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Slouching Towards Kabul: Psychoanalysis and War

October 16 @ 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT



Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP 

Slouching Towards Kabul: Psychoanalysis and War

Zoom Gathering—9:00 am
Presentation—9:30 am—12:00 pm



The relationship between individual and collective trauma is increasingly important to psychoanalysts. The interest, however, cannot be properly said to be new. Since the days of World War I the field has tried to conceptualize the relationship and has linked it to social justice. The first part of this multi-media presentation will discuss Dr. Orfanos’s work with two Afghan young women in Kabul as they experience the terror of the Taliban. In summer 2021, the American University of Afghanistan (in Kabul) asked the NYU Postdoctoral Program’s Immigration and Human Rights Work Group to provide desperately needed mental health care for their students. A comprehensive mental health needs assessment was planned but never took place because chaos and violence quickly overran events. The experience of being a psychoanalyst working remotely but nevertheless  intensively with the war in Afghanistan will be explored.

As the events unfolded in Kabul, in Athens under the gaze of the Parthenon the eminent composer and political activist Mikis Theodorakis passed away at the age of 96. Theodorakis, who was arrested, exiled, imprisoned, and tortured many times during the most turbulent years of Greece’s 20th century, was a  fiercely independent man who clung to his belief that art is not a decoration but necessary for liberation. For Dr. Orfanos, Theodorakis was a long-time mentor and muse for matters of social justice, human rights, and art. Zorbàs’ theme from the 1964 film is what the  composer Mikis Theodorakis will always be known for, but in his day, he was a figure on the international stage. Numerous times he was nominated for the  Nobel Peace Prize. His most powerful music evokes a spirit of heroic rebellion that resonated with liberation movements from Greece to Latin America. And, far beyond scores for the films Zorbàs the Greek, Z, and Serpico, he wrote somber symphonies, ballets, operas, and popular songs that are seared in the hearts and minds of people His song cycle            Mauthausen has been described as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written about the     Holocaust horrors. Dr. Orfanos’ worldview will be examined in relation to Theodorakis’ influence. It may, in part, answer Yeats’ question, ”And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”


About the Presenter

Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP, is Director of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is the Senior Research Fellow at the Center of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, CUNY and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.  He is Past President of the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP), the Academy of Psychoanalysis of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and the Society of Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalytic Psychology (Div 39) of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Orfanos is author of numerous articles and chapters, editor of two books on immigration, and co-editor in 2016 of the special supplement of Psychoanalytic Psychology on “Psychoanalysis and the Humanities.” He is in independent practice of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, supervision, and creativity study groups. He produces art song cycles in various languages.



Orfanos, S. D. & Orfanou, M. G. (2020). Where the  blue really begins: On islands imagined or otherwise. In R. Pine & V. Konidi (Eds). Islands of the mind: Psychology literature, and biodiversity (pp. 17-31). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Orfanos, S. D. (2019). Drops of light into the darkness: Immigration and human rights. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29, 3, 269-283.

Orfanos, S. D. (2018). Untranslatables. In L. Hillman & T. Rosenblatt (Eds.). The voice of the analyst: Narratives on developing a psychoanalytic identity (pp. 167-184), NY: Routledge.

Orfanos, S. D. (2014). Music and the great wound. In S. Richman. Mended by the Muse: Creative Transformations of Trauma. NY: Routledge.

Orfanos, S. D. (2014). An epiphany on the Acropolis. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 50, 4, 659-680.


Learning Objectives
After attending this intermediate-level program, participants will be able:


  1. To identify the differences between a community/public heath model and an individual/clinical model of intervention.


  1. To describe domestic and international community engagement and clinical service within a psychoanalytic framework.


  1. To describe how female liberation in a fundamentalist, paternalistic world can be quickly be affected by situations of terror and war.


  1. To identify how the self can be influenced by non-linear modes of interactions with muses, mentors, and the analytic field.



Sponsorship and
Continuing Education                                                                               


2.5 CE credits are available to psychologists and psychoanalysts, and 2.5 CE credits will be provided for social workers and LMHCs.
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during the discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns or any complaints to Judith Rosenberger, Ph.D., LCSW (917) 459-3432.

WMAAPP is the local chapter of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association.

Registration for this event has closed


October 16
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT
Event Category: