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SCIENTIFIC MEETING – An Evening on Improvisation

SCIENTIFIC MEETING - An Evening on Improvisation
New York. Amsterdam News. June 12, 2014.

Presenter: David Dorenbaum, MD

Discussant: Alex Dean, Musician and Music Educator

Wednesday, February 15, 2023: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

TPS Scientific Meeting: Open to All

** DISTANCE PARTICIPATION ONLY – Registration deadline is one week prior to the meeting. Preregistration is required.

This event will be recorded. To receive a copy of the recording please email the presenter directly at

“And so I believe in improvisation,” Derrida remarked in an unpublished interview, “and I fight for improvisation, but always with the belief that it is impossible.” Sara Ramshaw’s analysis of Jacques Derrida’s commentary on improvisation cites the “openly responsive dimension of improvisation, which, although never complete or absolute, glances toward the singular other and keeps alive the possibility of democracy, ethics, resistance and justice in society.” “Qu’est-ce qui arrive? What’s happening? What’s going to happen, Ornette, now, right now? […] This chance frightens me, I have no idea what’s going to happen.” With these words Derrida opens his text Play performed with jazz musician Ornette Coleman (Paris, July 1,1997)—a commentary on performative immediacy, and the question of inventiveness itself. A careful look at the characteristics of improvisation can give us an appreciation of jazz, and also of the spontaneous discourse that takes place in the psychoanalytic setting—for the work of psychoanalysis to be taken seriously, a kind of linguistic improvisation must take place.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation participants will be able to:

  1. This presentation will discuss the paradoxes that surround improvisation, not the least of which is its ordinariness and its extraordinariness in our lives.
  2. The presentation will examine the notion of musical—and psychoanalytic—improvisation as symbolic of democracy itself.
David Dorenbaum, MD

Psychoanalyst in private practice, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association and the Lacan Clinical Forum at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. His essays appear in various publications that have resulted from collaborations with artists and museums. He is a regular contributor to the newspaper El País.

This event is eligible for Section 1 CME credits (0.5 credits/hour). This event is an accredited group learning activity (section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certificate Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, approved by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA). The specific opinions and content of this event are not necessarily those of the CPA, and are the responsibility of the organizer(s) alone. As per the Royal College standard, each presentation provides a minimum of 25% interactive learning.

For more information about and for registration in the tps&i Extension Programs, Scientific Meetings, Training Programs, Study and Supervision groups and Special Presentations, please visit our website: or email

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