Alumni Spotlight: Maurice Apprey, EDM '06

Alumni Spotlight: Maurice Apprey, EDM '06

Posted 9.20.06

Weatherheadlines recently spoke with Dr. Maurice Apprey, EDM '06 about life after Weatherhead, the impact of the EDM program, and the mottoes by which he lives his life.

Q: What is your current title and position?
I am tenured in a Full Professorship as Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia; I also currently hold the interim position of Dean of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Q: From where do you originally hail?
I was born in Ghana, West Africa.

Q: From which schools were your degrees awarded?
I hold the designation of FIPA (Fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association) which means I completed the full training in Child, Adolescent and Adult psychoanalyses. I trained with Anna Freud in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis at the Hampstead Clinic, now The Anna Freud Centre in London and completed my adult training at the New York Freudian Society where I am a Training and Supervising analyst. I also hold a PhD in Human Science from Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco where I specialized in qualitative research methods of Phenomenology and Hermeneutics under the phenomenological research psychologist, Amedeo Giorgi.

What this means is that, as a clinician, I am interested in observing and transforming conscious and unconscious behavior. As a researcher, I want to keep the tension between pure description and interpretation unresolved in my investigative work.

Q: What brought you to Weatherhead?
At Weatherhead, I added the dimension of Social Change Management to my repertoire in order to fine-tune my account of conflict resolution and other peacemaking efforts.

Q: What challenges, if any, did you find working full time while completing a doctoral program?
I sleep very little, 3-5 hours a night and have worked long hours for decades; and so the rigorous demands of the EDM program and an academic career were par for the course, as it were.

Q: What was your EDM research project and how was it relevant to your current position?
The EDM research projects were a continuation of my ongoing scholarly work in social change management. They served purposes of continuation and synthesis.

Q: What is your most memorable Weatherhead memory?
This will be my unforgettable memory: the caliber of EDM students with years of experience in the private and public sectors, students with diverse and international viewpoints interrogating a problem from multiple angles with the facilitation of a seasoned or equally engaged faculty member.

Q: Do you have any advice for current Weatherhead students?
Take the time to conceptualize your account of management, articulate the problems that intrigue you and find ways to generate new knowledge with two or three research praxes that can potentially assist you in that cause. Three years is not enough to go beyond that; nor is it realistic to try to master everything.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
With very little time to spare, I teach human development to candidates in psychoanalytic training in Washington, DC, psychoanalytic metapsychology to candidates in Istanbul and I enjoy Wagnerian opera. One of my next projects is to write a book on human development using the text of Wagner’s four-opera Ring Cycle to describe what dysfunctional families do. I am on my way to Toronto in a few days to watch my seventh full length Ring Cycle in three continents. You may call me a Ring Head, a nickname for devout Wagner followers.

Q: What is the best book you have recently read or are reading?
I have this terrible habit of reading multiple things for different purposes at about the same time. So I am finishing a book that I found in an airport bookstore, by a Lacanian psychoanalyst entitled, Why Do Women Write More Letters Than They Post? At the same time, I am reading the poetry of Amiri Baraka because I am about to introduce him at a public lecture. However, my greatest joy is to read a book by Gaston Bachelard , Maurice Merleau-Ponty or Edmund Husserl.

Q: Do you have a mentor or a particular inspiration?
A grandfather who taught me discretion behind closed doors; a grandmother who helped me appreciate strong women; a mother who showed me by example that when your job is ‘large’ you do it all; and a father who taught me how to laugh. This collective source of inspiration has enabled me to bounce back in the face of adversity and continues to be the impulse behind my resilience.

Q: Do you have a personal motto or tagline?
I have two: Following the poet Wallace Stevens: “We live in the description of a place but not in the place itself.” And, my own appropriation of the Resurrection: “Every new human engagement potentially holds the possibility for a fresh start.”


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