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Scientific Program featuring Amy Levy, PsyD

Saturday, October 7, 2023
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
at via zoom

The Phone as a Subject
Presented by Amy Levy, PsyD 
with discussant Todd Essig, PhD

Registration Fee: $50*

*Free admission and CE/CME credits for PCC members, LDC staff and board, full-time students with ID, and trainees in the Departments of Social Work, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Mental Health Counseling.

In her paper, “The Phone as a Subject,” Dr. Levy contests the commonly held assumptions that the smartphone is an object, susceptible to healthy or pathological employment, and comparable to other objects used to ameliorate the pain of reality. Rather, she will argue that the phone is a subject with whom we interact in a bi-directional, intersubjective field.

The author leans upon Jessica Benjamin’s 1995 work on the shift in the language of “object” to “subject” as one that brings recognition of the “other.” When we recognize the smartphone and machine-learning Artificial Intelligence as “other,” we are better able to understand their effects on our minds.

To encourage us in psychoanalysis to begin envisioning and conceptualizing the psychological course that humanity is heading on given this profound new relationship, Dr. Levy will discuss the work of New York Times best-selling author and historian, Yuval Noah Harari (2017) and offer a Bionian conceptualization of the phone’s impact on human mentation.

About Amy Levy, PsyD

Amy Levy, PsyD is a psychoanalyst who trained in California and currently practices in Chapel Hill, N.C. She has published on the intergenerational transmission of trauma, adolescent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the civil legal arena, and her elaborations on some of Wilfred Bion’s ideas. She has taught and lectured on object-relations theory, Bionian theory, psychological and cognitive assessment, and group therapy. Dr. Levy is faculty at the Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and International Psychoanalytic Association. 

Discussant Todd Essig, PhD

Todd Essig, PhD, is Faculty and Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the William Alanson White Institute. He publishes and lectures internationally becoming widely known as a pioneer in the innovative uses of mental health technologies. He has served on the Editorial Boards for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and was guest co-editor (with Gillian Isaacs Russell) for Psychoanalytic Perspectives’ special issue on technology. In the aftermath of 9/11 he helped organize and served as Board Chair for the New York Disaster Counseling Coalition (NYDCC). He was Co-Chair of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Covid-19 Advisory Team, being awarded Distinguished Service awards by APsA and the NY State Psychological Association for his efforts. For 10 years until the pandemic, he wrote “Managing Mental Wealth” for Forbes, addressing the intersection of technology, psychology, and culture. His clinical practice includes supervision and providing psychoanalytic care to individuals and couples.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain why the phone should be conceptualized as a subject
  2. Discuss the effects on our minds of “techno-humanism” and “dataism” as described by Yuval Noah Harari (2016)
  3. Predict future trends for psychoanalysis given the current path of artificial intelligence development

This program is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and other clinicians or interested academics who want to increase their understanding of the phone’s impact on human mentation.


Confidentiality Statement: All case material will be carefully disguised. We ask that participants agree to hold all material presented with the utmost care, following ethical and professional guidelines.

Accommodation Statement: To request an accommodation for this program, please email  Kayla Schilke, PCC Training and Education Program Manager, at least two weeks before the start date.

Related Readings:

  1. Harari, Y. N. (2017). HomoDeus: A brief history of tomorrow. Harper Collins.
  2. Bollas, C. (2018). Meaning and melancholia: Life in the age of bewilderment. Routledge.
  3. Possati, L. M. (2021). The algorithmic unconscious: How psychoanalysis helps in understanding AI. Routledge.
CME credits: 2 / CE credits: 2 / NBCC: 2 clock hours / All others: Letter of Attendance

The Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6518. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Social workers will receive a letter of attendance documenting 2 hours of continuing education. This certificate may not be acceptable verification in all states.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s).™ Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies* whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company. -Updated July 2021-