Claude Barbre

Claude Barbre

Department Faculty
  • Associate Professor
    Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Department

  • The Chicago School Chicago
Clinical Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Office Location
Office Phone
On-campus Ext.

Claude Barbre, M.S., M.Div., Ph.D., L.P., NCPsyA., is Associate Professor, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Psy.D. Program Faculty. Dr. Barbre joined the faculty in January, 2009, and is Course Stream Coordinator of the Psychodynamics Concentration at The Chicago School, a faculty and committee member of the Child and Adolescent Track, and lead faculty in the Psychology and Spirituality Concentration. He has counseled children and families for over 25 years, and served for 12 years as Executive Director of The Harlem Family Institute, a New York City school-based, psychoanalytic training program, working with children and families in low-income, high-needs neighborhoods. Dr. Barbre is also a past faculty member, training supervisor, and analyst at Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis (Bedford-Hills, N.Y.), and The Harlem Family Institute (New York City). He also taught psychology and religion at Manhattan College and Fordham University before his appointment at The Chicago School, and has taught and lectured widely as an international, national, and community speaker on topics devoted to psychology and religion, psychoanalysis, and the humanities. A former Editor-In-Chief of Gender and Psychoanalysis (IUP Press), and Associate Editor of the Journal of Religion and Health: Psychology, Spirituality, and Medicine (Springer Press) for 15 years. Dr. Barbre has also served as a guest editor and editorial board member of several journals devoted to psychology and the humanities, such as Quadrant (C.G. Jung Institute), Union Seminary Quarterly Review (Union Theological Seminary, New York City), The Journal of Religion and Health (Springer Press), and Gender and Psychoanalysis (IUP Press). He is also the founder of Zoas: The Chicago School Literary Journal. His edited books include: with Esther Menaker, The Freedom to Inquire (Aronson, 1995) and Separation Will, and Creativity: The Wisdom of Otto Rank (Aronson, 1996); with Alan Roland and Barry Ulanov, Creative Dissent: Psychoanalysis in Evolution (Praeger-Greenwood Press, 2003); with Marcella Weiner and Paul C. Cooper, Psychotherapy and Religion: Many Paths, One Journey (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

Author of prize-winning articles, books, and poetry, Dr. Barbre is a six-time nominee and four-time recipient of the international Gradiva Award, presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP); he also received a 2008 Distinguished Achievement in Research and Writing Award, presented to the editors of The Journal of Religion and Health by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). In addition, he is a William B. Given Jr. Fellow of the Episcopal Church Foundation, and a Daniel Day Williams Fellow in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. A licensed psychoanalyst and certified hospital chaplain, Dr. Barbre is a clinical member of The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), having worked as a chaplain at five hospital settings since 1988. In addition, from 1994-2004 he served as Director and Pastoral Supervisor of Openings, a Bellevue Hospital lay chaplaincy program of The Episcopal Social Services (ESS), New York City. He was also the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Mid-Atlantic Region Coordinator of the Psychology and Religion Section for nearly 15 years. In 2010 he received the Margaret Morgan Lawrence Award “for outstanding service to the Harlem Family Institute, and the children and families of Harlem, New York City.” During Dr. Barbre’s tenure as Executive Director, The Harlem Family Institute provided nearly 60,000 therapy sessions with children and families who would not have had therapy sessions provided for them without HFI’s school-based and neighborhood outreach programs.

Dr. Barbre’s clinical and research interests focus on foster care, psychology and religion, contemplative psychology, critical psychology, psychology and the arts, and the integration of therapeutic approaches to cultural and global perspectives. He has written numerous reviews and review essays on art, photography, literature, film, and music. He is a published song-writer. Dr. Barbre has interviewed clowns and musicians at Lincoln Center, New York City; sold children’s books door to door in rural Oklahoma; climbed Benbulben Mountain in Ireland and sang to the howling Sidhe; scrubbed pots for several years at a soup kitchen in Manhattanville; grew a large garden that the birds and deer consumed; worked as a chaplain on the ER midnight shift—all important training prerequisites to becoming a psychologist and psychotherapist.

