Now to Build Relationships

Welcome by our president, Michael Connolly, to our 2013 Holiday benefit

With the Holiday season upon us again, I’d like to welcome all of you here tonight as we celebrate and thank every one of you for helping our Harlem Family Institute. Hanukkah is just about over, and Christmas and Kwanza are just weeks away.

It has been a very busy year in which we have nearly finished all the internal busywork needed to complete the Institute’s top-to-bottom reorganization.

We’ve published our first full catalogue of our programs.  We’ve completed and will soon submit our first major application to the State for authorization to accept unlicensed applicants. And we’ve completed an Institute self-study, which has been submitted to the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis as our first application for national accreditation. All these were major undertakings.

Now, as we transition to the next phase – reaching out to build relationships at all levels around us – we’ve been busy creating a new website, which will better tell our story and explain what we offer the community. Once it’s launched we’ll begin lifting our profile so we can reach out more to create alliances, especially with schools and community-based organizations that can host our training sites and with foundations that can offer us financial support.

We hope this will allow us to open our own free-standing facility in the Harlem area where we can work with parents who can’t visit our school-based playrooms during school hours. The facility would work in the evenings and at weekends, which should also allow us to train more aspiring psychoanalysts.

While the Institute is like New York’s many other psychoanalytic-training institutes in offering both post-graduate psychoanalytic training and clinical services, it has two very special roles.

It is focused on offering services in poor neighborhoods – especially in schools – and on training people especially from those communities who want to become psychoanalysts. And with its roots in Harlem, I know of no institute more focused on training minorities. In addition, its main program is the only one I know that starts with child and adolescent work, including work with parents, and ends with adult work.

With so much poverty surrounding us, rebuilding the Institute seems very timely, offering clinical services to families in need and offering trainees a new career in a newly independent licensed profession, something available only in New York State: One no longer needs to be first a physician, psychologist or social worker to become a licensed professional practicing as a psychoanalyst.

But we couldn’t do this without the help of every one of you.

We couldn’t do it without the professional psychoanalysts from many institutes or various orientations who offer their services as instructors, as casework supervisors and as personal analysts to our trainees.

We couldn’t do it without our administrators who plan, arrange and coordinate everything – especially our clinical & training director, psychologist Kim Arrington; our program administrator, Sandra Fell; and licensed psychoanalyst Tom Wagner, who completes our vital training committee. In addition, there’s our designer and website designer, Tom Kenny, our development adviser, Brian Peterson, and our alumni-affairs coordinator, Sheila Johnson.

We couldn’t do it without our 14-member board of trustees, led by our chairwoman – social worker and psychoanalyst Angela Rita-Farias.

We couldn’t do it without our trainees who give their time and money and energy and passion to learn how to do this work through our five-or six-year training program – for which we’re about to seek the highest status  – state registration of our main training program, which will allow us to accept unlicensed applicants.

We couldn’t do it without every one of you and your vital role in supporting the Institute and in coming here tonight to help us pay tribute.

So to you and all who are helping us with our transformation project, we offer our thanks.