The Institute for Clinical Social Work


Three Graduates Receive Doctorates at 2013 Commencement Ceremony


Andrea Alpert, Mary-Beth Golden, and Maria Nanos completed their dissertations and were awarded their doctorates at this month’s commencement ceremonies, held June 1 at the Robert Morris Auditorium at 401 S. State St. in Chicago.

ICSW's 2013 Graduates

Andrea Alpert (Jennifer Tolleson, Dissertation Advisor) examined the vicissitudes of hope in five seasoned clinicians over the course of their professional lives. From the data that she collected, Dr. Alpert constructed a detailed psychoanalytic understanding of the meaning of hope for these participants.

Dr. Alpert found that the sense of hope for these participants stemmed from a larger and more expansive experience of the self. She learned that hope develops over time through the integration of experiences, of which professional experience is but one facet. The vicissitudes of hope were found to be an inevitable and valuable part of the treatment process and that they could be used to facilitate the treatment process and deepen the participants’ self-understanding. Dr. Alpert also explored how the participants actively regulated their hope over time to maintain hopefulness through an ongoing process of self-expansion and self-protection.

Mary-Beth Golden (Joan DiLeonardi, Dissertation Advisor) explored how the adult daughter and mother relationship changes when the daughter requires IVF to get pregnant. Through employing a mixed-methods approach in which she gathered quantitative data and qualitative data, Dr. Golden explored how the adult daughter understands the complexity of the relationship with her mother and whether the IVF process changed that dyad. Her research encompassed concepts in developmental psychology and psychoanalytic theories. Dr. Golden found that adult daughters felt that going through the process of IVF did change the relationship with their mothers and that an earlier close relationship with their mothers continued through the process of IVF despite unexpected disappointments in the mother. Conversely, Dr. Golden found that if the earlier relationship with their mothers was distant and strained, adult daughters did not look to their mothers for emotional support when trying to get pregnant via IVF.

Maria Nanos (Joan DiLeonardi, Dissertation Advisor) conducted a study that employed a narrative approach to interview African-American grandmothers who have taken legal custody of their grandchildren. From these rich and enlightening in-depth interviews, Dr. Nanos developed an understanding of that experience from the grandmother’s point of view. Using a self-psychological framework to interpret the interviews, five themes emerged; grandmother’s sacrifices, the event that precipitated placement, the grandmother’s vs. mother’s role, legal issues, and life today. Dr. Nanos’ research provides us with a more full and detailed understanding of the dynamics and experience within a heretofore understudied family form.

Commencement Speakers Marcia Dobson and John Riker

Marcia Dobson has taught at Colorado College in the Classics Department since 1976. In addition to a PhD from Harvard University in Classical Philology, Professor Dobson received a second PhD, in Clinical Psychology with an en emphasis on depth psychology, where her dissertation crossed the lines of disciplines, focusing on ancient Greek epic and tragedy in relation to modern psychological notions of transitional space and experience. Dr. Dobson initiated the psychoanalysis minor at Colorado College, and now teaches classes in contemporary psychoanalysis at Colorado College and at the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago during the summer. Her recent research and publications consider classical texts in their relation to psychoanalytic thinking and theory. She is also an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology.

John Riker has taught philosophy at Colorado College since 1968. He chaired the department for 14 years and has been named the Judson Bemis Professor of Humanities. Dr. Riker was also the Kohut Professor at the University of Chicago (Fall 2003). He has been named teach of the year four times, advisor of the year once, and was the initial recipient of the victor Nelson-Cisneros Award for the person most involved with aiding diversity on campus. His areas of interest in philosophy are ethics, history of philosophy, Greek philosophy, psychoanalysis, American philosophy, and metaphysics. His research interests center of the intersection of a psychoanalytic understanding of human nature with ethics.