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The Paul Graves Myerson Award

The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis grants the Paul Graves Myerson Award to a member of the MIP community for outstanding contributions to the growth of our Institute or psychoanalysis in general.  Dr. Myerson’s forthright and unstinting commitment to MIP in its founding days was consistent with the nature of his intellectual contributions to the field of psychoanalysis.  His courage, vision, openness to ideas and plainspoken voice transcended limitations and constraints on the freedom of institutional and intellectual growth.  In this spirit, MIP continues to honor noteworthy contributions to our community and our field with the Paul Graves Myerson Award.

The Paul Graves Myerson Award was established in 2001. Nominees are put forward by the chairs of MIP committees and voted on by this same group.  

Paul Myerson Award 6/4/22

Presented by Joyce Klein

It is my honor today to present this award to Dr. Richard Geist.

So Dick, where should I begin. Perhaps just there at the beginning. You have been with us, at MIP, since the beginning, as a founding board member, faculty member and supervising analyst. If I got this right you were on our original faculty with revered teachers like Gerry Stechler, George Fishman, Jay Silberger and Andy Morrison.

You have taught at MIP every year for 35 years- in our 4 year candidate program, our post graduate fellowship program and in our Continuing Education, Dimensions program.

And, with many years of Board representation, you are now serving a second term on the board as our treasurer. Thank you for your dedication and the years of teaching and leadership.

What I really want to speak to today, is the unique contribution you have made to MIP and the world of psychoanalysis by your dedication and love of Self Psychology.

In the 70’s and 80’s Self Psychology itself was revolutionary to psychoanalysis. Though Kohut, began his work within the one person psychoanalytic frame, he flipped our thinking around from the analytic stance of interpreting the internal processes of the mind to an understanding of the self, characterized by the patient’s experience of their external world. A new view of narcissism occurred and a view of human development as experienced by the child interaction with the parental figures evolved. Empathy as a tool to deeper understanding, self object transferences and empathic failures- influenced and changed the way some of us thought about our work, taught and supervised.

Your dedication and  commitment to the study of the Kohutian model of treatment enhanced our comparative model of thinking. MIP’s openness, non-authoritative stance gave self psychology a home in Boston in the 1980s and together we have held that space for self psychology which has been critical to deepening our contemporary dialogue.

Within the self psychology framework you developed your own theory of “connectedness” -furthering the development of the self object transference, breaking through defensive structures to gain understanding from the patients deepest early experiences and striving to maintaining that atunement in each individual treatment.

Your teaching, your writing goes beyond MIP to your study group in Boston, to your leadership at the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self psychology and to your giving of presentations throughout the country and the world.

You bring your self psychological lens, this focus, to us on the MIP board – always trying to remind us what is essential to MIP candidates and a MIP education- an openness that breaks through our defenses and asks why, what, and for whom. A striving for authentic “connectedness”.

It’s the same questioning being asked of psychoanalysis today- – How can psychoanalysis break through it’s authoritative structures-break down the barriers to reach and create an authentic connection to people who have felt alienated by rigid psychoanalytic structures and defensive structures.

So Dick, this brings us back to today. I believe it it your quiet, stedfast commitment to the study and teaching of self psychology and psychoanalysis and the unique vision you bring to us -that earns you this Paul Graves Myerson award today.

Myerson Award Recipients

2021 Deborah Dowd
2020 Elizabeth Corpt
2019 Anna Ornstein
2018 Lynne Layton
2017 Ginger Chappell
2016 Ellen Wilson
2015 Bobbie Knable
2014 Laurence Chud
2013 David Doolittle
2012 Jonathan Slavin

2011 Barbara Pizer
2010 David Power
2009 Linda Luz-Alterman
2008  Jaine Darwin and Kenneth Reich
2007 Andrew Morrison
2006 Stuart A. Pizer
2005 Gerald Stechler
2004 Susan Rowley
2003 Malcolm Owen Slavin
2002 Mary Loughlin