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Jennifer Tolleson, Ph.D.

Chair of Research


The Transformative Power of Violence: The Psychological Role of Gang Life in Relation to Chronic Traumatic Childhood Stress in the Lives of Urban Adolescent Males ()

Jennifer Tolleson

Jennifer Tolleson, PhD, is a core faculty member of ICSW and teaches psychoanalytic theory and clinical process, as well as does clinical consultation and research advising in the doctoral program.  Jennifer is in private practice in Chicago where she sees adolescents, adults, and couples.  She received her PhD from Smith College.  Her clinical and academic interests include the intersections between psychoanalytic theory, clinical practice, social theory, and human rights.  She is published in the areas of race, trauma, urban violence, and psychodynamic thinking as a form of social critique.

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).


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