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2021 Award Recipients

Selma Fraiberg & Lifetime Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of psychoanalytic social work and psychoanalysis. The Professional Clinical Writing Award is given to a member who has made outstanding contributions to the field through their professional clinical publications. Awards are presented by those who are close to the recipients.

Awardees
Karen Baker
Penny Rosen
Audrey Thayer Walker

Presented during the 2021 Conference
A Time to Think, A Time to Act — Caring about the known and the unknown.

image: Karen Baker

The Selma Fraiberg Award — Recipient: Karen Baker, DSW, LCSW
Presented by Wendy Winograd, DSW, LCSW, BCD-P

It makes me so very happy to be conferring this honor on my dearest friend, Karen Baker.

It has been a joy to work with Karen in our work with AAPCS and to experience our growing friendship.

I first met Karen when she was AAPCSW President, and I joined the Board as Recording Secretary. It's easy to feel connected to Karen, who is friendly, funny, warm, and loving.

Karen's work with children and adolescents is exquisite. She is smart, insightful, and intuitive. She gets kids. But what probably makes her so special as a child therapist is her playfulness. Winnicott wrote extensively on the ways in which play allow us to access our true selves and find the space to create our unique and precious identities. Karen never lost her childlike curiosity, sense of wonder, and drive to connect with others that is powered, in part by her love of play. So, although I have never been in the room with her when she is with a child, I know, as someone who has been playful with Karen, what her child patients must feel, which is for sure seen and loved. Also, though, Karen has the unusual ability to draw out the playful inside those she is with. She plays and is playful, but she is also a serious intellect, who is quick to understand the meaning of the play and the meaning of the process of play in uncovering a child's trauma, conflict, suffering, and distress as well as that child's strengths, wishes, fears, intentions, and desires.

Karen is generous with her experience and knowledge. As AAPCSW President, Karen strove to highlight the very important work of child and adolescent therapists and created the Child and Adolescent Committee to that end. When the COVID lockdown began, we talked about what we could do to support Child and Adolescent therapists. We offered a Town Hall meeting on Zoom, which has resulted in a monthly study group. We share our COVID struggles, our work with children and adolescents, and we read articles together. Karen's dedication to the group, both in terms of managing the logistics and supporting the members, has resulted in its continued existence for nearly 2 years. She shares her wisdom and looks for ways to support and nurture the members' development as clinicians.

For her stellar work as a child and adolescent therapist, for her generosity in sharing that work, in writing, presentations, and supervision, and for her service to AAPCSW as past-president and current Co-Chair of the Child and Adolescent Committee, I am proud and pleased to present the Selma Fraiberg Award to Karen Baker.

Photo: Penny Rosen

Lifetime Achievement Award — Recipient: Penny Rosen, MSW, LCSW, BCD-P.
Presented by Cathy Siebold, DSW, LCSW

I first met Penny over 20 years ago when I was moving back from Maine to the New York area. She had I think her first administrative role in our bi-annual conference. Over the years, her role and responsibility for the conference has expanded. As the overseer of the conference, she has found ways to keep many of us involved, even when we seem to think we are not going to do much this time around. She has a persistence that has served our conferences well over the years.

I am sure that many of you have interacted with Penny around the AAPCSW conference in large and small ways. I think that we can say that Penny has her finger in just about every aspect of the conference process. She manages the food, the rooms, negotiating with the hotel for all of those extras. Making sure we have sufficient break-out rooms and that there is plenty of AV equipment. I know I have always been happy to let Penny do any negotiating because she has the stamina to do it. I would be ready to give in before the first phone call.

Whether you need some help with registration, or to submit a paper, she is a person you can go to for help. We provide CEs for the conference. I can assure, having looked into this process, that it is a big headache to figure out CE accreditation for each state, but Penny has with some assistance made sure that she gets the applications in. When you think about all these tasks it's quite a range.

The awards that we give, probably this award she is going to be given today are also organized by Penny.

