Thursday, September 26th, 2019
Barbara Eisold, Ph.D.

Judith Rustin, LCSW – Discussant

On Being A Psychoanalyst Who Also Does Asylum Work: A Consideration of Their Mutual Effects.

Asylum seekers are individuals who have fled extraordinary persecution at home and who, as a result, frequently suffer from symptoms of trauma. A well documented evaluation of these symptoms, presented in court in a formal, written affidavit, is accepted as solid evidence of the “well-founded fear” they experience of returning home. This is the legal basis upon which asylum is granted in the United States. A forensically based evaluation has immediate practical use in saving lives.

Barbara Eisold, Ph.D. (author of Psychodynamic Perspectives On Asylum Seekers and the Asylum Seeking Process), who has been interviewing and evaluating asylum seekers for the past 15 years, will give a presentation that will focus on the political and psychological implication of the Asylum seeker and the person interviewing them. Using case material taken from her book, Barbara will describe how her own vicarious “witnessing” of the asylum seeker’s terrifying experiences impacts the interviewer and the applicants. She will describe the ways in which she herself has profited as a clinician from completing these interviews, and how she has come to privilege both the extraordinary power of personal agency so apparent in asylum seekers. Barbara will also discuss how this work has engendered greater vicarious resilience in her own personal growth.  



The Theater at 244 Rehearsal Studios
244 West 54th Street
10th Floor

Barbara Eisold, Ph.D., has been in private practice in New York City for the past 39 years. In addition, she has been involved in a variety of community related projects. Most recently (for the past 15 years), she has been completing evaluations of people coming to the United States seeking political asylum. She is an Associate Faculty member at Cardozo Law School in the Human Rights Clinic and a faculty member of ICP in New York. Her book, Psychodynamic Perspectives on Asylum Seekers and the Asylum Seeking Process: Encounters with Well Founded Fear, was published this year.  

Judith Rustin, LCSW, is Faculty and Supervisor at The Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity in New York City.  She has authored papers and presented nationally and internationally on the integration of Intersubjectivity Theory and Infant Research. She is a Co- Author with B. Beebe, S. Knoblauch and D. Sorter (2005) of Forms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Research and Adult Treatment. In 2013, W.W. Norton published her book: Infant Research and Neuroscience at Work in Psychotherapy: Expanding the Clinical Repertoire. Her current interest includes finding ways to integrate social justice with psychoanalysis.  She is in Private Practice in New York City.