Thursday, January 12, 2023

8:00PM – 9:30PM

“Towards a queer psychology of the self: Empathy, discomfort, and a journey to the margins”
Sam Guzzardi, LCSW – presenter
Willa N. France, JD – discussant

Empathy, psychoanalysis, self psychology…what’s QUEER got to do with it? Embracing a definition of queer that goes beyond LGBTQ+ identity, this presentation asks us to consider how our thinking and clinical work could be expanded through an engagement with “the queer”: the decentering, the dececentered, and the marginal. While honoring sexuality and gender as the beating heart of queer, we will explore queerness in its broadest sense, as an ethos and orientation to the world and to the psychoanalytic project. In particular, we will take up the question of empathy, and consider what might happen if we “queer” our conceptualization as one possible step towards a queer psychology of the self. Poetry, music, and art, alongside clinical case vignettes, will add dimensionality to our conversation.


71 W 23rd St., Ste. 1400, New York, NY 10010


online option


(Meeting link will be e-mailed to registered participants on the day of the event)

Sam Guzzardi, LCSW is a member and graduate of the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (IPSS), and a faculty member at the National Institute of the Psychotherapies (NIP). He has a diverse practice where he is curious about questions of queerness, identity, development, and trauma.  Sam is bilingual, working in Spanish and English, and has recently published papers in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Psychoanalytic Dialogues. His 2022 publication “The Only Fag Around: Twinship in Gay Childhood,” which details Sam’s utiliziation of Kohutian principles in the treatment of a gay man, was the winner of the Ralph E Roughton Paper Award for making “an original and outstanding contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding and/or treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans*, or gender-variant people.”  Sam’s scholarship often revolves around his interest in placing self psychological theory in dialogue with ideas from other traditions, including different branches of psychoanalysis and other disciplines such as queer theory, post-colonial studies, performance studies and literature.

Transwoman Willa N. France, JD (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year candidate at the William Allison White Institute. She began her physical transition in 2004 at the age of 55, after several decades of professional work in naval architecture, marine engineering, and law. A long-time student of the works of Jean Laplanche, Willa has presented at several psychoanalytic meetings, including multiple congresses of the American Psychoanalytic Association, on issues related to gender and family. Her self-published novel in verse, Incunabulum, was released in 2007, and she continues to work on Desiderium, her transition story, which is, not surprisingly, a work in process. Born in Wisconsin and raised on the Oregon coast, Willa grew up in a family of mink ranchers; she now lives with her wife of forty-nine years in East Harlem, NY, where they enjoy time with their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.

1.5 Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers & LMHC’s