Back to All Events

Taking sides: Being objective/being subjective in difficult times

  • Kip 120 West 31st Street, 3rd Fl New York, NY, 10001 United States (map)

Can a therapist ever be truly neutral?

Contemporary relational practice highlights the inevitability, importance, and utility of the therapist’s subjective involvement in the therapeutic relationship, and emphasizes the importance of an anti-authoritarian and mutually engaged therapeutic frame. However, do we sometimes go too far in how we use ourselves in the clinical setting?

9:30am-10:00am Coffee and Registration

10:00am-10:30am Welcome to the Taking Sides Series
Ryan M. Kull, PhD
Kip Director

10:30am-12:30pm Perspectives on Neutrality: Where Are We Now?
Danielle Novack, PhD, will present her paper on the analyst's experience of trust/mistrust within the clinical encounter; Steven Botticelli, PhD, will present his paper on the challenges of navigating therapeutic relationships within today's contemporary culture of "weak ties, slight claims." Arthur Fox, PhD, will present his perspective on Contemporary Freudian thought, which advocates for a measure of restraint on the part of the therapist. With Ryan M. Kull, PhD, as discussant, our panelists will dialogue with one another and with audience Q&A to explore the contemporary quandaries of a therapist's use of self.

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch Break

1:30pm-3:30pm The Center Will Not Hold
Case Presentation by Ryan M. Kull, PhD
A patient who is convinced that everything, from the personal to the political, is disastrously falling apart. A therapist who feels the need to fix him, and encounters the limits of the therapeutic endeavor. Together, they cannot get out of this frustrating loop.
Open to audience Q&A

3:30pm-4:00pm Closing Remarks

Steven Botticelli, PhD is on the faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is a contributing editor for Studies in Gender and Sexuality and the Division/Review, and co-editor (with Adrienne Harris) of First Do No Harm: The Paradoxical Encounters of Psychoanalysis, Warmaking, and Resistance (Routledge, 2010). He writes in the area of politics and sexuality and their intersection.

Arthur Fox, PhD is a graduate of New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis where he is currently a faculty member in the Contemporary Freudian Track. Dr. Fox completed his PhD at CUNY and Bellevue in 2000. He teaches at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis and supervises at City College and Pace. He has presented often at NYU PostDoc on topics related to sexuality, and his recent publications include “Gay-Friendly Psychoanalysis and the Abiding Pleasures of Prejudice” in Studies in Gender and Sexuality (2018:19/4) and Occupation: A Ghost Story, a chapter in Demons in the Consulting Room (2016; Harris, Kalb and Klebanoff, eds.).

Ryan M. Kull, PhD is the Director of Kip, is in private clinical practice in New York City specializing in sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and is a psychoanalytic candidate at New York University’s Postdoctoral Training Program in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Kull has served as an adjunct lecturer at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, where he also received his PhD. He has engaged in numerous research activities examining issues affecting LGBT people throughout the lifespan. Dr. Kull is the author and co-author of multiple juried papers, invited book chapters, and conference panels/symposia on LGBT-related health and mental health topics, including HIV/AIDS, STIs affecting MSM, bullying and harassment of LGBT youth, LGBT issues in education, and LGBT veterans.

Danielle Novack, PhD is an advanced candidate at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is a supervisor at the Safran Center for Psychological Services at the New School. Dr. Novack’s recent publications include “To know another inside and out: Linking psychic and somatic experience in eating disorders,” a chapter in Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders (2018, Wooldridge, ed.), and “The Analyst’s Experience of Trust and Mistrust” in Psychoanalytic Dialogues (2018: 28).

5 CE Hours

$75 Professionals - $63 NASW Members - $45 Students & Candidates - Free for KIP Fellows
We have a limited number of scholarships available for clinicians who have been historically marginalized on the basis of their identities or experiences, and are unable to afford the cost of attendance. Please email us at

Taking Sides: Being objective/being subjective in difficult times
from 45.00
Add To Cart

Learning Objectives:
- Explore theoretical perspectives on neutrality within the clinical encounter
- Enhance understanding of how to address charged sociopolitical issues within clinical practice
- Develop increased self-awareness of personal subjectivity within therapeutic role

NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers (Provider ID #0014), licensed mental health counselors (Provider ID #MHC-0053, and licensed marriage and family therapists. (Provider ID #MFT-0037)

Difficult Conversations in Therapy has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-3196.

About the Taking Sides series:
Taking Sides is an in-depth discussion series examining the very situations where we can find ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, taking sides as clinicians and professionals.

  • Being objective/being subjective: Saturday, October 5th, 2019

  • Race, privilege and social justice: Saturday, January 25th, 2020

  • Politics and partisanship in the consulting room: Saturday, March 7th, 2020