But there's more. Penny and Bill Meyer and I collaborated over a number of years to work on both the fun and the academic aspects of the conference. For example, I know that Bill and Penny worked on the social aspects of conference as well as making sure that there is film depicting an important aspect of our social world. For a number of conferences Penny and I have worked together in pairing the paper presentations to the best of our ability to find common themes. We are not perfect, but we try. Over the years as I think often happens, we find our first independent crack at pairing these papers is close to agreement when we do finally compare notes.

Penny has also brought her skills to other academic aspects of our conference. That could be aiding in creating an online account of the conference or being Co-editor of the journal that publishes original works selected from the conference. She also participates in the peer review of articles. It's really remarkable when you think about it. How many of us can say we have that many skill sets.

Not content with overseeing much of the national conference, Penny has for the same 20 years assumed a leadership role in making sure that the New York area has a conference which also takes place just about every two years. Again she oversees maintaining a group of dedicated clinicians who discuss relevant topics and speakers and then Penny gets to work to pursue potential speakers and working out the details of putting on a half day conference. She holds this group together and brings in new people to provide a diversity of ideas.

There are a few things that Penny does not get to weigh in on when it comes to our conferences. She didn't know what I would say today, although I think she would have liked some editing rights, and then there were those texts….
For sure, I know she will be standing by with the hook to pull me off if I go on for too long.

A commitment such as Penny's is rare in what are time consuming volunteer positions. No member gets paid for their service here. I am not minimizing by the way all the work our committees and members do to make this conference a success, I am just pointing out that whatever they are doing Penny has probably facilitated some aspect of what happens.

Most organizations hire someone to do much of what are the nuts and bolts of any conference, the organizational aspects, but even then someone has to oversee this staff. We certainly have hired assistants, but Penny still does a lot of the background work.

This brings me to some of the other ways that Penny contributes to our organization. She served as President. She also has long supported the Accreditation Council for Psychoanalytic Education Inc (ACPEinc) where she was a Trustee for 5 years. Along with other members of our organization, the more commonly known as the Psychoanalytic Consortium, brings us face to face with the leadership of other major psychoanalytic organizations such as APsaA and Division 39, the psychoanalytic branch of the American Psychological Association, and others.

ACPEinc for those of you who don't know is now separate from the psychoanalytic consortium which among other things seeks to preserve psychoanalytic training and ensures parity in psychoanalysis for all the disciplines. Penny also has helped in that group's efforts to accredit psychoanalytic training institutes.

For all Penny's involvement in the conference and organizations, she is notoriously shy about being acknowledged. A number of years ago now, Bill Meyer asked if I would take on the task of finding an appropriate gift to give Penny at the Conference. Now this was no hardship for me. I like buying pretty things, especially when it's with someone else's money; even better. Now what you may not know about Penny is that she is quite the fashionista. I learned this when she immediately identified the designer of a dress I was wearing to one of our conference dinners. So of course this assignment had to be done with care. As a result, it turned into a fun shopping trip with Sue Sherman, and Diana Siskind who had a connection with Calvin Klein, which meant a discount. We knew Penny would approve of that. The three of us easily found something we thought was just the thing for Penny. I believe we even found a couple of items for ourselves.

This was a clandestine operation because there was no line item in the budget for presents for Penny. She would have cut it in half. And Bill who was ever sensitive to others knew that we couldn't make too much of a public fuss as Penny would not be comfortable with that. And so unlike most of our public acknowledgements that presentation was kept to a small group of conference planners. I tell you this because it was a rare occasion where something was going on in relation to the National conference that Penny knew nothing about.

I know I have spent a lot of time talking about Penny's activities associated with AAPCSW. Mainly because it is impressive how much she has done in so many ways administration, public speaking, scholarly work, and group work.

