Indian author, activist Arundhati Roy reads from her essay "The Pandemic is a Portal".

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Indian author, activist Arundhati Roy reads from her essay “The Pandemic is a Portal”. Click HERE to view.

Dear R&A Community,

Imagining another world together

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world.”
Arundhati Roy, Financial Times, April 3, 2020

Hello R&A Community,

I would imagine many of us are still mourning for and reflecting about the live of Justice Ginsburg. Her seismic loss has set off another wave of destabilization for me in the tsunami that is 2020. It seems our political health and mental health have never been more intimately intertwined…or perhaps that our interconnectedness has never been more visceral, figural and alive before us.

Here at R&A we are having found our way through the summer months. Some of us marched, some of us activated healing circles, some of us pushed for institutional reforms, some of us wept, some of us challenged family members, some of us rested, some took road trips, and some of us moved on. Mostly, we got up, brushed our teeth and tried to put one foot in front of the other while absorbing the magnitude of changes in our personal, professional and civic lives. As Arundhati Roy says, we tried to find our way through the portal.

Our R&A team is existing now, like I imagine many of you are, in this liminal autumnal space. We have passed through the brute force of fear, mourning and chaos of the spring and early summer and now are treading water (we think…we hope) looking intently at the shore of our world stripped bare and raw for all its horrors and beauty to be plainly seen.

Over the summer, our team changed pretty dramatically. We said goodbye to some wonderful colleagues old and new. There was a lot of portal turbulence that shook some of our dead ideas loose and have sparked some new imaginings of how to be a community with each other. Our R&A team is entering the fall with curiosity and creative energy to begin to look at what is familiar with new eyes, in order to improve our connections with each other and with all of you. We hope to keep you posted about what we are discovering.

Mother and Child - Ndijeka Akunyili Crosby
Mother and Child (2016). Ndijeka Akunyili Crosby: Portals Exhibit. Victoria Miro Gallery

Hanna Verhoeven, Psy.D. joins our team as our new post-doctoral fellow, having completed her child psychology clinical internship at Elmhurst Hospital, which was for a time ground zero for the pandemic in New York City. Her steadiness and resilience through her experiences there are just part of what makes her a phenomenal therapist (see our About section to learn more about Hanna).

To steady us this fall, Dan Wolfson, Psy.D. will continue his group for adults processing major losses in their life through the Shared Grief Group. Dr. Wolfson will also be speaking at the 2020 NYSPA Virtual Convention on October 16-18th as part of two panels consisting of members of the NYSPA Presidential Taskforce on Grief and Loss, presenting on the following topics: “Complicated Loss and Grief Amid Two Pandemics: COVID and Racial Tensions;” “Complicated Loss and Grief, Part 2: Effects of Covid-19 Across the Lifespan.” (For more information, please see the link here).

Bradford Stevens, Ph.D. Gay Men’s Group has been a virtual space for community and connection through the summer and will continue to deepen the relationships in the group as it welcomes new members this fall. (To sign up, see the information in the Groups & Events section).

For professionals, I will be leading a 5-day online training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Level 1 Training this October 14-16, 29-30 co-facilitated by former R&A alum and Family Collaborative Founder, Leah Crane, Psy.D. (To sign up, see the information in the Groups & Events section).

Lastly, one of the sources of beauty for me during the hardest times of this spring and summer has been deepening my collaboration with my dear friend and colleague, Bukky Kolawole, Psy.D. Bukky and I are putting out a call to graduate students and mental health professionals of every type of clinical training and degree to Join the Reckoning and come together to connect and organize to dismantle racism and systems of oppression in our graduate schools and their respective accrediting bodies on October 27th (to learn more, see the website here). We hope wise elders and new voices alike find their way to our first call to action.

There is so much to do.
There is so much to feel.
Let’s hold each other in our hearts.
To heal.
To rest.
To be audacious in what we imagine for what could be next.

With awe and humility,

Courtney Rennicke, Ph.D.

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