Welcome to PCPE

The Philadelphia Center for Psychoanalytic Education

Virtue Ethics, Clinical Wisdom, and Narratives from the "Virtuous" Psychoanalyst

  • 20 Oct 2013
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Swarthmore College, Lang Center for Social Responsibility on Whittier Place


  • By September 30, 2013
  • Degree received 2008 or later
  • After September 30, 2013

Registration is closed
PCPE Ethics Workshop

Virtue Ethics, Clinical Wisdom, and Narratives from the “Virtuous” Psychoanalyst

Invited Presenter:

Cynthia Baum-Baicker, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in practice in Center City, Philadelphia and Doylestown, PA. Founder of the Division 39 Wisdom Project, she sits on the Advisory Board of the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her virtue ethics work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Ethics and the American Psychologist. She has presented virtue ethics workshops for APA’s Divisions 39 and 29; the American Psychiatric Association; and the Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists. She is president-elect of Division 39’s Section on Couples and Family Therapy (Section VIII) and is board chair of the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Healthcare.

Workshop Description:

Continuing education ethics workshops typically focus on the rulebook: the rules and principles of “ethical treatment.”  Rarely is there discussion of the virtues (character traits) from which these rules and principles are derived.  In this workshop, we will examine these virtues with an emphasis on the Aristotelian metavirtue phronesis. Phronesis translates to “practical wisdom,” and it is the ethical linchpin between theory and practice.  Given the uncertain and complex nature of the psychoanalytic journey, and the requisite navigation of explicit and implicit communications, phronesis is an essential ingredient in best practices care and is worthy of our investigation and discussion.   

While philosophers have struggled for millennia to precisely define wisdom, psychologists have begun to bring the concept into the laboratory.  After our discussion of virtue ethics, we will explore the psychological perspectives of wisdom, with an emphasis on the Dynamic Integration Theory of Wisdom, which anchors wisdom in affect regulation and self-differentiation.

The wise practitioner is one who internalizes the telos of good practice, but what are the components of such practice? Who are our wise analysts? How do they practice?

These are the questions that fueled the Wisdom Project, a multi-year qualitative research study. Findings revealed several factors that were thought to underlie phronesis in the psychotherapeutic-psychoanalytic context.  These factors will be extensively detailed, using excerpts from interviews conducted with psychoanalysts during the study.  Narratives from the interviews will highlight the proposed features of clinical wisdom.  Salient wisdoms from each interviewee will be shared.

At the workshop’s close, participants will read excerpts from an interview recently published in Psychoanalytic Psychology in which a “wise” senior analyst is interviewed. Applying the concepts learned, participants will analyze the aspects of clinical wisdom expressed in the interview.

Contemporary research in psychology has confirmed Aristotle’s belief that virtues such as wisdom can be cultivated, deepened, and augmented. The overriding goal for this ethics workshop is that participants will leave wiser about their and others’ clinical work than when they arrived.

Educational Objectives:

1. Understand the virtues required that are unique to the psychotherapy setting.

2. Delineate the virtues embedded in the fundamental assumptions about ethical psychotherapy.

3. Describe the psychological theories of wisdom.

4. List the Components of Clinical Wisdom.

5. Apply the Components of Clinical Wisdom to the Assessment of Clinical Work.

Continuing Education

Three (3) CE hours of Ethical Content are available.

Educational Prerequisites

PCPE welcomes all mental health professionals who hold advanced degrees in their fields, work with psychodynamic approaches in their practices, and have familiarity with the psychoanalytic literature. Individuals from other fields who hold doctoral degrees and who work with psychoanalytic ideas in their scholarly endeavors are also welcome to participate. PCPE does not discriminate according to age, gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or physical challenge.

Continuing Education for Psychologists

The Philadelphia Center for Psychoanalytic Education is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PCPE maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Three (3) CE credits will be awarded to psychologists who attend the Workshop.

Continuing Education for Social Workers

The Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors now designates APA-approved Continuing Education Sponsors like PCPE as pre-approved providers of continuing education courses and programs for social workers and clinical social workers. Three (3) CE credits will be awarded to social workers who attend the Workshop.

Date and Time

Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 1:00-4:00 PM


Swarthmore College,  Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility on Whittier Place, #28 on map
[Handicap Accessible]


Registration Fees and Information
$70 Early Bird [by September 30]
$85 Regular [after September 30]
$50 Early Career [degree received 2008 or later]

Registration may be completed online at the PCPE website, pcpeonline.org or by mail to: PCPE c/o Dr. David Ramirez; 500 College Avenue; Swarthmore, PA 19081.

For further information, please contact Dr. David Ramirez at dramire1@mac.com

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We reserve the right to cancel a program if there is insufficient enrollment, at which time all fees will be refunded. Payment credit toward future program if cancelled in writing prior to October 14, 2013

Special Needs Policy

If you have any special needs related to your participation in our program offerings, please contact Barbara Zimmerman-Slovak, Ph.D., at bzslovak@comcast.net or 610-896-7228.

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