MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR
PSYCHOANALYSIS & PSYCHOTHERAPY

MCPP Board of Directors Meeting Minutes June 2020

June 7, 2020  10:00-12:00

This meeting took place on Zoom. Present at the meeting:

Peter Wood, Tamra Frei, Karen Baker, Art Brickman, Mary Nowack, David Freiband. Sonya Freiband, Jerrold Brandell, Lisa Larson, Julia Davies, Eve Avrin, Karen Weber

Susan Miler, Vangie Spindler, Shil Sengupta, David Klein, Carol Stratman, Michael Rudy, Marybeth Atwell

Peter reminded us about the purpose of the by law review, which will take place this year. 

Peter summarized the comments he received after sending a letter to the founding members of MCPP outlining the current situation. In the letter Peter explained that we have not been able to fill the necessary roles in the organization to continue to run the organization, and that we must take stock and consider how we will go forward.

The responses he received included the following:

  • That we pursue a direction and accreditation that would fill a more unique role in the psychoanalytic world in Michigan, such as a focus in relational psychoanalysis, or neuropsychoanalysis.
  • Form an alliance with another organization, such as IPA (Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies), and become a component society of the organization.
  • Join forces with another training institute to share resources such as teachers.
  • Abandon the training function of the organization and focus more on our lives and identities as psychoanalysts through the pursuit of self authorized study groups. This would require minimal structure and could be supported by the collection of dues.
  • Ally with MSPP in some way. Either we could affiliate with them, or they with us. Robert Hooberman offered to explore this option, and consider something like a friendly take over of the organization.
  • Do more outreach to university social work programs, such as University of Detroit.

Discussion:

Tamra Frei commented that the decision about whether to let go of the training program seems central. 

Peter updated us on the current status of the training program.  We have very few teachers or supervisors who are trained and willing to teach.  We have no choice but to let go of the training program.  We are successfully running the one-year program. It has generated a lot of interest, and we have been able to fill the class.  We are hoping to do the same again this next year. This one year course is one way that we generate interest in psychoanalysis and provide education to therapists in the community.

Art Brickman supports the idea of rebranding the organization and moving in the direction of seeking accreditation in either relational or neuropsychoanalysis.  By doing this we could offer something different than MPI or other organizations and this could attract students and potential teachers. We could also affiliate with other like-minded organizations.

Sonya Freiband noted that we looked into accreditation and we didn’t meet some of the criteria. For example, that teachers have certain kinds of training, such as minimal 4-5 times a week analysis.  We also looked into other accrediting agencies that would require more of a hierarchical structure that opposes our commitment to a flat organization.

We looked at ACPE, which seems most consonant with our values, but Karen Baker pointed out that this requires that we have a training program, and a more hierarchical structure.

Peter pointed out that for any of these ideas to be successful, we need people to carry out the work.  This is an open opportunity for anyone to take the organization in a direction that they wish to pursue.

Karen Baker expanded on the point.  We can imagine all sorts of futures but we need the people to do the work.

Art Brickman believes that the people are out there and that we need “fresh blood” to move forward, thus we need to rebrand to attract them.

Marybeth Atwell, who runs elections pointed out that as of July of 2021 we 0 people filling positions and no one expressing interest at this point.  Most of us are older and beginning to pursue other interests. She also pointed out that we previously approached the relational folks in our organization about taking things over, but they did not take that up.

Sonya Freiband pointed out that being authorized to provide psychology CEU’s is a very rigorous process.  Being able to provide both psychology and social work CEU’s is central to us, as this is an important draw for our Sunday presentations. The presentations are well attended, and we are about to launch a new website, so there is a lot of interest in what we have to provide.  But, she pointed out that we, as a group are not trained in relational nor neuropsychoanalytic work and could not likely get certified for this.  The relational people in our organization have active affiliations with other institutes.  She also pointed out that we might find people to teach, but no one seems to want to run things.

Julia Davies commented that psychoanalysis has taken a huge relational turn, and that there is more general agreement that it is relationships that are core to what makes change, and that this is a big umbrella that includes other kinds of thinking, including neuropsychoanalysis. She and Jean Wixom are planning to teach for us next year. 

