The Institute for Clinical Social Work


Jennifer Tolleson, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Jennifer Tolleson serves as Associate Dean. Her areas of clinical expertise are psychoanalytic theory, practice, and clinical process. At ICSW, she is a clinical and theory instructor and consultant, and she is deeply interested in the intersections of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, social theory, politics, and human rights, as well as hermeneutics and qualitative research. In addition, Dr. Tolleson engages in Middle East (Palestine/Israel) peace work, is an asylum worker for Physicians for Human Rights, and provides pro bono clinical evaluations for victims of torture and political persecution.

Areas of Interest & Approaches to Practice

Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Process; Postmodern Social Theory; Psychoanalysis and Social Justice; Freud; Relational Theory; Object Relations; Clinical Practice with Adolescents, Adults, and Couples; Consultation


  • M.S.W., Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Ph.D, Smith College, Northhampton, MA


  • L.C.S.W., Illinois

Courses Taught at ICSW

  • Clinical Process and Technique
  • British Object Relations
  • Advanced Object Relations
  • Contemporary Controversies in Psychodynamic Theory and Practice
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Clinical Impasses and Jams

Additional Faculty Roles

  • Consulting
  • Research Advising

Awards & Honors

  • Smith College Alumni Award for Best Dissertation Addressing Vulnerable Populations
  • Writing Prize: Hephzibah Association Centennial Child Welfare Writing Competition
  • Chair of Committee on Social Justice, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work

Professional Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, Chair of Committee on Social Justice
  • Smith College Adjunct Faculty
  • Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Network

Significant Publications

  • Tolleson, J. (2009). Saving the world one patient at a time: Psychoanalysis and social critique. Psychottherapy and Politics International, 7(2), pp. 190-205.
  • Tolleson, J. (1997). Death and transformation: The reparative power of violence in the lives of black inner city gang members. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 67(3).


500 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 342-3184