Penny has also had a long clinical career. Starting with her job as a social worker in a New York City public high school, following her graduation from Hunter School of Social Work. She continued to work in the school system until her retirement. As a social worker in the NY city school system, she brought an applied psychoanalytic perspective to her work with teens. This isn't easy work, not just because of the school system but because of the trauma that is part of an inner-city teen's life. I remember her telling me of one experience where a teen, whom I believe attended her school died. One of the horrific tragedies that can happen in NYC. Penny, through her relationship with the kids in her school, had made them aware that she was someone that they could go to, to talk about what the violent death of this teen meant to them.

Along with her work in the school system, Penny also trained as a psychoanalyst both at one of the oldest non-medical institutes in New York, NPAP, and at Crayton Rowe's Institute, The New York Institute for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. You will not be surprised to hear that she has also served on the Boards of both these organizations. She has helped organize conferences for them, and get CEs approved as well as taught at both these institutes. Like many of us Penny has been in private practice for over 30 years.

This is finally an opportunity to thank Penny in a very public way for all her years of devotion to AAPCSW and to acknowledge her contributions to our organization and to the field of psychoanalytic social work. It's my pleasure to present her with this award.

Photo: Audrey Thayer Walker

Lifetime Achievement Award — Recipient: Audrey Thayer Walker.
Presented by Golnar A. Simpson, PhD, LCSW

Greetings:

AAPCSW Board, Walker family, Friends, and Colleagues: Thank you for joining us as we celebrate Audrey Thayer Walker's Lifetime Achievement Award. It is indeed a great pleasure and honor for me to have the privilege of sharing Audrey's story with you!

Audrey Thayer Walker MSS, BCD, a daughter of New England and citizen of the world, has highly valued the practice of social work from a psychoanalytic foundation: from her education at the Smith College School of Social Work, a school that founded its establishment on what were then progressive psychoanalytic understandings, to her more recent years of practice and teaching, consultation, supervision, within academic institutions. She most values her opportunities to mentor young professionals in the field. She has also attempted to pass on the rich professional heritage she experienced and its evolution via papers, publications, salons, professional societies, programs like the decades long annual GWSCSW Alice Kassabian Conference in Washington, D.C.

Audrey's faculty appointments at different academic settings include Catholic University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Smith College, The Clinical Social Work Institute of Washington DC, University of Maryland, and George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and behavioral Sciences. Audrey has been the recipient of Day-Garrett Award from Smith College for Social work, Distinguished Practitioner from the National Academies of Practice (Social Work), and George Washington University Department of Psychiatry's Award for teaching and leadership. She has presented many seminars and workshops across the nation, has published articles on various aspects of psychoanalytic social work and is affiliated with numerous Psychoanalytic institutes and clinical social work organizations.

I have known Audrey for several decades and have worked closely with her on various educational adventures including The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work, establishment of The Clinical Social Work Institutes' Doctoral Program, and our AAPCSW's Diversity and Social Action Committee since its establishment thirteen years ago. In all these experiences, I have had the privilege of witnessing Audrey's deep love of teaching and learning, steadfast commitment to social justice and its constitutive role in our profession, and her compassion and caring for people she serves. On the clinical practice side, I have had the good fortune of having access to Audrey's knowledge and wisdom on difficult clinical issues; and also covering her practice in her absence a few times, I have had the privilege of hearing her clients expressing their highest regard and appreciation for the quality of care that they were receiving from her. So, with all this in mind, in thinking about how to talk about Audrey beyond her most impressive tangible achievements, the idea of a chorus came to my mind because talking about Audrey as a person requires more than one voice, and accordingly, I invited several other colleagues and friends to join me. They are Dan Buccino, Dolores Paulson, and Kerry Leddy Malawista:

Dan Buccino: Audrey Walker is the finest example of a personal and professional role model I have ever had. She was my second-year field placement instructor over 30 years ago, and she has been my career North Star ever since. It was through her inspiration (and gentle persuasion) that I joined (and became active with) NMCOP and AAPCSW, that I taught at our alma mater, the Smith College School for Social Work for over 20 years, and that I have also tried to create desirable clinical social work field placements in my area for over 25 years, in addition to maintaining a small private practice. Audrey has always been the consummate clinician-educator and I have always tried to emulate her in that capacity.