  • B.A., English Literature, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, Concentration: American and British Literature/ Religion
  • M.S. English Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, Research Focus: 20th Century American Literature, Concentration: American Poetry; Religious ideation in the novels of J.D. Salinger
  • M.Div., Psychiatry and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, Thesis: “Walker Percy's kingdom come: A study of narcissism and healing in the novels of Walker Percy.”
  • ACPE Clinical Member, Clinical Pastoral Education Certificates: Carolina Medical Center (Neurosurgery), Charlotte, North Carolina; Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, New York City; New York Hospital (Oncology and ER), New York City; Lenox Hill Hospital (General Surgery), New York City
  • Post-Graduate Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center (PPSC), New York
  • M.Phil., Psychiatry and Religion Studies, Union Theological Seminary, New York City
  • Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (3 Year Program), The Harlem Family Institute, New York City
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis (2 Year Program), The Harlem Family Institute, New York City
  • Ph.D., Psychiatry and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, Concentration: psychology, psychoanalysis, and religion; world religions; pastoral care and counseling; depth psychology and religion in dialogue with literature, philosophy, art, and clinical experience, Dissertation Topic: “Otto Rank's psychology of will and soul and its spiritual implication for psychotherapeutic theory and practice.”
  • L.P. Licensed Psychoanalyst, New York State License: #000784-1
  • NCPsyA, (National Certified Psychoanalyst) NAAP LICENSE: #P051706
Areas Of Expertise

Academic and Community Involvement

  • Multidisciplinary Workshops For Diverse Communities: Columbia University; Teacher's College; American Psychological Association, Section 39 (APA); New York Veteran's Hospital; Mid-Atlantic American Academy of Religion; Cafh Foundation; Lincoln Center; Hospital Chaplaincy Incorporated (HCI); CPE New York-New Jersey Regional Meeting; National Hospice Association; Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology (TRISP); Heidelberg Institute for Psychoanalysis (Heidelberg, Germany); National Institute of Psychotherapies (NIP); Association for the Care of Children (ACCH); All Soul's Unitarian Church; St. Mary's Episcopal Church; Church of the Heavenly Rest; St. James Episcopal Church; Cathedral of St. John the Divine; The Development Center, Darien, CT; The Inter-Faith Center of New York.

  • Therapist Consultant for Immigration Services, Law Office of Ruben Sanchez, JD., New York City. Therapy assistance offered pro-bono to immigrants seeking emotional support and counseling; volunteer work for international clients in need.

  • Seminarian, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, New York City: Led worship; taught child and adult education; pastoral counseling; soup kitchen worker; coordinator of after-school program for youth in Harlem.

Select Presentations

  • The illusion of choice: The impact of neoliberalism and post-neoliberal ideologies on humanistic values. Amercian Psychological Association, Division 32 Annual Conference, March 17, 2014, Palo Alto, CA.

  • No dry bones but living stones: Psychological and contemplative wisdoms in African-American poetry. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Colloquium, March, 2014.

  • Only that breath breathing human being: Contemplative psychology and Sufism. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Colloquium, March, 2014.

  • Apollo at night: Reflections on rest in an age of technological multiphrenia and saturation. The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) Annual Conference, Rutgers University, NJ, November 2, 2013.

  • Django unchanged: Identifications with the oppressor and cycles of traumatic reenactments. The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) Annual Conference, Rutgers University NJ, November 2, 2013.

  • Expenditure beyond remuneration: Clinical meditations on sacrifice, emptying, kenosis, and letting go. The National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 40th Annual Conference (NAAP), October 27, 2012, New York City.

  • The self-humanizing function: Liberation psychology as a response to childism. The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society’s 2012 Annual Conference, October 18-19, 2012, Rutgers University, New Jersey. 

  • Trickster suffering in shamanism and psychotherapy: Shape-shifting the healing encounter through parable and performance. The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society’s 2012 Annual Conference, October 18-19, 2012, Rutgers University, New Jersey. 

  • Transforming will and the creative dilemma: Life fear and death anxiety in the clinical theories and therapeutic thinking of Otto Rank. 6th Joint International Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, August 3-5, 2012. 

  • Prejudice against children: psychodynamic explorations of the abandoned child archetype and childism. Childhood: A Persons Project, the 2nd Global Muti-disciplinary Conference, Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom, July-7-9 2012.  

