of Family Life (2006 Columbia University Press), Gerontological Social Work Supervision: A Social Work Perspective in Case Management and Direct Care (2008 Taylor and Francis), Social Work Practice with the Frail Elderly and their Families: The Auxiliary Function Model (1983, Thomas) and First Encounters Between Elders and Agencies (Brookdale Institute, 1985).

She is currently under contract with Columbia University Press for the book The Lioness in Winter about life writings on the aging experience of noted women authors.Her mainstream writing includes essays and humor pieces that have appeared in the New York Times and the East Hampton Star.

JOYCE EDWARD, LCSW, BCD, is a social worker who practiced Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis for 30 years before retiring from clinical practice.

Joyce has been on the faculties of the Adelphi University School of Social Work, the Hunter College School of Social Work, and the Smith College School of Social Work. She also was on the Editorial Board of the Clinical Social Work Journal.

Joyce’s publications include: Separation Individuation: Theory and Application co-authored with Nathene Ruskin and Patsy Turrini, Fostering Healing and Growth: A Psychoanalytic Social Work Approach (Jason Aronson, 1996) co-edited with Jean Sanville, The Social Work Psychoanalyst’s Casebook: Clinical Voices in Honor of Jean Sanville, co-edited with Elaine Rose The Sibling Relationship: A Force for Growth and Conflict (Jason Aronson, (2011).

MADELON SPRENGNETHER is a poet, memoirist, and literary critic. She is Regents Professor of English at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches poetry, theory and creative nonfiction.

A graduate of New Directions, her publications include: two books of poetry, The Normal Heart and The Angel of Duluth; two memoirs, Rivers, Stories, Houses, Dreams, and Crying at the Movies. Her new memoir is Great River Road: Memory, Aging, and Reconciliation, to be published by New Rivers Press  (2014).

Sprengnether has published numerous books in the field of feminism, psychoanalytic criticism and theory, most notably The (M)other Tongue: Essays in Feminist Psychoanalytic Interpretation and The Spectral Mother: Freud, Feminism and Psychoanalysis.

SHEILA FELBERBAUM, LCSW, BCD, is a psychoanalytically oriented clinical social worker practicing in Smithtown, New York. She teaches at Nassau Community College and consults for the VNS Hospice of Suffolk.

After graduating from the New Directions writing program in 2007 she continued on as an alumni, small discussion group leader and social coordinator.

Publications include: Mourning and Creativity: Finding the Write Words in the Journal, Psychoanalytic Social Work (2014), Memory, Mourning and Meaning in a Psychotherapist’s Life in the Clinical Social Work Journal (2009) and a chapter entitled Psychoanalytic Therapy with the HIV-Infected Person in Fostering Healing and Growth: A Psychoanalytic Social Work Approach (1996). She also wrote a one-act play “Trauma Ties” which has had staged readings and discussions at various analytic conferences.

LINDA SHERBY, Ph.D., ABPP is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in practice in Boca Raton, Florida.

A graduate of New Directions, Dr. Sherby is the author of the book, Love and Loss in Life and in Treatment, published by Routledge (2013). The book, which memorializes her relationship with her late husband, intertwines memoir with clinical material illustrating how the analyst’s current life circumstances affects both her patients and her work.

Previously she co-authored the book, Getting Free: Women and Psychotherapy.”  She is also the author of numerous professional papers including, “Considerations on Countertransference Love” 2009, Contemporary Psychoanalysis 45(1); and “Rediscovering Fairbairn” 2007, Contemporary Psychoanalysis 43(2).

She presently writes a weekly blog, Inside/Outside, that appears on her website and deals with the complex interaction between patient and therapist.