César A. Alfonso, M.D.
Architecture, like psychoanalysis, evolved as a discipline broadening its scope beyond responsibility towards individuals to attend to the social needs of communities at large. As a psychoanalyst interested in the creative process, and having worked collaboratively with architects psychotherapeutically, I will share some insights specifically focusing on areas of convergence and the cross-fertilization between our fields of work. Drawing from psychoanalytic formulations that emphasize proxemics and the psychology of space, developmental milestones in adulthood, and theories that view generative altruism and prosocial behaviors as highly adaptive, I will discuss socially responsible designs of living spaces within this context. I will refer to the body of work of contemporary architects when using illustrative examples to show how the design of living spaces may psychologically impact individuals and the collective psyche of groups, cities, and nations. I will also describe the health promoting aspects of architecture beyond the dimension of Aesthetics.
César A. Alfonso, M.D., Editor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry (2020-present), is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, Adjunct Professor at the University of Indonesia, and Visiting Professor at Prince of Songkla University in Thailand, and at the National University of Malaysia. Born in Cuba, he spent formative years in Spain and Puerto Rico before pursuing undergraduate studies at Yale University, and graduate and postgraduate studies in medicine, psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and psychoanalysis at New York Medical College. Dr. Alfonso served as President of the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis (AAPDPP) in 2010-2012. He served as Chair of the Psychotherapy Section of the WPA for six years and is the current President of the World Federation for Psychotherapy. His recent work includes the study of the determinants of treatment adherence, biopsychosocial and aspects of suicide, the care of visually impaired persons, psychoanalysis and creativity, and the design and implementation of psychotherapy training programs worldwide. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the APA and is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, and of the AAPDPP. He served as a Teichner Scholar with Visiting Professorships at Northwell Staten Island and the University of Iowa. He has over 100 publications, including three edited books: Advances in Psychodynamic Psychiatry (Guilford Press, 2018), Suicide by Self-Immolation -Biopsychosocial and Transcultural Aspects (Springer Nature, 2021), and the 5th Edition of Tasman’s Psychiatry (Springer Nature, 2023). He works as Chief Psychiatrist at the Lighthouse Guild Behavioral Health Clinic.