  • Something there is that doesn’t love a child: An existential-humanisticv of childism in the writings of Merleau-Ponty and Elizabeth Young-Bruehl (In memoriam: Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, 1947- 2011), 5th Annual APA Conference of The Society for Humanistic P:sychology, Division 32. Point Park University, March 29-April 1, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA. 

  • Child psychotherapy in the inner city. From Child Abuse to Cherishment Conference, NAAP Continuing Education Series, Washington Square Institute, NYC. 2007. 

  • The noon-day demon: Sloth and spiritual depression. Psychoanalysis and the Seven Deadly Sins. NAAP Continuing Education Series, New York City, April, 2007. 

  • The replacement child: A theological and psychoanalytic perspective. Mid-Atlantic American Academy of Religion, New Brunswick, New Jersey. March, 2003. 

  • A touch of evil. American Psychological Association, Section 39 (APA), Washington, D.C. April, 2000.

Select Publications

  • Barbre, C. (2014). Django unchanged: Identification with the oppressor and cycles of traumatic hauntings and reenactments. In M. Charles & M. O'Loughlin, Fragments of trauma: The social production of suffering. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

  • Barbre, C. (2014). Review essay: The Freud-Rank letters. The Journal of Beharvioral Sciences.

  • Barbre, C. (2012). Confusion of wills: Otto Rank's contribution to an understanding of childism. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 72, 2.

  • Barbre, C. (2011). Review essay. The fundamentalist mindset. The Journal of Religion and Health, 50(3), 521-526.

  • Barbre, C., Cooper, C., & Weiner, M. (2005). Psychotherapy and religion: Many paths, one journey. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

  • Roland, A., Ulanov, B., & Barbre, C. (2004). Creative dissent: Psychoanalysis in evolution. New York: Praeger-Greenwood Press.

  • Barbre, C. (2004). Replacement religion. In M. Weiner, Cooper, & C. Barbe (Eds.), Psychotherapy and religion: Many paths, one journey. Lantham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

  • Barbre, C. (2004). The wages of dying: Catastrophe transformed. In F. Kelcourse (Ed.), Human faith and development (2nd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press.

  • Barbre, C. (2003). The creative dilemma: The influence of Schiller's aesthetics on the life and work of Otto Rank. In A. Roland, B. Ulanov, & C. Barbe (Eds.), Creative dissent: Psychoanalysis in evolution . London: Praeger-Greenwood Press.

  • Barbre, C. (2003). Death anxiety in the treatment of children in poverty. In D. Liechty (Ed.), Death and denial: Interdisciplinary perspectives on the legacy of Ernest Becker. London: Praeger-Greenwood Press.

  • Barbre, C. (1999). Beyond Prometheus: A reevaluation of psychoanalytic pedagogy and morality. In R. Prince (Ed.), The Death of psychoanalysis. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.

  • Barbre, C. (1997). Reversing the crease: Nietzsche's influence on Otto Rank's concept of creative will and the birth of individuality. In J. Golomb, W. Santabiello, & Lehrer (Eds.), Nietzsche and depth psychology. New York: State University of New York Press (SUNY).

Professional Memberships

  • The University of the State of New York, Education Dept. (L.P.)
  • Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (Clinical Member, ACPE)
  • National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NCPsyA)
  • The American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis, Inc. (Board Member; By-Laws Committee)
  • American Psychological Association Division 32 (APA)
  • Council of Learned Journals Editors
  • Center for the Study of Terrorism (John Jay College)
  • American Academy of Religion (AAR)
  • The Academy of American Poets (Associate Member)
  • Advisory Board Member, Forma
  • Board Member, The Journal of Religion and Health

Courses Taught

  • PY/PC210-- Research Clerkship Generalist
  • PC210-- Research Clerkship: Child and Adolescent
  • PY417--Professional Development Group
  • PY450—Professional Ethics
  • PY/PC460-- Basic Intervention: Psychodyanmics
  • PY/PC490-- Advanced Intervention: (Interpersonal) Psychodynamics
  • PY/PC491-- Advanced Intervention: (Intrapsychic) Psychodynamics
  • PY504-- Intermediate Therapy Practicum Seminar
  • PY/PC543-- Advanced Play Therapy
  • IP602-- Psychology of Political Systems
  • PY609-- Professional Development Seminar
  • PY631-5 Dissertation Proposal and Maintenance I, II, III, IV
  • PY712-- Psychology of Aging
  • PY72x-- Foundations in Psychology and Spirituality
  • PY73x-- Psychology and Spiritual Assessment


Q: Please describe your teaching philosophy.

