From the President

As the pandemic continues, the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society will be offering our fall monthly lectures online. Our first effort at virtual lectures in May was felt by all to be a success. Many members and visitors were surprised by the intimacy of the post-lecture discussions. We cannot go silent in these unsettled times. Many health experts are predicting a dark and challenging fall and winter. Covid is more present in our country than during the nationwide shut down. As clinicians, our main task is to keep our minds together, so we are able to help our patients through the ups and downs of day to day, week to week life in a pandemic.

A medical colleague whose specialties led to his overseeing a local hospital’s Covid preparations often turns to literature to help him make sense of human suffering he encounters on a day-to-day basis. One of his first responses as the hospital prepared for a wave of cases was to reread Camus’ The Plague. He found these sentences immensely helpful: “…there’s no question of heroism in all this. It’s a matter of common decency. That’s an idea which may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is – common decency.”  While stockpiling personal protective equipment and creating COVID wards, he held onto the words of Camus. Many an anxious and potentially explosive situation was calmed by keeping in mind the phrase common decency.

As we move into the fall with so many tensions, so many unknowns, so many potentially explosive situations, let us all be guided by a principle of common decency. 

-Dennis Shelby, MSW, PhD

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