The Analytic Observer

Newsletter of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society

Chicago Psychoanalytic Society | March 1998 Newsletter

Institute Activities

Each Newsletter Highlights Another Institute Program:

This Month: The Barr-Harris
by Ben Garber, MD

The Expansion of Barr-Harris

The Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center has been an integral part of the Institute for the last 21 years. The Center was directed by Joan Fleming and included the participation of Sol Altschul, Henry Seidenberg, Max Forman, Dean Brockman and Edith Sabshin. This project resulted in numerous outstanding clinical and theoretical contributions to the literature on loss.

In 1976, Mr. Irving Harris and George Barr contributed money to the Institute to open a clinic that would treat bereaved children. The project was an instant success and the Center evolved not only into a clinical facility but also a source for community education about loss and a place for clinical research on bereavement.

Over the years Barr-Harris has developed an outstanding reputation for the evaluation and treatment of bereaved children. However, as potential patients moved into the suburbs and with the proliferation of grief oriented services, it became more difficult for the Center to maintain its referral base. While the needs of inner city children were being addressed, it was evident that the Center would need to expand to other areas to attract and serve a wider patient population.

Consequently, on September 1, 1997, the North-Shore Barr-Harris became a reality. This endeavor had the unqualified support of the Institute’s administration and the Board. Dr. Jesse Viner, a member of the Board, offered office space and support for the Center. A CAPT graduate was hired to staff the North-Shore facility. After one year it became evident that a more ideal location for the Center would be in a hospital setting. Ms. Friedman, Tom Pappadis’s sister, and the development director of Highland Park Hospital worked together to relocate the Center to the hospital. Barr-Harris now provides the staff and the expertise while the hospital provides the space and marketing. Presently, Jennifer Robin, an advanced student in CAPT, is on site providing community presentations and working with schools in the area to address the needs of children who have experienced loss. The North-Shore Barr-Harris is being integrated into the hospital and the community to provide much needed loss related services for years to come.

As the North-Shore program was experiencing growing pains, a contract with Swedish Covenant hospital was being processed. Connie Bernt, another CAPT student, has been hired to staff the new facility which should be operational this winter. The establishment of a Barr-Harris Center at Swedish Covenant serves to provide children’s psychiatric services where the need is great.

The expansion of the Center has led to a number of conclusions. Barr-Harris belongs in a hospital setting as that is where most deaths occur and the services are needed the most. In each instance of expansion, we needed someone within the hospital to open the door so to speak. It is evident from the response to our expansion that there is a need in the community for analytically informed intervention with bereaved families, and we have been there to respond to this need.

Chicago Psychoanalytic Society | March 1998 Newsletter