President’s Message

President’s Message: Thoughts on our Community and our Future
By Theresa Gregoire, Psy.D.   (Reprinted from CAPPstone – Fall issue, 2016)

It is a delight to have this opportunity, in this revival issue
of CAPPstone, to introduce myself and take a moment to
share CAPP Council’s and my eagerness for the year to
come. In the past week, the members of CAPP Council
shared an afternoon of synergistic dialogue on ideas for
programming and CAPP’s role within the sonorous
psychoanalytic community of Chicago. A centering
theme, one that synthesizes plans for programming and
our organization, developed over the course of our
dialogue: Local Voices, Global Selves.

In the coming year, we will be hosting discussion and
experiential programming events that will feature
psychologists, social workers, and counselors who are
practicing therapists within our community. Some of
these voices will be new, those beginning their careers or
newly graduated, and some will be voices of those whose
perspectives have been shaped over years of clinical
work. Each program will offer thought provoking
discourse on the topics of conceptualization, patient self-experience,
and creative applications of Relational theory.
We will be sharing more details regarding these programs
on our website ( and through our
listserve emails ( to
our membership. If you are not receiving or having
difficulty accessing either of these means of
communication, we hope you will inform us

Throughout my involvement in CAPP, the organization
has been likened to a professional home for those
practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It feels timely to
consider this comparison and work to create a closer
approximation. For me, home, and relationships that
provide a comparable experience, provide a space for
contemplation, perspective, discourse, and shared
curiosity. We, through our distinctive work, hold multiple
realities. As we grapple with our own understandings and
uncertainties of the current social and political
environment, we connect to and empathically join with
the individual experience of those we see in our
practices. Winnicott is quoted as saying, “the capacity to
still feel wonder is essential to the creative process.” It is
the capacity to wonder that is inherent to our work and is
a capacity that is protected, nourished, and renewed by
the experiences of “home.” Toward this endeavor I, and
the members of Council, will be personally reaching out
to our members to become reacquainted and share ideas
in an effort to strengthen our community.

It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to come to
work closely with the small group of individuals giving
their energies toward advancing CAPP and its mission to
facilitate the study, research, and exchange of ideas
within and across psychoanalytic and psychodynamic
theories and practices through their service on Council.
To play a role in strengthening our community and
creating a space for the perspectives and experiences of
those we see in practice is a fortuitous opportunity.
Being in a position to collaborate and create programs
that personify these experiences, reported by those who
practice under the umbrella of our shared theoretical
tradition, is personally meaningful.  I hope to see you at one of our programs this year.  As always, your continued support and involvement is what makes CAPP a successful organization and a home for all our members.

Theresa, Gregoire, PsyD


Welcome to CAPP, and thanks for being here!

March, 2016

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  for GOSSIP:  TELLING LIES, TELLING TRUTH, TELLING THE DIFFERENCE, a CAPP Conversation with 2 CEs, Saturday, May 14th, 2:00-4:00 PM, at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology (more information below).

For me, the deepest and most rewarding experience of being a CAPP member is participating with colleagues in meetings that focus on the dynamic relational experience of being in, and doing, psychotherapy.  In CAPP peer study groups, it is the dynamic relational experience that matters most.  Theory can be useful to the extent that it sheds light on experience, but not to constrain it, and no one “owns” the truth.  As President, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to co-create and participate in programs that bring therapists together in conversations about various aspects of that dynamic relational experience.  Our CAPP Conversation of March 12, on “Formation of Self as a Clinical Instrument in Clinical Pastoral Education and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Education,” was another instance.  It was also a personal high point for me, because the theme of “self as clinical instrument,” in dynamic relational context, is at the core of my understanding of psychotherapy, and because of the way each co-presenter approached it.  It was also our first CAPP Conversation in the loop, and our first at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis (thanks CIP!), and as such an important benchmark.  One learning take-away:  don’t schedule an event in the loop on Saturday before St. Patrick’s day!
Our next  CAPP Conversation, on “GOSSIP:  Telling Lies, Telling Truth, Telling the Difference,” will take place on Saturday, May 14th, from 2:00-4:00 PM, at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (thanks, CSPP!).  Child and adult psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Christine Kieffer will discuss the dynamics of gossip as an instrument of dominance, exclusion and aggression, on both perpetrators and victims.  Timothy Hallett, Director of Undergraduate Study in Sociology at Indiana University, will discuss social science research showing the positive role of gossip in organizations, where it can help preserve organizational culture, and orient new and existing members about whom to trust and what to expect.  I will discuss the role of gossip in psychotherapy; if we define gossip as talking about people when they’re not there, then most psychotherapeutic conversation involves gossip.  We are still working out the fee structure, but this program will be FREE TO CAPP MEMBERS, with the usual fee for CEs.  Registration information will be coming soon!
We also have openings for new members in the Friday morning Evanston peer study group.  Here’s the description:  CAPP Evanston Friday morning therapist peer study group has openings for new members, including social workers, counselors and psychologists.  The group meets once a month, from 10:00-11:30 AM, in Evanston.  Members present cases within a primarily psychodynamic, relational, and interpersonal framework, emphasizing therapeutic use of self rather than methods or techniques per se, to facilitate ongoing refinement and improvement of our therapeutic perceptions and skills through serious, creative, and collaborative discussion with colleagues.  The group has evolved a safe and supportive environment in which members feel comfortable presenting difficult and challenging cases. CAPP peer study groups are free to CAPP members; non-members may join for a limited time, but must become members to continue.  For information, contact Jay Einhorn, 847-212-3259,
Finally, I’ll be at the D39 annual meeting in Atlanta in April, so if you see me, please come up and say hello!
All the best,


