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Ritvo Lecture: "The Missing: Exploring the use of photographs in ‘working through’ the natal body with transgender youth"

Yale Child Study Center Grand Rounds Special Lecture

Jointly sponsored by the Yale Child Study Center and the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis, the 2023 Ritvo Lecture will be conducted via Zoom on Saturday, December 9, 2023 from 12-2 p.m. ET.

Description & Learning Objectives

The presenter will address how, for some young people who identify as transgender, the anticipation and/or the actual process of transitioning represents a movement away from something in themselves that feels wrong, painful, or traumatic and that has not yet been consciously recognized as such. This becomes a ‘missing’ part of the self’s experience, locked into the body. The use of photographs during psychoanalytic psychotherapy with young people who have commenced social transitioning will be described, with a goal of working through visual representations of the natal body in the service of facilitating the working through - in its psychoanalytic sense - of the natal body’s unconscious narrative. Deploying this visual mode may be especially helpful in engaging young people on the autistic spectrum who currently comprise a significant minority of transgender young people. The learning objectives for this session are to:

  • Examine the ramifications of the inescapable fact of our embodied nature
  • Describe the common experience of 'missing' parts of the self for some transgender youth
  • Utilize photographs as a clinical technique to identify and mourn the natal body during gender transitioning.

Continuing Education

This program has been approved for two Continuing Education Credit Hours by the National Association of Social Workers, CT and meets the continuing education criteria for Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapist, Professional Counselor, and Licensed Psychologist Licensure renewal. Additional information will be provided during the session.

Endowed by the first director of training in child psychiatry at Yale, Samuel Ritvo, MD and his wife Lucille Ritvo in 2007, the annual Ritvo Lecture focuses on bringing modern psychoanalytic and psychodynamic thought to child and adolescent mental health practice, with a particular focus on its trainees.


  • University College London

    Alessandra Lemma, PhD (Presenter)
    Chartered Clinical Psychologist & Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit
  • Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis

    Lisa Marcus, PhD (Discussant)
    Clinical Psychologist & Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychoanalyst Faculty
  • Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis

    Matthew Shaw, PhD (Moderator)
    Training & Supervising Analyst



Host Organization




Grand Rounds
Dec 20239Saturday