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The Sigourney Award-2022 Honors Five Recipients For Outstanding Work Advancing Psychoanalytic Principles Globally

PRNewswire November 17, 2022

Distinguished Panel Of Judges Select Psychoanalytic Work From Italy, UK, And USA

SEATTLE, Nov. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Sigourney Award annually rewards achievements that advance psychoanalytic thought with international recognition and a substantial cash prize for recipients. This year, a panel of distinguished judges evaluated work from an exceptional pool of global applicants. Today, work meriting The Sigourney Award-2022 is announced by Robin A. Deutsch, PhD, Analyst Co-Trustee of The Sigourney Award Trust.

Mary Sigourney founded The Sigourney Trust in 1989 to recognize and promote exceptional work that advances psychoanalytic principles and their ability to better humankind.

“We are pleased to announce this year’s award-worthy work that fully embodies Mary Sigourney’s vision and are honored to introduce them today,” says Dr. Deutsch. “Our notable panel of judges steadfastly observed Ms. Sigourney’s directions in evaluating this year’s exemplary work and outstanding ideas,” she adds.

Five recipients of The Sigourney Award-2022 have been announced by Robin A. Deutsch, PhD, Analyst Co-Trustee of The Sigourney Award Trust . The independent prize annually rewards achievements that advance psychoanalytic thought and psychoanalytical principles worldwide. Distinguished judges evaluated work from an exceptional pool of global applicants and the following recipients earned the prestigious award: Dr. Giuseppe Civitarese (Pavia, Italy), Dr. Jack Drescher (New York, USA), Dr. Dorothy Holmes (South Carolina, USA), Professor Alessandra Lemma (London, UK), and Dr. Edward Tronick (Massachusetts, USA).

The Sigourney Award-2022 Winning Work (Alpha order)

Giuseppe Civitarese, PhD (Pavia, Italy)
Dr. Civitarese’s innovative efforts have primarily focused on such themes as elaboration of Bion’s thought, the development of post-Bionian models and analytic field theory. His work extended Bion’s reformulation of the concept of “hallucinosis” in a way that deciphers and transforms this difficult Bionian concept into comprehensible psychoanalytic technique. Civitarese extends these ideas to show how human subjectivity is also intersubjective, essentially positing that mental life is rooted in co-being with others. His work has empowered the analyst to be receptive to the unconscious no longer only in terms of the I/you split but of the intersubjective we. Part of Civitarese’s contribution is his ability to describe this shift conceptually and to evoke the experience of analytic transformation for readers in how he writes. His work emphasizes how the analytic encounter, previously focused on individual subjectivity, is enlivened and increasingly effective if it is viewed as a group process. During the past decade, Civitarese published eight books (distributed internationally) and lectured extensively to help analysts. Civitarese’s scientific, institutional, and cultural endeavors have contributed to the ongoing renovation of psychoanalysis to keep it alive and able to meet the real challenges of our times, as one of the finest instruments available to treat mental suffering and understand the mind.

Jack Drescher, MD (New York, NY)
Dr. Drescher’s pioneering work in the areas of gender and sexuality has brought innovation to psychoanalytic treatment and theory–specifically, major, critical re-thinking based on solid scientific evidence and what is actually known rather than outdated assumptions about gender and sexuality. His work has also demonstrated how cultural biases about human sexuality and gender are embedded in analytic theories. During the past decade Drescher has focused psychoanalytic theory and attention on harms done by efforts to change a person’s homosexual orientation and by de-pathologizing sexual orientation and gender identity. A Training and Supervising Analyst, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Senior Psychoanalytic Consultant for Sexuality and Gender at Columbia University, and an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Drescher’s scholarly work and media communications to the general public have had an international impact on changing both psychoanalytic attitudes and public policies towards gender and sexuality. His work has managed to shift psychoanalytic thinking about LGBTQ+ people and brought psychoanalytic sensibilities into conversations outside of psychoanalysis fostering a sea change in psychoanalytic organizations’ perspectives on psychoanalysis. His work has also contributed to actions in 20 U.S. states and nearly 30 countries to ban conversion therapies for ‘gay’ clientele, and notably, his publications were cited by India’s Supreme Court in its decision to abolish laws making homosexuality illegal.

