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Professors Dobson, Riker to Head Psychoanalytic Association Committee

Classics Professor Marcia Dobson and Philosophy Professor John Riker have been appointed co-chairs of the American Psychoanalytic Association's Committee on Psychoanalysis and Undergraduate Education. The selection of the two Colorado College professors is evidence of the esteem in which APsaA, the longest-standing psychoanalytic organization in the country, holds the Colorado College psychoanalysis program. Colorado College is believed to be one of only two institutions, along with the University of Pennsylvania, which just started a program this year, to offer a significant minor in psychoanalysis.

As co-chairs, the husband-and-wife team of Dobson and Riker hope to transmit a number of innovations from the CC psychoanalysis program to the rest of the academic world. "We will be responsible for attaining information of how and where psychoanalysis is being taught in universities and colleges," Riker said. "We also will be able to put forward models to various institutions, based on the program at CC, that have proven to be effective, especially the collaboration between a college and a psychoanalytic institute," he said. Additionally, Dobson and Riker will administer the American Psychoanalytic Association's annual contest held for the best undergraduate paper in psychoanalysis.

This is the ninth year that Dobson and Riker will take Colorado College students to the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, where analysts engage them in discussion about cutting-edge ideas and case material of their own and others. These courses are an original and unique intersection of undergraduate education and psychoanalysis and have been cited as path-breaking by the American Psychoanalyst, the quarterly magazine of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

There are currently six CC courses that have psychoanalysis as their core focus and an additional five that have it as a significant part of their content. Over the past five years, at least 10 students have created independently designed majors centered on psychoanalysis, with about three students a year choosing to minor in it and a number going on to receive advanced degrees in clinical fields. "CC's program clearly presents an outstanding exemplar for all academic institutions," Riker said. "And we are still building!" added Dobson.

In addition to a Ph.D. in classical philology, Dobson holds a second Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has studied psychoanalysis for many years. She was president of the Colorado Springs Jung Society, is an associate editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, and publishes articles in classics and psychoanalysis. Riker has published three books and given a number of papers interrelating ethics and psychoanalysis. Both present regularly at psychoanalysis and interdisciplinary conferences.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020