Strengths And Goals

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Posted August 24, 2007

Dear member of the American Psychoanalytic Association,

You have an important choice to make in voting for the next President-Elect of this prestigious Association. I am honored to be nominated and promise that I will give all I can to leading the organization if you choose to elect me. We are in a time of great challenge and great promise.

I hope that this election list will herald a significant forward step in engaging a much larger proportion of our members to participate seriously in the election of their leaders. In this initial election list statement I shall try to be succinct in outlining what I would bring to the task and what I would hope to accomplish with the main issues that confront us. I urge you to browse this web site to get much more information about my background and my positions. I also hope you will feel free to contact me with questions and suggestions at or on the phone at home any evening or weekend at 216-371-4373 or (cell phone) 216-536-4399.

My strengths are:

  • Respect and friendship with leaders in the whole spectrum of viewpoints in APsaA, while not being bound to any extreme position
  • Deep experience in the leadership of professional organizations (APsaA, American Psychiatric Association, Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center)
  • Openness to developmental change while keeping perspective of fundamental values
  • Proven ability to bring about change in a nondivisive manner: to bring people together to identify central issues, find common ground, and resolve discord and conflict in a democratic way
  • Strong background in advocacy for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy and in health care economic issues
  • Dedication and hard work

My goals as your President-elect and President:

  • To overcome our own isolation and preoccupation with organizational disputes
  • To intensify efforts through public information and advocacy to deal with an environment where psychoanalysis is poorly understood or supported but the need for our perspective and skills is immense
  • To strengthen programs of applied psychoanalysis to deal with broader societal issues
  • To build or rebuild relations with the organizations of our core professions
  • To resolve internal conflicts about training and certification that concern us and divert our energies, and may impede recruitment of new psychoanalytic candidates
  • To view such resolution of conflicts as working towards continued evolutionary development rather than as “reform,” a term that could be taken as unjustly implying abuse and malfeasance.
  • To foster scientific advancement into a new era for psychoanalysis, through research on what is unique to the psychoanalytic experience, the relation of this to new neuropsychological and neurobiological findings, and the evidence base for psychoanalysis as a therapy
  • To support and study psychodynamic psychotherapy and its clinical practice, on a continuum with full-scale psychoanalysis
  • To broaden engagement with other like-minded psychoanalytic organizations to strengthen our shared field and possibly share certain functions
  • To complete the task of opening our membership to psychoanalysts with comparable training in institutes other than APsaA, while maintaining the sense that APsaA stands for values fundamental to psychoanalysis
  • To stabilize and strengthen the function of the Executive Council as a board of directors with year-round engagement and responsibility
  • To view the Board on Professional Standards with the respect and appreciation it deserves as a representative body of our hard-working institutes
  • To remove certification and perhaps references to training and supervising analysts from the bylaws in order to allow greater flexibility in making evolutionary changes or, after careful consideration, sharing certain functions with other like-minded psychoanalytic organizations
  • To bring our bylaws fully up to date by clearing out inconsistencies and anachronisms, and clarifying obscure provisions
  • To ensure that committees and task forces are representative of the spectrum of points of view as well as the diversity of professional and personal backgrounds, and to be systematic about term limits of committee appointments
  • To bring advanced candidates into broader participation on committees and leadership positions when appropriate

I shall give more details about these objectives in future postings. I hope that you will find this an appealing agenda backed by strong organizational experience and consider giving me your support, through both the voting process and the work that we would do together if I am elected

Norman A. Clemens, M.D.
Candidate for President-Elect

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