Illuminate. Discover. Change.

Event Details

Contemporary Freudian Society

OPENING DOORS, CREATING CHANGE “Discovering Conceptual Bridges between Psychoanalysis/Psychodynamic Therapies and the Black Liberation Movement FRIDAY ONLY

One Session Program (4 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Drs. Anton Hart and Alan Nathan; and the documentary “Hands UP” by Zinhle Essamuah
Date: Friday, November 17, 2017
Location: American University, School of International Studies, Founder’s Room, Lower Level (West Side of Intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Ave with parking underground, Washington, DC
Time: 5:00-9:00pm

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies posit unconscious fantasies of the “racialized other” that stimulate fear, envy, and hatred. These fantasies manifest in dehumanization, violence, and domination of the racialized other. The Black Liberation Movement has taken various shapes and forms for centuries in its efforts to overcome racism. Most recently the Black Lives Matter movement has brought the systemic trauma of racism to national attention. The Black Liberation Movements are informed by their own sociopolitical, historical, and spiritual conceptualizations of the unconscious narratives that perpetuate racism and inform psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical liberation.

In this conference we hope to build a conceptual bridge that highlights the ways that each discipline is looking at the same things with the same concerns about the dehumanizing effects of racial trauma even as we look through different lenses. On this conceptual bridge we also hope to discover mutually enriching ideas about the experience of psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical liberation. We will explore how this type of collaboration can be applied to our clinical work, training programs, and cross-disciplinary working relationships.

The documentary film Hands Up by Zinhle Essamuah presents the viewer with the trauma of racism manifest in police violence after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and also focuses on the community and its use of spiritual resources in response to that trauma.  In this film we witness ways that the black community reclaimed its human identity and meaning in face of dehumanizing violence. We will have the privilege of dialoguing with the executive director of this documentary film.

Dr. Anton Hart, our keynote speaker, poses a critique of the multicultural competence model in its tendency to approach racial difference as a problem to be managed. Such an approach encourages the dissociation of authentic openness and vulnerability and deemphasizes the subjective and co-participatory aspects of engaging racial trauma and other matters of human difference. Dr. Hart, drawing on hermeneutic philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer’s notions of dialogue and of necessary loss, offers an alternative manner of engaging issues of race, difference and otherness, one that emphasizes the cultivation of curiosity and a stance of radical openness in the psychotherapeutic situation. Dr. Hart will address the inherent anxieties associated with talking about race and fighting racism, with attention to both individual and institutional defensive processes that tend to arise with this work. His keynote address will offer us a method to communicate with one another about the bridges we discover.

Dr. Alan Nathan’s presentation describes the piers and beam girders that can form the foundation of a bridge across the unconscious narratives of racism. He also presents the unconscious narratives that support the human potential for liberation from the destructive forces that drive racism and that make mutual recognition, transformation, and love of diversity possible. He draws from Freud and modern relational psychoanalytic perspectives as well as from black scholars such as Frederick Douglas and spiritual leaders such as Walter Earl Fluker that inform the Black Liberation Movement. He will provide vignettes related to his clinical work and his experience participating in racial justice work to exemplify his ideas.

The premise of this program is that practitioners of psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic therapies can benefit from understanding Black Liberation perspectives on the unconscious, racism, trauma and healing. We will provide opportunities for the sharing of differing and complementary perspectives in large and small groups. The conference will be comprised of a keynote address by Dr. Anton Hart, a paper presentation by Dr. Alan Nathan, the viewing of a documentary on Ferguson, and conversations among the presenters, the executive producer of the documentary, panelists/activists and attendees.

