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.
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
Saturday, November 18th
9:30 – Registration
10:00 - 10:10 – Introduction/Housekeeping
10:10 – 11:05 – Anton Hart keynote and Q & A
11:05 - 11:15 – Break
11:15 – 12:00– Small groups
12:00 - 1:15 - Lunch Break (on your own)
1:15 -1:45 – Alan Nathan Presentation
1:45-2:30 – Dialogue: Alan Nathan, Anton Hart, panelist with attendees
2:30-2:40 – Break
2:45-3:35 – Small groups
3:35-4:30 – Large Group and 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.
After attending this program, participants will be able to:
- Define “the conceptual bridge” and describe its application to the study of the trauma of racism, healing and liberation, and interdisciplinary cooperation
- 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.
- Discuss two points of potential interdisciplinary enrichment between Black Liberation Movement’s and psychoanalytic/psychodynamic theories of healing and liberation.
After attending this program, participants will be able to:
1) Explain the contrast between competency- and curiosity-based approaches to issues of diversity.
2) Describe two emotional risks associated with contact with people who are different from each other and two defenses typically deployed to deal with these risks.
3) Discuss the concepts of “radical openness” and “losing” as they pertain to dialogue across barriers of difference.
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 $200
Non-CFS Members $225
Candidates and Students with Valid ID $25
For further information regarding this course, please contact Connie Stroboulis at ConnieS3@aol.com or 732-446-4867.