In thinking about Audrey's Lifetime Achievement Award, we reflect not only on her Lifetime of Achievements, but on the many lives she has helped coax into their own achievements, directly and indirectly, through her colossal generosity and generativity. But in the end, beyond her many professional accomplishments, she truly embodies the winning personal attributes of being both very smart and really nice. Audrey has always carried herself with great civility and dignity (indeed with an unparalleled sense of “sprezzatura” — effortless expertise, “cool”) through all that life has presented. And it is simply in watching her navigate a whole life, even from a bit of a distance, that she has offered the greatest lessons and for that I will be forever grateful.

Dolores Paulson: Audrey Thayer Walker and I first met when as a dedicated member of the GWSCSW's continuing education Committee, Audrey interviewed me for the possibility of joining the Committee. It was a Very Rigorous interview. I passed! It wasn't long until our working together, led to our deep and abiding friendship. In her professional and personal life Audrey lives all of our social work values wrapped in psychoanalytic theory and thinking. This combination I believe, constitutes her guiding force. As a friend, she is always there. She is filled with compassion, acceptance, respect, trust. Always thoughtful. Always caring. Always available with her deep insights and willingness to share them. Always there with those few, perfect words that make the difference. Always handling conflict or hint of conflict by being direct and thorough and compassionate. Always there with a sense of humor that brings a hearty laugh. While I am well aware of the danger of using words Always and Never, I assure you, in this case the word Always is perfectly applied. There are many friends here today. We share in the privilege and joy that we are so fortunate to be able to say Audrey Thayer Walker is our friend! Congratulations, Audrey, on receiving this Lifetime Achievement Award. No one could be more deserving.

Kerry Leddy Malawista: I am thrilled Audrey Walker is being recognized today for her many contributions to AACSW and the field of clinical social work. There is no one more deserving. I am only sorry that I can't be here in person to celebrate Audrey and share my love and gratitude for all that she has given me over the years, starting when I was a Smith intern at George Washington Outpatient Psychiatry in 1983. Since that time Audrey has been the perfect mentor, embodying all that it means to be a psychodynamic clinician, while at the same time maintaining and promoting her social work roots and identity.

Her extraordinary ability as a mentor might best be noted in a moment I recall, some years back, at an AAPCSW conference cocktail party. Caroline Hall, Dan Buccino, and I were chatting. The three of us singing Audrey's praise as the three of ours first supervisor in the field. We spoke about the formidable impact she had on our identity as clinicians, teaching us the foundations of analytic psychotherapy.

I recall saying, “She is amazing. Whenever I give a talk or write a book, I can be certain a card will arrive in the mail from Audrey, filled with the warmest of praise.” I then added, “Even after thirty plus years, Audrey is still my biggest fan.” Caroline said, “No way, Audrey is my biggest fan!” Dan quickly interrupted, “Hold on there. Audrey can't be both of yours biggest fan, because she's my biggest fan.” The three of us laughed.

Somehow, like a very good parent, Audrey had made each of us feel we were special, her favorite. I'm certain giving us all the confidence to succeed. Audrey encapsulates what a meaningful life is about: connecting and contributing to something beyond the self.

Thank you Audrey for your generosity, for always believing in me and encouraging my development over these many years. Oh, and Dan and Caroline, If you're here — Sorry, I'm still her favorite.

With much appreciation for the comments of members of the chorus, I would like to make this final comment to Audrey: With all that has been said about you today as examples of who you are, now you know why for me, personally and professionally, you represent “Grace” with all the depth and breadth of that word's meanings. You are a gift to our organization, to our profession, and I am filled with gratitude and pride to have you as my cherished friend and colleague! I am honored to present you with this AAPCSW's 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

See list of AAPCSW Award Recipients »