Looking Ahead, Looking Back – Dec., 2015

Making Sense of the APA Debacle

I’ve been trying to get my head around the crisis in APA, to rise above the anger and sense of betrayal, to achieve some distance and perspective; what I call the “helicopter view.”  There’s a lot to process:  the Division 39 listserve is abuzz with dialog and information, the Hoffman Report is over 500 pages, and the Executive Summary alone is 72 pages long.  The report is available on the APA website (
What Seems to have Happened
It looks like a small group of people in APA leadership, some more aware than others of what they were doing, in direct and/or indirect collaboration with the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, modified APA’s ethical code in the post 9-11-01 period, and misused APA’s governance procedures, to confer APA approval for psychologists’ participation in psychological torture (“enhanced interrogation”), without adequate consultation of the membership for a decision of this magnitude.  There followed 14 years of cover-ups by misleading statements, executive secrecy and bullying, thwarting the attempts of colleagues, including outstanding Division 39 members, to bring this to light.  When it became national news, as part of journalist James Risen’s reporting on national security in the post 9-11-01 period (in his book, “Pay Any Price”), APA leadership, by now including officers who had not been involved in hijacking the ethical code and covering it up, commissioned an independent investigation, which produced the Hoffman Report.  And here we are.
How to Understand It
How can we understand what happened?  Some of the players in this fiasco benefitted economically.   Some may have truly believed that psychological torture was appropriate after the nation was attacked.  (it isn’t; aside from the basic humanity issue, the bad information from torture far outweighs the good, and it creates far more enemies than it disposes.  Trained military interrogators warned against it.)  The behavior of APA’s chief ethicist, who worked for the Department of Defense while in charge of ethics for APA, will probably be in future ethics textbooks.  But at the heart of this matter is the behavior of psychological leaders who lent their considerable professional stature and authority to advancing the social status of psychology at the expense of the meaning of psychology.  They wielded their power in the pursuit of power, and used it to dismiss the concerns of more conscientious colleagues with dissimulation, condescension, contempt, and/or threats.  Some of them are issuing apologies now—“I didn’t know, I trusted what I was told, I was trying to do the best for psychology”—but such explanations don’t say much for the depth of psychological knowledge and ethical discernment of some of the profession’s leading figures.  The meaning of psychology has been lost to APAs leadership, not because a small group of misled and/or unscrupulous people hijacked the national association, but because the highest psychological officials not only allowed it to happen but consistently obstructed efforts to open the matter to transparent review by the membership.  This is not about psychology, as a science and profession; it is about power.
Throughout its history, psychology has been seen as a second-class social entity.  Unlike the physical sciences and medicine, which mainly live by their results, psychology has struggled with defining what valid science and practice are, with conflicting definitions entangled in turf wars.  As psychology struggled to establish its credibility, the social status and economic viability that psychologists seek have generally been hard won by some, and elusive for many.  Even the procedure codes through which many of us earn our livings, and the catalog of mental disorders which qualify patients for our services, are still mainly written by and for physicians.  Many of APA’s real achievements have been about establishing psychologists’ eligibility to practice; through state licensure, participation in Medicare (where we are still very much second class citizens) and eligibility for insurance reimbursement; always with the fear that the rug might be pulled out from under us at any time.  (Which may have contributed to the “apparently mandatory dues for lobbying” fiasco, settled by APA, so the improper taking of member dues will be paid for by member dues and there will be no transparency or accountability for that episode.)  Even though APA is “the world’s largest association of psychologists” (Wikipedia), you can’t say that psychology has arrived under those circumstances.
Weaponizing psychology (“enhanced interrogation”), establishing a scientific foundation for practice comparable to that of medicine (“evidence-based practice,” a phrase borrowed from medicine and then perversely weaponized in the therapy turf wars), and acquiring prescriptive privileges for psychologists, have all been excluded from thoughtful and transparent consideration among the APA membership.  Instead, they have become platforms for those seeking to empower psychology into a social entity on par with medicine and the physical sciences.
Where Do We Go From Here
APA has to reconnect itself with the meaning of psychology, and it can’t do that through ethics–although we need to revise our compromised ethics–or slogans.  One of the lessons of this debacle is that there is no ethical code that can’t be usurped and undermined by a suitably motivated and empowered group.
Psychology—in its meaning as the study of human nature by methods appropriate to its subject— has acquired a great deal of knowledge about human nature, and how individuals and groups behave.  In psychoanalytic psychology, Freud, Jung, and Adler, among others, show how power can be sought and misused, for reasons which the conscious mind defends against knowing; to compensate for feelings of vulnerability and inferiority, among other reasons.  In social psychology, Hadley Cantril shows that when a group is threatened with loss of socioeconomic status, it creates conditions for totalitarian and terrorist movements to take root.  Maslow’s model of motivation shows how the same language—for example, an ethical code—can be understood very differently by people at different levels of motivation.  Behavioral psychology shows how reinforcement can shape behavior, without awareness on the part of the person(s) whose behavior is being shaped, and for which they give entirely irrelevant attributions.  Each and all of those psychological lenses bring the dynamics of this APA debacle into focus.  APA can heal itself when psychologists know more about psychology, understand it more deeply, and apply it to ourselves.