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WCSPP’s Annual Conference: The Arc of Adoption

November 19, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 1:30 pm EST

$85 – $95

Keynote Speakers: Billie Pivnick, PhD, and Katie Naftzger, LICSW

4 CE Credits for most NYS licenses; Connecticut Practitioners – LCSW


At their roots, adoption stories begin with elements of sorrow. The children, adolescents

and parents whose lives together begin in loss often find their way into clinical settings,

faced with challenges that are unique. Too often, that uniqueness is neglected and

adopted children and families face their pain alone or with well-meaning clinicians who

are untrained in the complexities of adoption.

This conference, guided by the experiences of two expert clinicians whose own personal

stories of adoption inform their work, seeks to provide critical insights for those living and

working with adoptive families. It has 3 goals: 1) to add to familiar principles of attachment

theory, developmental theory, and relational theory to provide specificity to the needs of

adoptees and their families; 2) to illustrate the hurdles that adoptive families confront

through the life cycle, visiting and revisiting spoken and unspoken themes central to their

experience; and 3) to identify ways to enlighten the present and fortify the future through

psychodynamic psychotherapy focused on helping adoptees and their families write their

own authentic narratives.

The early morning session will include two papers, each followed by a Q & A. Dr. Billie

Pivnick’s paper will illustrate her ways of working with adopted children and families, and

the application of her fine attunement to the adoption experience. Dr. Katie Naftzger’s

paper will delve into the adopted adolescent’s experience, focusing on finding oneself in

the midst of a double challenge to identity formation. The later morning/early afternoon

session will begin with a series of film clips in which adoptees share their stories. Drs.

Pivnick and Naftzger will have a conversation with each other about their papers, the

film clips, and the light they hope to shed on clinical work within adoptive families. The

conversation will then be opened up to all conference attendees.

About the Speakers

Billie A. Pivnick, PhD, is a Psychoanalytic Psychologist in private practice

in Greenwich Village, specializing in treating children and families confronting

difficulties with traumatic loss, including those that result from adoption

and mass catastrophe. She is faculty and supervisor in the William Alanson

White Institute Child/Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program, the New

Directions Program in Psychoanalytic Writing, and Columbia University

Teachers College Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, and is the former

head of the Graduate Dance Therapy Program at Pratt Institute. She serves

as co-chair (with Dr. Romy Reading) of the Humanities and Psychoanalysis

Committee of APA’s Society for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic

Psychology, co-host of the Couched Podcast, and co-founder (with Dr. Jane

Hassinger) of the Community Collaboratory @ PsiAn, a web-based learning

community for psychoanalytic practitioners working in community settings.

Consulting Psychologist to Thinc Design, the exhibition designers partnered

with the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Chicago’s Museum of

Science and Industry, and The Smithsonian, she is the winner of SPPP’s 2015

Schillinger Memorial Essay Award for her essay, “Spaces to Stand In:

Applying Clinical Psychoanalysis to the Relational Design of the National

September 11 Memorial Museum,” and IPTAR’s 1992 Stanley Berger

Award for the contribution to psychoanalysis made by her research. Author

of over two dozen articles published in academic texts and peer-reviewed

journals, she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for

Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society, and on the Editorial Review Boards of

Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the American J of Dance Therapy.

Katie Naftzger, LICSW, Korean-adoptee, is the author of “Parenting

in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the

Teen Years.” She maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Newton,

MA, where she sees adopted teens, young adults and families. Currently,

Katie facilitates an online young adult adoptee group, and offers groups for

adoptive parents with teens who struggle with significant mental health

issues. Katie has also presented at the Korean-American Adoptee Network

Conference, the St. John’s Conference, Also-Known-As and Judge Baker’s

Children Center. Her work can be seen in Adoptive Families magazine. She’s

been a guest on podcasts such as Creating a Family and Adoptees On. Katie

is a member at the Psychodynamic Children and Family Institute of New

England (PCFINE) in MA. She co-taught the “race in couples work” course

and was a discussant for an interracial couples case presentation. She is

also a member of A Home Within, a national organization which offers pro

bono therapy for current and former foster care youth.



November 19, 2022
9:00 am - 1:30 pm EST
$85 – $95