THE MENTAL PAIN OF MINORITIES:
Amelioration and Treatment
NCSPP is honored to bring renowned psychoanalyst and poet Salman Akhtar, M.D., to the Bay Area. Dr. Akhtar posits that the discord between the subjectivity of minorities and their cultural “holding environment” (Winnicott, 1960) causes chronic mental pain or, in Freud’s (1926) terms, seelenschmerz. The unease felt by minorities arises from being stereotyped by a majority’s projections, as well as from the figure-ground discord in their own subjectivity. Seeking to anesthetize their distress, minorities might retreat from social participation, dream of times/places that could accord them majority status, and even discharge impotent rage via acts of terrorism.
Dr. Akhtar highlights opportunities for clinicians to listen for and respond to the effects of discrimination, marginalization, and misinterpretation that create psychic pain for those belonging to minority groups, with the hope of aiding healing and increasing mutual understanding. Dr. Akhtar addresses the role of societal interventions in diminishing mental pain through assuring minorities’ presence in history textbooks and committing their representation in embodied communal narratives. He highlights how judicial provisions, such as designating prejudicial acts of violence as hate crimes, likewise increases minorities’ sense of safety. These interventions are not only good for those individuals belonging to minority groups, they are beneficial for the society-at-large and raise all sections of society to a higher humanitarian ground. Additionally, Dr. Akhtar will discuss how collaborative efforts between individuals belonging to the minority and majority groups play an integral role in fostering greater positive change for all members of society.
Shifts and chasms in the larger culture will be further illustrated by clinical examples of how such phenomena reverberate in the individual psyche. Attention to the nuances of race, immigration status, and family structure will be introduced in the clinical material, providing an opportunity to demonstrate spaces where clinicians might offer a therapeutic response to psychic pain associated with the experience of being a minority, both inside and outside of the clinical encounter.
- Participants will be able to enumerate the problems experienced by minorities.
- Participants will be able to distinguish the ways in which majority plays a role in the creation of these problems.
- Participants will be able to identify ameliorative measures for resolving the pain of minorities in treatment.
Salman Akhtar, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. His 67 books include 15 solo-authored, as well as 40 edited books in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He received Best Paper of the Year Award from the Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association (1995), Edith Sabshin Award (2000) from the American Psychoanalytic Association, Sigmund Freud Award from the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians (2000), Kun Po Soo Award (2004), Irma Bland Award (2005) from the American Psychiatric Association, and, most recently, the prestigious Sigourney Award (2012) for outstanding contributions to psychoanalysis. Dr. Akhtar has delivered lectures around the world and his books have been translated into many languages. He has also published eight volumes of poetry and is Scholar-in-Residence at Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia.
Francisco J. González, M.D., is a personal and supervising analyst and faculty at PINC. He has published articles on film, sexualities, and socio-cultural process, and sits on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. He has a private practice in San Francisco and Oakland.
Annika Sridharan, MSW, Psy.D., is the Clinical Manager of Oakland’s Center for Wellbeing at the International Rescue Committee, a mental health program for survivors of torture, war, and refugee trauma. She has 20 years of experience providing/supervising treatment for migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking populations domestically and internationally.
This course is intended for clinicians with a wide range of experience early career to advanced. It is designed for mental health professionals who are interested in working with and thinking about the experience of minorities.
Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time. Transfer of registrations are not allowed.
For program related questions contact Susanna Bernat at email@example.com.
For questions related to enrollment, locations, CE credit, special needs, course availability and other administrative issues contact Michele McGuinness by email or 415-496-9949.