Roger Segalla Shares his Insights and Knowledge of ICP+P's History
Roger Segalla, Jr., Director Emeritus, shares his thoughts at the Bruce Wine Memorial Conference on September 23, 2017
In 1994 Joseph Lichtenberg and Rosemary Segalla each brought a group of friends and colleagues together around a shared interest in the work of Heinz Kohut and his new perspective on psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Despite their excitement and belief in Kohut’s theories and Self Psychology they did not name this new institute “The Self Psychology Institute” or the “Heinz Kohut Psychoanalytic Institute.” ICP was founded, in part, in reaction to the culture of traditional institutes.
The founding members of what began as the “Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy” committed themselves to creating an institute which dared to stray outside the strict parameters of traditional analysis and embrace innovation, creativity and an attitude of exploration. They wanted to create a home for non-traditional thinking that could react to changes in our society and world culture that had moved beyond the 19th century roots of psychoanalysis. These founding members wanted to create an institute that rejected hierarchy and opened its doors to all mental health professionals regardless of their academic degree. Any thought of restrictions on academic training, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity were dismissed – not just because they were morally wrong – but because these founding members knew that this diversity in people and their backgrounds would bring the kind of enrichment and vitality to the community that was simply not possible from within hallowed halls of traditional institutes. Our founding members wanted to create an institute based on friendship, community and mutual support – qualities that were often in short supply within traditional institutes.
True to its name and these founding principles ICP has never stopped evolving, never stopped innovating, exploring – and has never stopped embracing change. We started as an institute primarily focused on learning about Self Psychology but over the years we have opened ourselves and our training programs to innovations in theory and technique coming from the relational and interpersonal movements; from the compelling and powerful data coming from attachment researchers; we have integrated in important advancements in theory and technique coming out of neuroscience research and neuropsychoanalysis. More recently we have embraced the exploration of the mind-body connection and how this holistic perspective can dramatically expand the therapeutic tools available to the contemporary clinician.
These 23 years of growth have expanded our membership from the original 31 founding members to now over 250 members, from one training program in psychotherapy, to three training programs, becoming the Institute of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. We’ve grown from 2-3 study groups to now over 22 different study groups. From a core group of 5 or 6 people managing the institute to a group of over 45 people working to manage and maintain the operation our institute. And, we have moved from an initial operating budget of $31,000 dollars to an annual operating budget just under $150,000 dollars. Despite this growth, and the fact that we can no longer truthfully call ourselves a “new” institute – we have not lost our willingness to explore, to embrace innovation, to change and adapt. We are still pursuing the cutting edge and still looking for ways to improve the care we provide to the people who come to us for help. We still embrace and encourage diversity in all its manifestations. The spirit of our founding members is still alive and its vibrancy is evident in everything we do, including today’s event.
The Bruce Wine Memorial fund was initially created to honor the contributions of our dear friend, mentor and teacher Bruce Wine. He inspired many people with his kind, thoughtful and deeply empathic approach to treatment and teaching. Because he was way too humble to claim such a thing, he would quickly dismiss any suggestion that he had “disciples.” But, those of us who knew him, those of us who learned from him and were supervised by him, count ourselves as lucky to be drawn into his orbit and we still mourn his premature departure.
Today we also celebrate and mourn the departure of another critical founding member and Bruce’s dear friend, and partner in crime, Damon Silvers. Like Bruce, Damon was an unparalleled teacher, mentor, and supervisor with an enormous and playful heart who was rarely seen without a smile on his face or a joyous burst of infectious laughter. Losing Damon was as difficult as losing Bruce – the spirit they brought to ICP+P powerfully shaped the tone and tenor of our young institute. Their inviting and embracing warmth and empathy helped create the sense of community, openness and joyfulness that is rarely – if ever seen in traditional institutes. This attitude to learning and exploring with friends and fellow clinicians still exists with the community of ICP+P. We here, in this room and the membership of ICP+P, are inheritors of that spirit and it is our job to act and interact with one another in ways that maintain those values and attitudes. We need, on occasion, to remind ourselves of our founding mission and the spirit and values of our founding members. This is especially important as we grow in membership numbers and in the breadth of the programming and training we produce. As long as I am associated with this institute, I plan to make it my mission to maintain these attitudes and values and I hope I can count on all of you to join me in this joyous mission!
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