Program Schedule

Friday, November 17th

4:45 – Registration

5:00 – 5:15 – Welcome and Introduction

5:15 – 6:00 –  Alan Nathan Presentation

6:00 – 6:30 – Film “Hands Up”

6:30 – 7:00 – Discussion: Alan Nathan, the Film’s Executive Producer, and a panelist TBA

7:00 – 7:30 – Large group discussion

7:30 – 7:45 – Break

7:45 – 8:15 – Small groups

8:15 – 9:00 – Large group discussion – Wrap-up


Zinhle Essamuah is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. Zinhle has a special interest domestic and international conflict reporting. Through SimplyZinhle Productions, LLC she has worked as a multimedia shooter, producer and editor. Her most recent project, The Minority Vote, is a documentary film following minority, millennial voters during the 2016 Presidential Election.  She attended The George Washington University as a Fellow, where she earned her M.A. in Media and Strategic Communication and Documentary Filmmaking. Hands Up is her first film.

Anton H. Hart, PhD, FABP, is a Training and Supervising Analyst and on the Faculty of the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. A member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) and the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), where he is the Chair the Section on the Diversities of the Department of Psychoanalytic Education. A Fellow of the American Board of Psychoanalysis, he supervises at Teachers College, Columbia University and at the Derner Institute of Adelphi University. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Psychoanalytic Psychology and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He teaches in the Department of Psychology at Mt. Sinai/St. Luke’s Hospital, at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, and at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. He has published papers on issues of mutuality, disruption and safety, and on issues of otherness, diversity and racism. He served as Associate Co-producer for the film, “Black Psychoanalysts Speak,” in which he was also featured. He is a Co-Founder of the White Institute’s Study Group on Race and Psychoanalysis, now in its third year. He is completing a book, to be published by Routledge, entitled, Beyond Oaths or Codes: Toward Relational Psychoanalytic Ethics. He is in full-time private practice in New York City.

Dr. Alan Nathan earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Long Island University, CW Post in 2001. He was associate professor with the American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University clinical psychology doctoral program for over ten years.  Dr. Nathan has worked as a psychotherapist in various community mental health settings. He has been in private practice since 2006. Dr. Nathan specializes in trauma recovery work. He has taught diversity courses and is particularly interested in racial justice and multicultural work. Dr. Nathan is an advanced candidate in the adult psychoanalytic training program with the Contemporary Freudian Society (CFS). He is on the diversity committee with CFS. He and his wife are part of the Racial Justice Task Force with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Define “the conceptual bridge” and describe its application to the study of the trauma of racism, healing and liberation, and interdisciplinary cooperation
  2. Enumerate two points of potential interdisciplinary enrichment between that Black Liberation Movement’s and psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapies’ conceptualizations of unconscious narratives that perpetuate racial trauma.
  3. Discuss two points of potential interdisciplinary enrichment between Black Liberation Movement’s and psychoanalytic/psychodynamic theories of healing and liberation.


Continuing Education Contact Hours:

“This program meets the requirement for continuing education whose content area is cultural diversity, as dictated by the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists.”

Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, and The Contemporary Freudian Society. MedChi is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. MedChi designates this live educational activity for a maximum of (4-Friday) AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  The Contemporary Freudian Society is authorized by MedChi to grant CMEs for this program.  Upon completion of this program and online survey, participants will be granted certificates for (4-Friday) AMA PRA Category 1 credits.

Psychologists: The Contemporary Freudian Society is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The Contemporary Freudian Society maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  CE credits are granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program and completed evaluation form.  It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements.  Upon completion of this program and evaluation form, participants will be granted (4-Friday) CE credits.

Social Workers: The Social Work Boards of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will grant continuing education credits to social workers attending a program offered by an APA authorized sponsor, provided they comply with the requirements stated above for Psychologists.

Professional Counselors:  The Boards of Professional Counselors in the District of Columbia and Virginia will accept continuing education credits for Counselors attending a program offered by an APA-authorized sponsor, provided they comply with the requirements stated above for psychologists.  The Board of Professional Counselors in Maryland will accept CE credits granted by a program that is recognized by the Maryland Board of Examiners for Psychologists and Social Workers.

Who should attend

The instructional level for this activity is advanced.  Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and clergy, activists and others with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.


CFS Members $120
Non-CFS Members $150
Candidates and Students with Valid ID $15
No Refunds
For further information regarding this course, please contact Connie Stroboulis at or 732-446-4867.
Share This Page: