The BPSI Ecker Fellows Program
Psychoanalysis and the Creative Arts
Director: Diane O’Donoghue, PhD
Chair, BPSI Division of Interdisciplinary Psychoanalysis
In the Spring of 2022 BPSI was awarded a grant from the New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis for a program in Interdisciplinary Psychoanalysis, to bring creative artists to BPSI to engage with psychoanalysis.
Called the “Ecker Fellows Program“, this yearly initiative will involve a small cohort of distinguished early-to-mid career professionals in the performing arts, who will be offered an opportunity for sustained study of psychoanalytic principles in order to deepen and enrich their creative endeavors. This will occur within a program of study tailored to each artist’s interests.
The Fellows’ year is an immersive experience in psychoanalytic ideas and engagement within the BPSI community. Fellows are invited to develop an individualized program of study with their mentors, who are BPSI members selected for their commitment and knowledge of the arts, ability to complement the Fellows’ interests, and their capacity to enrich and deepen an interdisciplinary dialogue.
The areas of interest shared between psychoanalysis and the arts are rich and vast. It is our hope that the linkages the Ecker Fellows forge at BPSI will continue in several sites: amongst themselves, with the psychoanalysts with whom they share their year, and within their respective arts communities. The Ecker Fellows Program aims to develop into an established locus of interchange between psychoanalysis and the arts, for the benefit of both of these disciplines, as well as the larger community and ultimately to strengthen connections to broader public engagements.
We are pleased to announce the 2022-2023 Ecker Fellows:
Julia Adolphe is a composer whose music is hailed as “alive with invention” (The New Yorker), “colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated” (The New York Times), displaying “a remarkable gift for sustaining a compelling musical narrative” (Musical America).
Her works are performed across the U.S. and abroad by renowned orchestras and ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, LA Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Verona Quartet, soprano Hila Plitmann, and pianist Gloria Cheng, among others. Current projects include a chorus and orchestra piece for the Cincinnati Symphony, a string trio for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and a comic opera for all ages entitled A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, based on the novel by Jules Feiffer with libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann. Awards include a 2017 ASCAP Young Composer Award, a 2016 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant, and a 2015 Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Adolphe is a native New Yorker living in Nashville. Visit Julia’s website ↗
Raja Feather Kelly
Raja Feather Kelly is a choreographer and director, and the Artistic Director of the dance-theatre-media company the feath3r theory–for which Kelly has created 16 premieres, most recently WEDNESDAY. He is also an Off-Broadway choreographer whose collaborators include Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Michael R. Jackson. Recent works include We’re Gonna Die, Macbeth In Stride, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning productions Fairview and A Strange Loop (which also won two Tony Awards including Best Musical).
Current projects include On Sugarland, SUFFS, and Lempicka (forthcoming). His accolades include three Princess Grace Awards, an Obie Award, an Outer Critics Circle honor, a Creative Capital award, and many others. Visit Raja’s website↗
David Cote is a playwright, opera librettist, and theater critic based in New York City. His operas include Blind Injustice (Cincinnati Opera); Three Way (Nashville Opera and BAM); The Scarlet Ibis (Prototype Festival and Chicago Opera Theater); and 600 Square Feet (Cleveland Opera Theater). His plays include The Müch, Saint Joe, and Otherland (National Playwrights Conference finalist).
David also wrote the text for Nkeiru Okoye’s Black Lives Matter monodrama for baritone and orchestra, Invitation to a Die-In. Recordings include Blind Injustice (NAXOS), Three Way (American Modern Recordings) and In Real Life (AMR). David’s TV and theater reviews appear in The A.V. Club, Observer, 4 Columns, and American Theatre. He was the longest serving theater editor and chief drama critic of Time Out New York. He’s also the author of popular companion books about the Broadway hits Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Spring Awakening, Jersey Boys, and Wicked. Visit David’s website↗
We are also pleased to announce the 2022-23 Ecker Faculty Mentors:
Stephanie Brody, PsyD is a Supervising and Training Analyst at BPSI and maintains a private practice in Lexington. She is the author of Entering Night Country: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Loss and Resilience (Routledge, 2016), and has an ongoing interest in how daily life is affected by our sensitivity to mortality. She does all her writing while listening to opera.
Deborah Greenman, MD is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Cambridge, who is also on the faculty of the McLean Hospital/MGH Psychiatry Residency. Music has always been an essential part of her life. She sang solo and with choral groups throughout high school and college, and after a long hiatus returned to singing when her children left for college. Decades ago she took a course on Creativity and Psychoanalysis with psychoanalyst Stanley Leavy. It turned out to be a foreshadowing of this opportunity to explore the creative process with Ecker Fellowship artists.
Cecil Webster, MD is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, a Child and Adult Candidate at BPSI. He is lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital and serves on the Board of Trustees at BPSI. His areas of interest include intersectional identities such as race, sexuality, and gender, and applying psychoanalytic techniques to artistic media expressions in understanding complex aspects of humanity.
Diane O’Donoghue, PhD,
Director, Ecker Fellows Program
A historian of visual cultures, Diane holds appointments at Tufts and Brown Universities, and has been an affiliate scholar and faculty member at BPSI. Diane is also Chair of the BPSI of the Division for Interdisciplinary Psychoanalysis. Her writings often focus on the role of objects and spaces within the construction of early psychoanalytic ideas, and she is the author of On Dangerous Ground: Freud’s Visual Cultures of the Unconscious (2019). Visit Diane’s website ↗
Paul G. Ecker, MD
Paul Gerard Ecker, MD (1919-2002) was a remarkable man whose boundless curiosity and passion for learning spanned the spectrum of disciplines from the sciences to the arts. In addition to his intellectual talents and accomplishments, his greatest attributes were those one would recognize only in his company – his remarkable gentility, kindness, insight and patience in the care of his patients and his relationships with friends and family.
Born in Cleveland Ohio, he graduated from Case Western Reserve Medical School in 1944. He joined the Navy as one of the earliest Flight Surgeons and pioneered aviation medicine. After the war, he taught at The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York before completing his psychoanalytic training at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute in 1950. In that same year he married Henriette Juliette Dumas from St Jean, Quebec. They had two sons, Hendrik Michel (1952) and Christian Paul (1955). While in New York, he was a Fellow at the Rockefeller Institute where he designed a device to cool ultracentrifuges with liquid nitrogen.
During the Korean War he was called to serve as a Flight Surgeon and researcher outside Philadelphia where the Johnsville Naval Air Station housed the largest human centrifuge in existence. Virtually all the Mercury and Gemini astronaut candidates underwent centrifuge testing at Johnsville. He became an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a Teaching Analyst at the Philadelphia Institute for Psychoanalysis, serving a term as President. A voracious reader who studied church history, philosophy and neurosciences, he spoke three languages and could read Latin. He had a lifelong passion for art, cultivating relationships within the art world and becoming an accomplished collector of Chinese ceramics and Gothic art.
Courtesy of Christian Paul Ecker, MD
New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis
The New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis (NEFP) is privileged to support the Ecker Fellows Program at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The NEFP is a non-profit, 501(c)3 public charity that was founded in 1995. The NEFP’s mission is to use psychoanalytic knowledge in ways to benefit the community, and includes the Ecker Fund, which gives grants to support interdisciplinary psychoanalytic studies. The Ecker Fund was given to the NEFP to honor the memory of Paul G. Ecker, MD.