The Mini-Lecture for May was “Heroes in the Nursery,” presented by Carl Rak, Ph.D. The title of this lecture evokes a classic paper, “Ghosts in the Nursery,” by Selma Fraiberg, but instead of focusing on negative influences, Dr. Rak presented three cases in which a positive influence enabled at-risk youth to overcome the psychological challenges of severe early trauma. The lecture began with a discussion of the meaning of “resilience” and the history of its use. Dr. Rak introduced the longitudinal studies by E. Werner, and N. Garmezy, that followed the courses of at-risk children over their lifespan. Dr. Rak enumerated from their study six other factors, which enabled those children to achieve impressively despite their early difficulties. These factors are:
- Temperament, especially a desire to improve.
- Grandparents’ expectations that supplement parents’ expectations.
- Being responsible for other children.
- Volunteers in “Big Brother”-type programs, i.e. policemen, fireman, and ministers or priests.
- Luck or chance.
- U.S. law extending schooling for youth with disabilities.
The Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center hosts Mini-Lectures on the first Wednesday of the month from September through May. To find out about other upcoming events, please consult the online calendar.