A: In his classic text Ideology & Curriculum (1979), Michael Apple asks curriculum workers to consider three crucial questions: Whose knowledge is found within the curriculum? Why is this knowledge being selected for this particular group? And who benefits from this curriculum? That is, he asks us to focus on the “hidden” interests located within the selection and organization of school knowledge. Such questions as posed by Apple resonate with my teaching philosophy in that in my interaction with students and colleagues, my hope is that we can not only glean a working knowledge of the subject matter that each course and curriculum demands, but also discern together the “hidden” curriculum located in lived experience, couched in the spontaneous discovery of our shared worlds. 

As a clinician and teacher in Harlem for nearly 20 years, I found that to teach courses in adult, child, and adolescent development, and psychodynamics in general, meant to identify the life-world of children and families living in economically poor communities as a curriculum in itself. This has meant that my teaching experience must be grounded in a relational context where learning proceeds from a mutuality of encounters—or, as Emily Dickinson says well, “My business is circumference.” Although HFI does not overlook the effects of poverty, racial discrimination, and oppression, I learned from my work with Margaret Morgan Lawrence, M.D. that I too do not agree with the “culture of poverty” perspective which has “tended to see the poor as an almost separate culture, often ignoring the large body of common cultural assumptions which they share with the rest of the population and generally oblivious to the presence of ego strength among even the very poor”(Lawrence, 2008). My work in disenfranchised communities has taught me that as much as there is suffering and distress, there is also energy, ego strengths, health, and plenum. In contrast to an emphasis on deficit, Paula Lawrence Wehmiller—echoing my teaching philosophy especially in regard to child and adolescent work—underscores that “Heroes in children’s literature are a source of strength for the developing self-image of a child. The individualized, teacher-written book presents the child himself as the hero… the teacher offers the child her perception of his positive energy… through her choice of words, settings, methods—the teacher communicates to that child her knowledge of his or her needs”(Lawrence, 2008). Indeed, kindred to Wehmiller’s view, I have endeavored to offer to students the self-image of their own possibility and potential-- a shared perception of their positive and potential energy. Resonating with Wehmiller’s analogy of the “teacher-written book” which symbolizes the child’s own story within a family, school, and community, so too I view the interaction between teachers, students, therapists, and children/adolescents/families as “living human curriculums”—a description drawn from Anton Boison’s view of each person as a “living human document.” What does this perspective mean, this image convey? 

Each component of Boison’s phrase guides my perspective toward relational interventions as a teacher and therapist. The term, living implies that each person is unique, as every living thing is diverse and varied. A person is also subject to stages of development, and is ever-changing. In addition, to be human suggests that a person is affected by many possibilities that include spiritual, psychological, and physical determinants, all of which influence each other. Finally, the term, document, implies that each person has a story, a “text” that needs to be engaged and addressed by others-- a living and dynamic account presented to us by a person’s life-world. Hence, by substituting “curriculums” into this description, I am suggesting that each person is not only a living (unique and changing) human (influenced by internal and external dynamics) document (story), they also carry a way of knowing that is lived out and woven into their lives. My goal as a teacher is to help students connect that individual way of knowing with others, as well as with the written texts inherent in any course of study. In a larger context, “curriculum” carries epistemological connotations about how people see the world, and how they access knowledge. However, “living human curriculums” may also include stories that are not yet known, worlds that are not yet included according to more narrow standards. We know the world through more than a given text of information that may be privileged by one group and not another. Hence, curriculum includes the politics of learning and the relationship of power to our stories. 

