APsaA President’s Humanitarian Award: Gilbert Kliman, M.D.

Lee Jaffe

Lee Jaffe, Ph.D., is president of the American Psychoanalytic Association.


Lee Jaffe

I am grateful to the member who sent me the following email.

Lee, I gather you are familiar with the work that Gil Kliman is doing at the border helping immigrant mothers and children get evaluations and advocates. He also teaches a course to train mental health professionals. He is tireless and a model of what a psychoanalyst can be and can do in the community to make change in our troubled world. Is there an award I could nominate him for?

Since I was familiar with some of Gil’s extensive humanitarian efforts, this email was for me a call to action. While much of the work of being APsaA president is routine, being able to recognize the contributions of someone like Gil Kliman is a pleasure and a privilege. Gil is truly “A Man for All Seasons.” This title of Robert Bolt’s play reflects the playwright’s 20th century portrayal of Sir Thomas More as the ultimate man of conscience: One who remains true to himself and his beliefs while adapting to all circumstances and times, despite external pressure or influence. Gil Kliman is such a man. He has inspired me to create an APsaA President’s Humanitarian Award.

Gil is a child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst who has testified in over 350 legal matters involving over 1000 persons. He is the recipient of the Janusz Korczak award for the “world’s best book concerning the well-being and nurture of children,” the Dean Brockman Award for his work on childhood psychological trauma, and the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Anna Freud Award for interdisciplinary service research and training in the fields of education and child analysis. He is regularly consulted by major law firms throughout the nation and is leading a corps of volunteer experts providing forensic evaluations for asylum seekers.


Gilbert Kliman, M.D.

His CV includes his being a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a life fellow and diplomate of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a certified psychoanalyst for children, adolescents and adults by the American Psychoanalytic Association, a diplomate of the American College of Forensic Examiners, and a fellow of the American College of Psychoanalysts.

If you go on the internet to the “Children’s Psychological Health Center,” you get a sense of the breadth and depth of his work. You will find many practical contributions and tools created by this extraordinary educator: as can be seen in his “Hurricane Story,” (a guided activity workbook for survivors and those in fear); as can be seen in his “Flood Story” (a guided activity workbook for survivors and those in fear). If this were not enough, Gilbert Kliman is also a very senior and highly honored forensic psychoanalyst, offering an open-ended seminar series focused on forensic 4consultations, which have been videotaped. The videotapes provide an extraordinary psychoanalytic lens on psychological trauma.

If you search the internet for “Have Couch, Will Fly,” you will find a short biography and an interview dated April 8, 2018, with Gil that portrays both the man and his work. Toward the end of the interview, when Gil is asked about his future plans, he says, “I see myself as having a few more years of good cognitive and physical function. I’m developing successors by training many younger people to carry out Reflective Network Therapy, and others I’m helping learn how to apply psychoanalytic and psychodynamic and child development thinking to forensic problems.”

For all these reasons and more, I want to recognize Gil Kliman for his work in the community with the APsaA President’s Humanitarian Award. Congratulations for all your contributions. Gil, you continue to give so much to so many … and you make us proud.