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Taking sides: Difficult conversations in difficult times

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

Taking Sides, Part I: Being objective/being subjective

Starting with Freud’s deeply influential metaphors of the analyst as a blank screen or a surgeon, impassioned beliefs about how a therapist conceptualizes and uses the self continue to be a source of theoretical and technical debate in psychotherapeutic practice. With the advancement of relational theory and practice, the ideal of the therapist achieving a purely objective stance has been turned on its head. Part 1 of Taking Sides will set the frame for the conference by addressing some central questions about the therapist’s position, as a person, in the therapeutic relationship: can (and should) a therapist actually be objective or “neutral?” Has the pendulum swung too far in the direction of therapist self-disclosure? Our panels will discuss the theoretical, conceptual, and clinical perspectives at the heart of the Taking Sides series.

Featured Speakers:
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.).

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.


5 CE Hours

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.

$95 Professionals -$60 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 (Part I): Difficult conversations in difficult times
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About the Taking Sides conference series:
The possibilities and limits of a therapist’s objectivity have been hotly debated throughout the history of the profession, yet we—emerging and seasoned therapists alike—can still find ourselves struggling over how to manage personally charged issues that arise in our clinical work and professional identities. How do we handle moments that challenge our attempts to be relatively objective, or in which we find ourselves “taking a side” as a subject? How do we manage the therapeutic alliance when we find a patient’s beliefs or behaviors politically, morally, or ethically reprehensible? When does taking a side result in colluding or ruptures with clients, and how do we handle those moments? In our current socio-political climate the stakes can feel even higher, where passionate dialogues around power and consent, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia are becoming a greater part of the collective consciousness and inevitably come up in the consulting room. 

Taking Sides is an in-depth, 5-part conference series examining the very situations where we can find ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, taking a side as clinicians and professionals.

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

  • Consent and desire in the era of #metoo: Saturday, December 7th, 2019

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

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

  • Gender and Sexual Identities: Saturday, May 16, 2020