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Chicago | Clinical Faculty, Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Scott Pytluk, Ph.D., ABPP



“I teach what I do and do what I teach.” As an active practitioner myself, I aim not only to teach the “nuts and bolts” of what a practitioner does, but more importantly, to cultivate in students a sensibility, an ethos, and a worldview that guides both clinical work and a psychologist’s professional identity. Not infrequently, the medium is the message. My teaching style and techniques include aspects of the way I view my work and actual ways in which I do my work with clients. Further, the worldview to which I referred above includes an appreciation for the ongoing role of scholarship and science in informing clinical work, along with critical reflection on what constitutes evidence, what constitutes desirable clinical outcome, what constitutes “the person,” and the dialectic between individual clinical expertise/experience and research data.

I believe that psychologists must be “citizens of the world” and, therefore, I encourage and require students to be aware of important issues and conflicts on the national and global stages as well as to understand how these impact the people they will help as psychologists and the profession of psychology itself. More importantly, being a citizen of the world and a psychologist requires that students develop a deep appreciation for and understanding of the sociocultural dimension of the lives of the individuals they will eventually serve. This means I aspire to model for students by virtue of a given course’s curriculum, the clinical examples I share, and my personal sensibility, a commitment to attending to issues of diversity/difference, oppression, marginalization, stigma, and resilience on par with any other dimension of human experience I attend to. Whenever I can, I emphasize the role of psychologists in social justice efforts beyond the consultation room. This is practical in the sense that my students need to be aware of the array of roles psychologists may play in their careers. It is also, I believe, reflective of values inherent to the worldview and project of the kind of psychologists we ought to be launching.

My teaching philosophy links to my belief that education at the graduate level ought to entail active learning, wherein students are not passive receptacles for unprocessed data. Instead, they are to be engaged critical thinkers. Therefore, I always keep in mind a persistent focus on the promotion of critical thinking skills and a spirit of impassioned inquiry in my students. As I believe the capacity to reflect is crucial for success as a practitioner, I work to cultivate an appreciation for and capacity in my students to reflect on course material and on themselves. As clinical work and learning must be collaborative, I aim to invite students to engage with me in creating a “transitional space” in the classroom within which creative learning can occur. This space is most often characterized by active discussion, frequently stimulated by Socratic questioning. My goal is for students both to generate their own questions, but also to gain a tolerance and appreciation for complexity. Socratic questioning fosters a process of unpacking of ideas that demonstrates complexity, but also invites synthesis of ideas and their component parts with ideas from students’ experience, other courses, and the like.

Class discussion often centers on the inherent dialectical tensions that underlie our work as professional psychologists, including examples such as theory and practice, the individual and the social, the intrapsychic and the interpersonal, the dominant group and the minority group, authority and mutuality, social constructionism and essentialism, the conceptual and lived experience, and knowing and not knowing. This final dialectic, “knowing and not knowing,” has become core to my work with students. Often in response to student anxieties that sometimes propel them to demand of me “the answer” or “the truth” and to provide it to them to swallow whole, I advocate the value of not knowing. I talk about ways in which knowing too much can foreclose inquiry and dialogue, ways in which certainty about what we do cannot do justice to the rich complexity of human lives. I illustrate both my own way of working with not knowing as well as the process of critical thinking by sharing aloud the steps in my own thinking process when I am unsure of something. I articulate the questions I ask myself, the links I attempt to make between the question at hand and my experience, associations that come to mind, etc. I believe students’ witnessing of this kind of process fosters learning via modeling or internalization and is an important mode of development for them.



  • Certified Psychoanalyst, Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis
  • Ph.D., Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology with specialization in Clinical Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • M.A., Counseling Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • B.A., Psychology, Brown University
Professional Memberships

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Psychoanalysis & Psychoanalytic Psychology (Division 39, American Psychological Association)
    Member-At-Large on Division 39 Board of Directors (2013-2019)
    Co-Chair, Sexualities & Gender Identities Committee, Division 39 (2006-2017)
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, (Division 44, American Psychological Association)
  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for the Psychoanalysis, Culture, & Society
  • International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy
Select Publications

Select Publications

  • Pytluk, S.D. (2017). Toxic Misogyny And (In?) Me. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3), 371-72.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (2014). “Psychoanalysis & Diversity”—A course that matters. The Psychoanalytic Activist, February 1, 2014 (The online newsletter for Section IX, Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility, Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association).
  • Pytluk, S.D. (2009). The Case of John: A generation gap in the clinical dyad. Psychoanalysis, Culture, & Society, 14(4), 350-355.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (2009). “Careful what you wish for”: Reply to commentaries. Psychoanalysis, Culture, & Society, 14(4), 371-374.
Select Presentations

Select Presentations

  • Pytluk, S.D. (April 5, 2019). Invited discussant for live supervision panel conducted by Division 39 Graduate Student Committee. Annual Spring Meeting of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis), American Psychological Association Philadelphia, PA.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (April 4, 2019). Presenter/Performer, Resonating in a Different Register: The Musical Dimensions of Psychoanalysis. Panel conducted at the Spring Meeting of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39), American Psychological Association. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (October 19, 2018). Invited Panelist discussing “queer” children, Roundtable: Not Nearly Good Enough: A Psychoanalytic Conversation About Transforming Our Children’s Uncertain Futures. Annual conference of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society. Rutgers University, NJ.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (August 5, 2016). Panelist, Voices from Both Sides – The Multicultural Journey of Educators and Students. Symposium conducted at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Denver, CO.
  • Pytluk, S.D. (along with Bloomfield, J.) (February 26, 2016). Presenter, What should we do? Responding to sexual boundary violations in the psychotherapeutic setting. Panel presented at the Caribbean Psychoanalytic Conference, Oracabessa, Jamaica.


  • 2018 “APA Division 39 Diversity Award”: Presented at Plenary Session at the Division 39 2018 Annual Spring Conference, New Orleans, LA . This award recognizes an individual who has made important contributions in expanding knowledge and advancing issues of diversity within psychoanalytic psychology and/or psychoanalysis.
  • 2015 “Annual Award for Outstanding Scholarly, Clinical, and Leadership: Contributions to Sexualities & Gender Identities in Psychoanalysis,” Sexualities  & Gender Identities Committee of APA’s Division 39 (Psychoanalysis)
  • 2008 University Fellow, “Outstanding Faculty Award,” Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University/Chicago
Professional and Academic Positions of Note

Professional and Academic Positions of Note

  • Professor, Illinois School of Professional Psychology
  • Director of Training & Staff Psychologist, Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Mt. Sinai Hospital
  • Director, Eating Disorders Center, Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana

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