OPUS: Eric Miller Memorial Lecture 2021

given by Edward R. Shapiro, M.D.

discussant Dr. Tara weeramanthri

“Why do I have to do this?”
Institutions, Integrity, and Citizenship

On ZOOM — 13th March 2021, 18:30 to 20:30 UK time (13:30 to 15:30 EST time)

Price: £35

Enquiries click here

Zoom links will be sent to people after registration.


A functioning democratic society needs effective and committed citizens. Without their active engagement, chaos and irrationality reign and authoritarianism flourishes. But for any of us, discovering and claiming a citizen voice on behalf of others is a challenge – and a risk. “Why do I have to do this?” is a question any citizen might ask when facing an impulse to act in response to society’s needs. Answering that question requires attention to issues of identity: “Who am I, what do I stand for, and why now do I feel moved to act”? Who we are is shaped by our contexts: our families, the institutions we join, and the missions they carry out on behalf of society. When we take up the role of citizen, we inevitably represent those contexts and the values that have shaped us.

But our contexts are in transition; their links to society’s needs have become unclear. In this lecture, Dr. Shapiro will review our current social turmoil and the challenges we face, outlining a developmental pathway to the role of citizen and focusing on the impact of social systems — families and institutions — on identity.

Ed Shapiro, MD is the Former Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA. A psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, family researcher, and organizational consultant, he is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. An organizational consultant for over forty years, Dr. Shapiro has consulted with hospitals, mental health clinics, law firms, and family businesses, focusing on organizational transition, mergers, organizational structure and the dilemmas of authority, management and delegation. He has coached executives in health care, law, education and business. Ed is the author of Finding a Place to Stand: Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders and Citizens (Phoenix, 2020) and co-author (with A. Wesley Carr) of Lost in Familiar Places: Creating New Connections between the Individual and Society (Yale, 1991). Additional information: edwardrshapiro.com.

Dr Tara Weeramanthri is an honorary consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist in South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM), working with trauma. She was a substantive consultant in SLAM for twenty-seven years in the Southwark child and adolescent mental health services and before that was a consultant in Newham in East London. She is also a family and systemic psychotherapist. She has a particular interest in the impact of trauma and abuse on children and young people and developed a local treatment service for this group, the Hope Project. She contributed at a national level to policy work on sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and child protection. She trained at the Tavistock Clinic and got involved in group relations through that route. She is a long standing member of OPUS and was part of the OPUS staff management group for some years.