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CFPS Visiting Professor - Donald B. Moss, MD

posted Feb 7, 2017, 4:14 PM by CFPS Information   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 9:16 AM ]
CFPS Welcomes Donald B. Moss, M.D., as Visiting Professor 
presenting at a Faculty Retreat on March 4th at 8:30 AM, and at a workshop for Candidates and all Trainees, "Finding Your Own Clinical Voice"on March 3rd 2:00 PM-5:00 PM  


"After the Offense--Thoughts on Forgiveness"

We have no doubt whatsoever about the meanings and manifest intentions of retaliation, revenge and punishment. Each aims to restore and buttress the status quo ante so as to prevent the recurrence of another violation. As for forgiveness, though, we are filled with questions. We do not know exactly what the word means, do not even know whether it is possible. We do not know whether forgiveness must involve both figures or can occur privately. We do not know its motives, nor even whether it is motivated. We do not know what is required for it, what demands it makes on both the forgiver and the forgiven. Most fundamentally, we do not know whether forgiveness expresses a capacity or a failure.

Filled as we are with “not knowing”, we occupy the uncomfortable position of having to answer all questions about forgiveness by resorting to definitions, none of which is likely to be persuasive. This 

presentation will focus on the fundamental plasticity and volatility of the meanings of “forgiveness" and how this plasticity and volatility contribute to the term's irreducibly charged moral, social and psychological standing.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To conceptualize forgiveness as a particular psychological entity, distinct from reparation. 

  2. To expose our non-neutral bias toward "forgiveness" and against "revenge." 

  3. To locate forgiveness as an integral feature of mutative interpretation.


Donald Moss, MD is on the Faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, NYU Medical Center, and is a founding member of “Second Story”, a Psychoanalytic Salon. He is a prolific psychoanalytic writer, editor, and a presenter who focuses on the elemental problem sites of masculinity (mind/body, inside/outside, heterosexual/homosexual, love/hate, singular/plural) while arguing against any settled notion of what men – and women – want. Last January he received a standing ovation after wowing the audience with his plenary address at the annual meeting of American Psychoanalytic Association’s Winter Meetings. Dr. Moss has a private practice in New York City.

Suggested preparatory readings:


1. Dostoevsky, F. “The Grand Inquisitor"

2. Strachey, J.  "The Nature of Therapeutic Action in Psychoanalysis"


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