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My Upcoming Lecture at the Bill Lane Conference, Jacobi Medical Center

Presentation Date: 12/01/22
Location: Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx

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On Thursday December 1, I will have the honor of giving a lecture at the Bill Lane Conference at Jacobi Medical Center. The presentation will be part of an in-person conference, and I am looking forward to meeting some old friends and making new connections, after such a long time when we have not been able to enjoy this type of professional gathering! My presentation is entitled: “Knowing and Not Knowing Trauma: Understanding and Promoting Adaptive Coping with Difficult Realities”.

The title of my presentation borrows from a seminal paper by my dear late friend and mentor, Dr. Dori Laub, who was a psychiatrist and a professor at Yale University. He was a child survivor of the Holocaust and his life’s work was focused on survivors of genocide. In his paper “Knowing and not knowing massive psychic trauma” (Laub and Auerhahn, 1993), Dr. Laub wrote: “It is the nature of trauma to elude our knowledge because of both defense and deceit… We defend against intense feelings of rage, cynicism, shame, and fear by not knowing them consciously” (p.288). In other words, we dissociate.

The  focus of the conference this year is the connection between climate change and mental health. My presentation will address the new type of anxiety we are seeing in individuals, which the American Psychological Association termed “Ecoanxiety”, and the difference between an anxiety reaction which is part of a medial, psychological disorder, and an anxiety which is an appropriate reaction in the face of a realistic threat, requiring action. The presentation will address some of the psychological barriers that prevent us, as individuals and as a society, from acting more urgently to save our planet.


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