may, 2021

15may10:00 am12:30 pmCircling the Unthinkable: Death Anxiety Today (Part II)


Event Details

The Continuing Education
Committee of NPAP


Circling the Unthinkable:
Death Anxiety Today

Part 2
Saturday, May 15
10am – 12:30pm

Fanny Brewster, PhD
Anthony Bossis, PhD

Laura D’Angelo, M.Div, LP

Live Online via Zoom: Workshop
(Registration is required in order to
receive the zoom link)


Would it not be better to give death a place in actuality and in our thoughts which properly belong to it. And to yield a little more prominence to that unconscious attitude towards death which we have hitherto so carefully suppressed… To endure life remains when all is said and done the first duty of human beings…” ~ Reflections upon War and Death. Sigmund Freud. 1915

These panel presenters will reflect on the question of our work as clinicians in this contemporary moment when multiple crises and impending change flood reality. Can we hold out for psychoanalysis that seeks for love and work to flourish? Or does the puncture of death make a larger demand, an ethical demand that places the therapist in a new position, and if so, what might this be? Freud’s reflection on death emerged in the context of World War I, a war that shattered the continent’s sense of progress and civilization. For Freud, there is no death in the unconscious, where it lacks representation. We can never understand the experience of our own death, and when dread of death permeates our experience, Freud argues this is linked to an overwhelming feeling of unconscious guilt. How can we understand Freud’s ideas about death anxiety in a contemporary clinic flooded with the reality of death? 2020 was the year when our communal consciousness was pierced by the specter of death impinging upon so many fronts. Anxiety pervades our clinic, while social and personal catastrophes multiply. Disruptions continue to confront us, including the limits of language. What creative responses can therapists find to these multiple crises? How can therapists address their own denial, amidst anxiety to be effective clinicians? Part of the therapist’s work is to facilitate endings, symbolic and real, good and bad, to be assimilated and processed in the psyche. How can therapists face this moment with the violent awareness of the precariousness of life?

May 15
Moderator: Laura D’Angelo, M.Div, LP
Fanny Brewster, PhD: Death: Honoring Our Sacred Rite
Invoking the rite of birth is actually a duality that includes the rite of death. Our cultural and existential anxiety regarding dying can shadow the sacredness of our passage from the physical life. The ego feels fear and the honoring of the rite and rituals of dying can become lost. Our current moment requires a more attentive gaze, self-reflection, and honored remembrance of the conjunction of birth and death. Might this ease our anxiety?

Bio: Fanny Brewster, PhD, is a Jungian analyst and Professor of Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and the author of numerous books on race, psychoanalysis and culture, most recently The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race (Routledge, 2019).

Anthony P. Bossis, PhD: The Utility of Psychedelics for the Treatment of Existential Distress Associated with Advanced Illness or at the End of Life
This lecture presents the findings from FDA-approved psychedelic research to relieve the suffering associated with terminal illness. It discusses aspects of the mystical experience that include unity, sacredness, transcendence, ineffability, and an enhanced awareness of positive emotions including that of love leading to a deeper understanding of the study of meaning and spirituality.

Bio: Anthony Bossis is the director of palliative care research and co-principal investigator on the clinical trial on the use of psilocybin in persons with cancer. He is a co-founder of the Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service. He is at the NYU School of Medicine and maintains a private practice in NYC. He has a long-standing interest in the interface of psychology and spirituality.

Learning Objectives: After attending the presentation, participants will be able to
– Identify the presence of death anxiety as a contributing and complicating factor in treatment.
– Explain different ways in which death anxiety can be moved from latent dread to symbolized content by clients as they face their mortality.

 Part II:
Candidates/Students I $30
Professionals I $65
Contribution I Optional

Register For Part 2!

 CE contact hours will be granted to participants with documented attendance and complete evaluation form. It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements. Upon completion, a Certificate of Attendance will be emailed to all participants.


National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0139.

National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts. #P-0010


(Saturday) 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

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