My own teaching seeks to place the story of psychotherapy and psychology within larger cultural spaces, and thus shift the terrain of therapeutic change in terms of a broader curriculum—a view that acknowledges the fact that the therapeutic relationship includes a viable discourse rather than simply the dissemination of a covert ideology. In fact T. Dorpat (1997) surmises that in Freud as with many other analysts following him, "there developed a vertical split in the ego in which one complex of conscious attitudes upholding values of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination was separated by the defense of disavowal from a largely unconscious complex of controlling and authoritarian attitudes contradictory to his consciously avowed values" (p. xix). Such a split, he thinks, often remains unbridged today in psychoanalytic work, and continues to polarize the value of interpretative interventions from an overarching and underlying tendency toward "stereotyped approaches" where the analyst manipulates a client into compliance with his or her clinical theories, usually in the form of the analyst's initial formulation about the patient (Peterfreund, 1983; Barbre, 1999). Approaches such as these become covert methods of interpersonal control where the client's self-determination is co-opted and undermined. This can also happen in the classroom. With such power comes a greater possibility of the abuse of power, and the viability of psychoanalytic evolution depends not only on the recognition and elimination as much as possible of the more egregious manipulations of human beings, but on discerning hidden dynamics of ideological indoctrinations as well. 

Nancy Schnog's words (1997) act an as introduction to my work as a teacher and educator: we must "develop the concerns of these earlier critics by focusing on the power of the psychological profession to naturalize oppressive standards of social adjustment, to perpetuate social inequities, to legitimate dangerously personalized visions of pain, and to speak, for better or worse, to widespread needs for self-disclosure and solace (my italics)" (p.xiii). Lawrence Josephs observes that many preconceptions continue to "afflict" current analysts, and arise from what he calls a "Freudian superego", an internalized image of Freud, although often caricatured, that nevertheless acts as a persecuting and austere ideal. Such pedagogical remnants, he concludes, must be alleviated to give practitioners "the inner freedom to learn from experience" (p.151). This kind of learning includes the study of “living human curriculums.” Such a hermeneutic circle of understanding has led me to the conclusion that psychotherapy reflects many instances that encourage a reassessment and reconstructive view of the way psychotherapy unfolds into the life-world of children, families, and adults in clinical sessions, and this has also influenced a willingness to learn from the stories of my students--their lived knowledge--as I teach in the classroom. How and why do psychological concepts gain cultural authority and lose explanatory power at particular historical moments—especially when confronted with “living human curriculums”—becomes a crucial area of discernment. Whereas many psychotherapeutic modalities are viewed as privileged knowledge about the life of the individual and community, I have found that a democratizing of psychoanalytic knowledge is possible through its openness to a larger frame of reference and experience. That kind of openness is what I seek as a teacher encountering the lived experiences of students, colleagues, and practitioners. 

As a teacher, I am aware of the powerful interaction between cognitive and emotional development. The importance of psychodynamic treatment for developing a coherent sense of self may translate in the classroom into a burgeoning, playful, symbolic capacity, such as needed for self-growth and each student’s discovery of his or her own unique idiom. That is the living curriculum I hope to discern and help students recognize in their works and days. It tends toward a midwifery analogy-- helping the student labor to bring into the world the birth of his or her own individuality with others. As a child therapist I have learned that a primary part of the therapeutic experience is the child’s growing understanding of their own mind and feelings, the mind and feelings of others and the interactions and tensions between these phenomena. This developing reflective capacity also directly supports the child’s ability to engage in higher order thinking, feeling, and other abstract cognitive activities. In comparison, D.W.Winnicott once said that “what I say about children could be applied to adults as well.” Indeed, my hope and goal in working with students is they too will explore ways that we can discover and renegotiate the hidden curriculums found in the unfinished stories of our days. 


Ahlskog, Gary and Sands, Harry, The Guide to Pastoral Counseling and Care. Madison CT: Psychosocial Press, 2000. Apple, Michael, Ideology and Curriculum, New York: Routledge, 1979. 

Barbre, Claude, “Beyond Prometheus: A Reevaluation of Psychoanalytic Pedagogy and Morality,” in The Death of Psychoanalysis, ed. by Robert M. Prince. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1999. 

Dorpat, T. L., Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation, and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997. 

Josephs, L., “The Freudian Superego,” in Journal of Religion and Health, 2:149-153, 1994 

Lawrence, Margaret, “Creativity and the Family,” Plenty Good Room: The Collected Papers of Margaret Morgan Lawrence, M.D. Selected and Introduced by Claude Barbre (in preparation), 2008. 

Peterfreund, E., The Process of Psychotherapy. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1989. 

Pfister, J. and Schnog, N., eds., Inventing the Psychological. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.