There was a conversation about Washtenaw Psychological Association.  They seem to have a lot of energy. Could we affiliate with them for presentations?  Can we join forces to generate more energy?  Art feels that a more contemporary focus, such as neuro or relational work could generate energy. The neuropsych organization is very lively and cutting edge. We talked about Mark Solms coming next year.  Could we move more toward an integrationist identity?  A sexier identity. This could be the thing that gets people to step up and volunteer. We need younger people.

There was a general discussion about rebranding, broadening the catchment area, particularly if we are going to do meetings on Zoom. 

Jerry Brandell suggested that we poll our members.  We could collect information about what people want, and where their interests lie.

Vangie pointed out that we are an inclusive organization and that a shift in focus doesn’t mean leaving anyone out.

But, we don’t have the people to carry any of this out, and we don’t have people trained in these areas deeply enough to change the focus of our organization.

At this point, members exited the meeting and the board members remained to conduct the rest of the meeting.  Marybeth Atwell stayed to take notes.

BOARD MEETING

Approval of April minutes.  Passed unanimously.

Banquet is cancelled due to COVID and possibly rescheduled for September. To be decided as we know more.

Peter is considering having the President’s party in September and doing it outside, but he is not optimistic about this, given the predictions for a resurgence of COVID.  He will make a decision in August.

Discussion of the requirement that the by-laws undergo review periodically.  Beth Waiess is the by-laws person for the organization, but someone noted that this job falls to the ex-president.  In light of all that Sonya has done, Art Brickman and Shil Sengupta volunteered, along with Peter, to take a look at the by-laws.

There was a discussion of raising instructor stipends.  It was confirmed that we have adequate funds to do so.  Currently we pay $100 for a class with 5 or more students, and $50 for a class with 3 or 4 students. The proposal is to raise the amount to $150.  Eve said we have:  Paypal account over $7000, checking account, $4000, and $58,616 in the Schwab account.

Sonya raised concern about voting on something that instructors who are board members have a personal stake in.  Others commented that we have the money and the instructors certainly deserve it. Jerry thinks it would increase the appeal to teach. 

David Freiband, VP of programs reported that we will spend between $14,000-16,000 to cover the expenses of the speakers for this next year. If we are going to do primarily video streaming presentations though, we will save money on travel and venue expenses.

Since MCPP might be dissolving as an organization, we will need to figure out what to do with the funds that remain, such as donating to the APA, Division 39, PSIAN, AAPCSW.  Peter and Art will think this through. 

Vote to raise stipend for teaching to $150 passed.

Discussion regarding advertising for the one year course.  Brochures have been sent out.  A few people have expressed interest.

Report regarding website from Reena Liberman:  The new website is due to launch in the next 10 days or so.  It looks excellent, very useful, and user friendly.

Reena is making a budgetary request so that work can be done to increase the capacity of the website to accommodate the virtual meetings and be able to issue CEU’s.  She is requesting funds for 10 hours of work by the programmer, and 3 hours of MCPP administrative work, for a total of $1500.

Vote taken, motion carried.

David Freiband reported on plans for Sunday meetings this next year.  It has been hard to get clear with presenters, in part due to the constantly changing situation with COVID.  The March presenter can’t do the date.  David needs to be making decisions on a rolling basis as to whether we are doing these on Zoom or in person, in order to respond to the deadlines for the venues. 

David is trying to find venues that are larger to accommodate social distancing.  It would raise the cost to $300-$500, as opposed to around $200.

There was general concern expressed about the likelihood that it is unwise to plan in person meetings, at least through the Fall.  We are an older crowd and people are getting used to doing things online. We can spend the summer gearing up our capacity to offer online presentations.

The decision was made to do online presentations through the Fall, to be reconsidered if, by some miracle, there is a vaccine. 

As the meeting closed Mary Nowack asked about what steps are implied by the conversation. Peter said that he would read the minutes and consider what comes next.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Marybeth Atwell, LMSW



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