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series: in-person connections and conversation

In Person Connections and Conversation is a free meeting with the ICP community in LA, cultivating creativity and freedom of thought and feeling. We invite you  to engage with our presenters and community as they share their interests and passions in conversation on current topics in psychoanalysis.

The series is open to all.

A Psychoanalyst Serves on A Jury – David James Fisher, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 28th, 2023 from 2:00pm to 3:30 pm PT.

Most psychoanalysts never serve on a jury.  This essay narrates my experience of being juror number 11 for nine days. This criminal trial involved horrific allegations of rape, sodomy, kidnapping, armed robbery, and brutal beating. The case also involved issues of race and of violence. After attempting unsuccessfully to get dismissed from the jury pool, I did my civic duty, following the rule of law and the facts of the case. Simultaneously, I conducted a thought experiment, that is, using psychoanalytic methods to track the various dimensions of participating in this intense and gruesome court case.  I tried to be empathic to all members of the trial, including the perpetrator, the victim, the witnesses, the attorneys, and the judge. I monitored the affects of the various participants and my own subjective and emotional reactions. I tracked the transference and countertransference. I focused on body language and the verbal cues of all involved. Because I was traumatized by serving on the jury, writing this paper enabled me to work through some of my own difficulties triggered by jury service. I conclude by suggesting possible ways in which future jurors might be able to manage and reflect upon the secondary trauma of witnessing such heinous crimes, including the processing of the guilt and shame of making judgments which will have lifelong consequences for the major participants in this story.

David James Fisher in a black sweater surrounded by books.

David James Fisher, Ph.D.

Jimmy Fisher has been a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at ICP since 1991. He is also a Senior Faculty Member at NCP, where he was trained as a Research Psychoanalyst. His prior background was as a European Cultural and Intellectual Historian. His research interests include the history of psychoanalysis, the convergence of cultural history with psychoanalysis and politics, and the application of critical theory to aspects of high and popular culture. He has written four books: Romain Rolland and the Question of the Intellectual (1988); Cultural Theory and Psychoanalytic Tradition (1991); Bettelheim: Living and Dying (2008); and The Subversive Edge of Psychoanalysis (to be published by Routledge in 2023). He edited a posthumously published memoir by his late wife, Karen Fund entitled, Surrogate: How A Woman NamedSandra Made Me A Mother (2020). He has also written articles on Camus, Sartre, Foucault, Stoller, Spielrein, Grotstein, Winnicott, and Phillips. “A Psychoanalyst Serves on A Jury” was published in The Canadian Review of Psychoanalysis in 2020. He has forty-five years of clinical experience as a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, continuing to see patients in the Fairburn Building in West L.A. He is currently completing a paper on the Leonard Cohen song, “Famous Blue Raincoat” and a psychoanalytic exploration of Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.”

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CE Credit

Connections and Conversation is not eligible for any CE Credits
No one in the planning or presentation of this activity has any relevant financial relationships with a commercial interest to disclose.

Special Accommodations

Please submit any requests for Special Accommodations to the ICP Office prior to registering or at your earliest convenience to ensure that we are able to assist.