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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 12/20

Presented by Deborah Dowd

Elizabeth Corpt

It is my great pleasure to present Elizabeth Corpt with the Paul Graves Myerson Award, for outstanding contributions to the growth of our institute, and to psychoanalysis generally.

When I set out to write this dedication to Elizabeth, I re-read the original description of the intent of the Paul Myerson Award, and I was struck by how incredibly apt it is for Elizabeth to be its recipient. Paul Myerson was a proud, confident, dignified, plainspoken, accepting and open person, who was also willing to challenge the system. A traditionally trained analyst of some stature at BPSI, Paul wasn’t daunted by what the early Boston psychoanalytic establishment thought of him when he committed himself to helping pave the way for MIP’s coming into being and growing into who we are—as now Elizabeth has done so devotedly.

Elizabeth, like Paul, is a gentle person who does not trumpet her accomplishments. She has clout but does not angle for political gain. She has integrity. She is honest, and straightforward. 

Elizabeth has shown courage in leadership, wisdom in the classroom, open-mindedness in conflict. She has tirelessly pitched in at MIP, in more ways than I can count. But let me give it a try. She has served on the committees for Social Responsibility, Programs, Curriculum, and Ethics; served as cochair of the Curriculum Review Committee and the Supervision Task-Force; served as member of the task force that gave birth to the Post-Graduate Fellowship Program;  revitalized the admissions open house; served as a member of the Strategic Planning Team and the Executive Director Search Committee; served as co-chair of Admissions, as Past President; and served as a current member of the Racial Equality and Anti-Racism Task Force. On every front and at every important juncture for MIP, Elizabeth shows up with conscientiousness, dedication, and investment in the integrity and growth of MIP.

The phrase “Still waters run deep” comes to mind when I think about how, what, and when Elizabeth communicates. In a field and an institute in which people often have a lot to say, Elizabeth has a way of speaking that is measured and nuanced. She does not shy away from saying what she thinks and how she feels. Her words—and at times, her silence—reflect how she listens to and synthesizes a range of perspectives, and then builds upon them as she adds her own thoughts and feelings to an ongoing dialogue, opening potential space for reflection and growth.

Lynne Layton, who co-taught with Elizabeth the Psychoanalysis and Culture course, that Elizabeth is “a caring, wise, and excellent teacher,” who

“brought to bear on her teaching the fruit of her years-long participation in the philosophy and psychoanalysis study group [with Donna Orange] as well as her own life experience in relation to class identity and unconscious process. I have shared her article ‘Peasant in the Analyst’s Chair’ widely…. It’s a powerful article and one of the very few psychoanalytic articles on class. It is also no surprise that much of Elizabeth’s written work centers on psychoanalysis and ethics. Elizabeth is truly a mensch…. A treasure.”

I spoke with several of Elizabeth’s other friends, and it is remarkable how similar their words are to ours in describing her: ”Steady, deep, warm, sharp” with “values as strong as iron and a heart as beautiful as gold.”

And while giving so much to MIP, Elizabeth has been enormously active in the wider psychoanalytic community, especially the International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. She is also currently co-editor of Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context.

When you meet Elizabeth for the first time, you find a quieter presence, one that may seem to belie her many accomplishments and contributions to the field of psychoanalysis. She is someone who, in a crowd, can “fly under the radar”—as she seems to have little need for accolades. She is one of the most trustworthy, dedicated, and thoughtful people around. She has helped to shape MIP and continues to do so every day.

With great appreciation and gratitude for you, Elizabeth, I am delighted to present you with this year’s Myerson Award. 

Myerson Award Recipients

2020 Elizabeth Corpt
2019 Anna Orstein
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
2007-08  Jaine Darwin and Kenneth Reich
2006-07 Andrew Morrison
2005-06 Stuart A. Pizer
2004-05  Gerald Stechler
2003-04 Susan Rowley
2002-03 Malcolm Owen Slavin
2001-02 Mary Loughlin