The Sigourney Award 2021

David Scharff And Jill Savege Scharff’s Work In International Psychoanalytic Tele-Analysis And Training Wins The Sigourney Award-2021

Seattle, WA — Nov. 18, 2021 – The Sigourney Award annually rewards outstanding work that advances psychoanalytic thought and practice with international recognition and a substantial cash prize. This year submissions from five continents were evaluated by a distinguished panel of independent judges. Today, William A. Myerson, Ph.D., MBA, and psychoanalyst co-trustee of The Sigourney Trust, announces that the innovative international tele-analysis and training work by Drs. David Scharff and Jill Savege Scharff, physician- psychoanalysts, is one of three meriting The Sigourney Award-2021.

The Maryland-based partners’ work adapts psychoanalytic thinking and practice for those far from a psychoanalytic center and educates analysts on how to provide remote treatment. Embracing teaching at the heart of their work, the Scharffs’ remote teaching and treatment efforts were accomplished in large part through the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) they co-founded, and as Supervising Analysts at the International Institute for Psychoanalytic Training (IIPT at IPI) and Teaching Analysts at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

“Modifying teaching and treatment delivery systems, and publishing our interpretation of projection of resistance, transference and countertransference onto technology, prepared reluctant analysts for teletherapy during COVID-19,” says Dr. David Scharff.

To accomplish this, the Scharffs developed an innovative, analytic training methodology and paved a non-traditional path to deliver analysis remotely. The new training methodology allowed the application of psychoanalytic approaches to family and couple psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, while their early adoption of technology expanded access to psychoanalytic psychotherapy in areas and countries previously beyond reach.

“The pioneering vision to expand psychoanalytic psychotherapy into geographic areas not previously reached by clinicians working psychoanalytically, and to work with psychoanalytically-oriented clinicians who were initially reluctant to accept teletherapy, supports the mission of the Award’s founder, Mary Sigourney. Her intent was to reward

innovative advancement of psychoanalytic thought and practice,” says Barbara Sherland, The Sigourney Trust attorney co-trustee.

“The international dissemination of psychoanalysis’ value with family and couple psychotherapy further supports the work’s recognition,” notes Dr. Myerson.

Long before the pandemic forced psychoanalytic clinicians to endorse remote learning and service delivery, the Scharffs’ work employed videoconference technology in certificate programs that have reached psychoanalytically oriented trainees in the United States, China, Russia, and Latin America, with additional programming that enabled them to reach trainees and colleagues in such locations as Greece, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, and Israel. Their books and articles have reached a worldwide audience through translations into Chinese, Russian, German, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, and Spanish, while their contribution to the dissemination of free e-books in psychotherapy, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis expanded access to psychoanalytic literature for readers in 200 countries and territories.

“David and I have the broader community in mind, locally and internationally and continue to value individual analysis and training,” says Dr. Jill Savege Scharff. “Applying this to child, couple, and family therapy, especially in geographical areas such as China and Russia where there is reduced access to analysis and its applications, as well as to theatre, further defines our work,” she added.

This award-winning work joins a long list of innovative contributions advancing psychoanalytic thought that, since 1990, have been honored with this independent prize. Work by Argentinian Dr. Jorge Claudio Ulnik and the Massachusetts-based nonprofit, Erikson Institute For Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center, is also being rewarded in 2021.

Watch for individual videos featuring The Sigourney Award-2021 award recipients’ work on The Sigourney Award website in early 2022. Applications for The Sigourney Award-2022 will be accepted beginning in March 2022 for work completed between 2011 and 2021. The Sigourney Award includes a substantial cash prize.

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