Dorothy E. Holmes, PhD (Bluffton, SC)
Dr. Holmes’ groundbreaking work examined race within psychoanalysis, observing that race is an essential lens for psychoanalytic understanding because racism has endemic intrapsychic and cultural effects, including traumatic ones. These effects are accessible in treatment wherein psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic institutions resist knowing and theorizing these effects and their resistances. Her work catalyzed open discussion of discriminatory practices in society and in psychoanalysis, and their harm about which psychoanalysis has traditionally been silent, both clinically and institutionally. Rather than seeing race as an obstacle to deeper work, Holmes posited that when race is acknowledged and addressed, it may lead to more just practices in therapy and beyond. Her efforts demonstrated that personal and organizational wellness cannot be achieved unless all aspects of one’s identity are claimed, resolved, and embraced, including though not limited to racial identity. Applying clinical and organizational uses of psychoanalytic thinking holistically, Holmes’ methodology has helped address systemic racism within psychoanalytic organizations and promoted racial equity. She even ventured into psychoanalytic institutional protests designed to maintain racism as a “sleeping dog” employing liberatory psychoanalytic principles and tools to understand racism clinically and institutionally. Her recent psychoanalytic equity work theorizes the intrapsychic and institutional elements of resistance to recognizing the central role of race in society, in general and in psychoanalysis (e.g., use of primal defenses against recognition of racial hatred, clinging to white privilege).

Alessandra Lemma (London, UK)
Professor Lemma’s inventive theoretical and clinical contributions address contemporary issues such as  body modifications, transgender identities, and the impact of new digital technologies on the mind and body, especially applied in youth mental health. Lemma has disseminated her analytic knowledge world-wide, thus promoting psychoanalysis outside the confines of institutes and providing fresh psychoanalytic approaches to treatment in the UK and Europe. Addressing a deep understanding of how modern identity finds its way through our physical self, her work explains widespread social phenomena in young people (e.g., tattooing and cosmetic surgery). By translating clinical insights into everyday discourse, Lemma brings the ‘person in the street’ along and introduces them to the unconscious fantasies of modern teens. In addition, her approach to depression, Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), builds on her work to define the essence of a psychoanalytic approach to brief psychotherapy, providing a template for the only psychodynamic approach recognized by the UK National Health Service. DIT is remarkable for being the sole publicly funded brief psychodynamic approach delivered within the British socialized health system and is now available free to patients. Lemma tackles tough issues in mental health, particularly youth mental health, that genuinely concern opinion leaders, young people, and the broader public.

Edward Tronick, PhD (Boston, MA)
Dr. Tronick’s seminal work focused on the concept of repair of relational disruptions as a major change process in psychological development and the healing of psychological illness, elaborating on his original model of mutual regulation. A Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, UMass Chan Medical School, and Chief Faculty Early Relational Health Fellowship, Tronick published more than 80 papers representing cutting-edge contributions to understanding biological and scientific advances in physiology, genetics, and epigenetics from 2011-2021. Building up on his Still-Face Paradigm work, he developed a new experimental paradigm for evaluating the effects on the infant by mildly stressing the mother. Tronick’s contributions offer psychoanalysts a scientific basis for the link between relational experience in the dyad and psychological health or illness in the individual. His work has generated the concept of the ‘something more’ in analysis as meanings made, not conveyed, by language or narrative. His work has reimagined both the infant and the analysand as more pro-active and co-creative than the passive model of both had suggested. The transference involves continuously operating implicit neurosomatic forms of meaning: the something more.The paradigm shifts our view of development and analysis to a discordant process of active agents engaged in finding shared meanings. His recent book The Power Of Discord: Why The Ups And Downs Of Relationships Are The Secret To Building Intimacy, Resilience, And Trust (Little Brown. 2020) raises the profile of psychoanalysis as well as broadens the application of psychoanalysis.

“We resolutely seek to reward and encourage work that moves psychoanalysis forward and influences important advancements to better the human condition worldwide. Whether the work is done by a group, organization or individual, we hope to inspire others to apply their originality and purpose towards expanding the reach and positive results of psychoanalytic principles and are eager to recognize their work in the future,” says Barbara Sherland, J.D., Attorney Co-Trustee of The Sigourney Award Trust.

Find details of all winning work on The Sigourney Award website and watch for personal introductions to each winner’s work via individual videos presented on The Sigourney Award website in early 2023. Applications for The Sigourney Award-2023 will be accepted beginning March 2023 for qualifying work completed between 2012 and 2022. Visit www.sigourneyaward.org for information.

About The Sigourney Award
The Sigourney Award Trust, an independent nonprofit organization established by Mary Sigourney in 1989, annually bestows The Sigourney Award as international recognition and reward for outstanding work that has advanced psychoanalytic principles. Ms. Sigourney was a psychotherapist, publisher, and community activist who had a passionate interest in psychoanalysis and understood its ability to benefit and extend human conversation across various disciplines. To date, 141 Award recipients from 22 countries represent her global vision. Work honored by The Sigourney Award has significantly contributed to human affairs on topics ranging from clinical psychoanalysis, neuroscience, feminism, and political oppression. Since 1990, The Sigourney Award has rewarded and promoted outstanding work. Judges of The Sigourney Award remain anonymous to ensure an unbiased and thorough evaluation practice.

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