Perspectives on Leadership III: An Evolving Psychoanalysis in a Changing World

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Posted November 2, 2007

Bringing with me an extensive background in health care economics, I was appointed chair of APsaA’s Committee on Government Relations and Insurance (CGRI) in 1988. We spearheaded the APA’s entry into lobbying by hiring a professional government relations consultant, initially aiming to improve insurance coverage for psychoanalytic therapy. The ominous rise of managed care brought about a shift to advocacy for privacy and confidentiality. I was appointed to the Joint Committee on Confidentiality and continue to serve on it.

However, we convinced the Association of the need for a better information base, resulting in an ad hoc Task Force on Economic and Scientific Information. The Task Force, which I chaired, provided a liaison between the CGRI and the Committees on Scientific Activities, Psychoanalytic Practice, and Public Information. We instigated a review of efficacy and effectiveness studies of psychoanalysis by four psychoanalytic researchers that eventually was published as a book. We built a case and presented testimony in the hearings involved in the Clintons’ proposed reform of the health care system. We also made a foray into marketing, wrote a marketing manual, and developed an attractive brochure for use in presentations with employers, legislators, and other community leaders. Unfortunately, our local societies were not ready for this kind of initiative so it didn’t go far, but at least “marketing” is no longer a dirty word among psychoanalysts.

I became a training and supervising analyst (TSA) in 1993 and was soon chairing the Appointments Subcommittee of the Education Committee of the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Institute, charged with nominating the officers of the E.C. and developing appointments of new training analysts. I gained first-hand familiarity with the issues involved in analyzing and supervising candidates, as well as the pros and cons of certification as a requirement to become a TSA, the problems with the immersion requirement, and the anguish involved when a candidate who has been in analysis with a non-TA has to be told to change analysts to a TA. Our E.C. has had non-TSAs on it since the early 1990’s, one for every two TSAs, so I am well aware of how much the non-TSAs enrich the work of the E.C.

In 1995 I was elected a Fellow of BOPS and have served there since. My voice is valued as a thoughtful and constructive contributor to discussion. Representing my E.C.’s wishes as well as my own, I strongly advocated for finding an alternate pathway to assure quality in the analysis of candidates who come to training already in psychoanalysis with a non-TSA, so as not to force them through the decidedly unanalytic experience of interrupting an analysis for administrative reasons. In 2006 I was nominated for chair-elect of BOPS and selected Lee Ascherman as secretary-elect; we garnered over 40% of the votes, though the other candidates were highly regarded BOPS leaders.

Meanwhile, back in Cleveland in 2001-2, aided by advice from lay people in our Foundation, the Society and Institute decided to merge into a single corporation, write a strategic plan, and hire an executive director. I played a major role in writing the bylaws and was elected to the new Board of Trustees (composed equally of analyst members and community leaders.) The Board elected me president of the new Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center. I took a strong role in developing the new board into an active, responsible body in which our community trustees contributed valuable thought, effort, and special skills. We resolved disagreements amiably and constructively. We soon faced the crisis of having to find new quarters. Members and trustees energetically pitched in, with efforts admirably coordinated by Richard Lightbody, to build out vastly improved, pleasant new offices, classrooms, and library. A professional librarian, who is also a social work graduate of our Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program, worked with us to make the library into a well organized and catalogued collection. We faced financial problems and started our first-ever broad fund-raising program, which has raised enough to cover our additional expenses and is increasing our reserve funds and endowment. Member involvement and enthusiasm have been very high, though we are stretched by limited numbers. Our strategic plan having been fully realized, we are engaged in another strategic planning process with a 10-year perspective. After five years as president, I stepped down in June under high praise for my leadership style.

My most recent leadership role in APsaA is chair of the Joint Committee on Bylaws, on which I had previously served until it became inactive during the reorganization initiative. Last January the Executive Council charged us to draft the minimum changes in the bylaws that would be necessary to bring the bylaws into compliance with New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, a major issue that had been raised in the controversy over governance. The Bylaws Committee is made up of bright, sharp-eyed people with a wide range of views about the issues in current APsaA political life that they are not reluctant to express. We met in person once and by conference call three times following that charge from the Council, and have exchanged 1034 e-mail messages via a Yahoo group as of this writing. I presided over the process and wrote the appropriate reports, every one of which was carefully scrutinized by the committee before going out. We submitted periodic bulletins to the Council and BOPS lists as requested. All final drafts were reviewed by the Association’s attorney for compliance with NY law. Amendments of three articles will be on the ballot in January, and five more in June. I am proud to say that we have now completed our task. I believe that our work makes very clear the authority of the Executive Council as a board of directors, while fully respecting and preserving the distinctive, essential role of the BOPS in sustaining high-quality psychoanalytic training and practice.

For completeness in covering my background in organizational leadership, I will just name several other boards on which I have served – the Cleveland Academy of Medicine, the Hanna Perkins Center, the Cleveland Mental Health Association – and the Choral Arts Society of Cleveland, which I have chaired for eleven years.

If you have taken the time to read through these three communiqués, I am grateful to you for fulfilling your responsibility as a voting member to make well-informed choices of your leaders. I hope I have given you enough information for you to reach your own conclusions about who best will serve this venerable organization as President-Elect and President during the next four years. I would be very happy to discuss these matters with you by phone at my home, (216) 371-4373, after hours Eastern time, or by e-mail at More information, including position statements on many policy issues, is posted on this web site.

Drew Clemens

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