Josie Oppenheim

When Ms. Oppenheim saw that the Master of Arts in Psychoanalysis was being offered by NYGSP she was completing her first semester in a Master’s program in social work. “Social work school was simply not for me,” she says.  “My interest is, pure and simple, psychoanalysis.” A professional writer and editor, Ms Oppenheim was amazed to find she was having trouble with the papers required for her social work classes. “It seemed they were asking me to simply rewrite exactly what the author was saying. I could not do that.  I am not that kind of thinker.  People said it was my resistance, but I actually believe that I simply could not figure out how to do it.”

Switching Master’s programs was an easy decision for Ms. Oppenheim. .“I left Social Work School and never looked back,” she says.  “At NYGSP,  I was encouraged to choose a topic for my thesis that would be meaningful to me.”  Her topic-- the latent content of Freud’s book, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which Freud elucidates his dual drive theory—proved challenging in scope.  “I researched Freud’s life from his birth until his death, utilizing his letters, recorded dreams and several biographies to support my hypotheses about the personal determinants of this important work. What I learned has proved invaluable to me.  It has given me an enduring perspective from which to understand Freud’s work and has become the basis of several papers I am preparing for publication.”

 After receiving her Master’s degree, Ms. Oppenheim became a founding member of The Adoption Circle at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies. She was instrumental in conceptualizing a group presentation on adoption for mental health professionals and the adoption community.  The presentation was extraordinarily successful with members of the audience proclaiming that they had never been to a more meaningful forum on the subject. In the spring of 2008, Ms. Oppenheim and other members of the Adoption Circle will present at NAAP as part of its continuing education series.  “Somehow, almost everything I write ends up utilizing some of what I learned writing my Master’s thesis,” she says. “I guess that’s no surprise if you analyze it.  I wrote it because it interested me.  The faculty’s support of the depth and breadth I was looking for in the end made the paper a true life’s project, not just a requirement.”