Adjunct Associate Professor in the History of Psychiatry and Certified Psychoanalyst
Orna Ophir is an Israeli clinical psychologist and a New York State licensed psychoanalyst who holds a PhD in History from the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. Alongside her clinical work, she has long been invested in the historical research of her field. Dr. Ophir studied art before becoming a clinician and for many years taught psychology and psychoanalysis in the Midrasha Academy of Art, in Israel. She has wide-ranging interests in the subjects of schizophrenia, medical humanities, and the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. During the many years that she worked as a clinician in a mental hospital, she engaged scholars and students in dialogues with clinicians, patients, and artists so as to explore the different ways in which mental pathologies have been constructed.
Orna Ophir is an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City and an Adjunct Professor in the Doctoral Studies Program in Clinical Psychology, Long Island University.
Her past research and publications focused on American psychiatry and psychoanalysis. She is the author of a Hebrew book, entitled On the Borderland of Madness: Psychoanalysis, Psychiatry, and Psychosis in Postwar America (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2013), which is forthcoming in an expanded English translation with Routledge Publishers in the Spring of 2015. The book offers a “history of the present” and traces the jurisdictional struggles between psychoanalysis and psychiatry in the study and treatment of schizophrenia during the neo-somatic revolution in Postwar American psychiatry.
In her new book project, entitled “Klein in America: the Marginalization of Melanie Klein’s Thought in America, 1924-2010,” Dr. Ophir is focusing on the migration of ideas between continents and academic and clinical cultures as exemplified by the selective hospitality with which Klein’s legacy was confronted with in the United States.
Orna Ophir was the guest editor of the recent special edition of the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social, and Integrative Approaches, devoted to the topic of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychotherapy in Institutional Settings – Then and Now. She has lectured widely in Israel, Europe, and the United States, most recently at NYU, Brown, Yale, and Princeton.
From 1997 through 2004, Orna Ophir was a freelance journalist for Yedioth Achronot, the daily Israeli newspaper. Some three hundred articles on issues of interest in the fields of psychology, education, etc., were published. From 2010 through 2012, she further contributed a weekly column under the title The Edge of the West to Yediot Achronot America.