Thursday, November 8th, 2018, 8:00pm — 9:30pm
Arthur A. Gray, Ph.D.
Sanford Meisner, Improvisation, and the Art of Psychoanalysis
Lisa Bialkin, JD, LCSW, Discussant
Traditionally, applied psychoanalysis has put the stage on the couch. However, in this paper, I put psychoanalysis on the stage. I propose that creativity in the theater contributes to making the work with patients more effective. I explicate the work of Sanford Meisner, a renowned theater teacher. He developed the art of improvisation, based on an unpredictable, affective engagement in the present moment. Meisner improvisation enlivens the analyst/patient connection; and furthers our understanding of interpretation, transference, imagination, and creativity. A case illustrates an apparent impasse between a patient and analyst. A Meisner improvisation revealed that the current impasse was an opportunity to further the treatment. Meisner improvisation promotes therapeutic action, contributes to our effectiveness as analysts, and adds to the art of psychoanalysis.
National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP)
250 West 57th Street, Suite #501
1.2 Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers & LMHC’s*

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Arthur A. Gray, PhD, an honorary member of IPSS, is faculty, supervisor, and serves on its Coordinating Committee. He is also faculty and supervisor at the Postgraduate Psychoanalytic Society’s Group Therapy Department, and at the Training Institute for Mental Health, and council member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. He consults with self psychology groups in South Africa and in Japan, and conducts supervision online in the US and Australia using his published group supervisory model. He has a special interest in how improvisation informs the therapeutic process. He has published articles on Meisner improvisation in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and presented his perspective in the US and in Italy. In private practice in New York City, Arthur treats adults using individual, couples, and group psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
Lisa Bialkin, L.C.S.W., J.D., is Faculty and Co-Chair at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, and Faculty at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, formerly NYU Psychoanalytic Institute.  She is co-author of  “Shared Trauma:  Group Reflections on the September 11 Disaster” (2003); and co-author of “Mass Violence and Secondary Trauma:  Issues for the Clinician” in Understanding Mass Violence:  A social Work Perspective (2004).