Longing to Belong:
Explorations of Belonging and Not Belonging
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” — Maya Angelou
Sex, aggression, and desire have long been the staples of psychoanalytic discourse. We want to explore the experiences of belonging as a concept that warrants the same level of exploration, nuance, and complexity. Often those who are the most acutely aware of the benefits and costs of being a member of a collective are those who exist at the margins of society. This year’s topic, Longing to Belong: Explorations of Belonging and Not Belonging, will explore the topic of belonging through the lens of those who are perpetually cast as others: immigrants, sexual minorities, and the neurodivergent.
This course will examine the lengths to which people go to create community and shared experiences and how they resist the pressures to conform. On one hand, yearning to connect is implicit to belonging. On the other, belonging may impose unwelcome burdens as evident in experiences of suppression and masking, not to mention exclusion.
How do individuals manage to mourn shared spaces that were lost? Is it through creating facsimiles in unfamiliar and often hostile new territories? Is shared memory a boundary of belongingness? What does it mean when the professionals assigned to help actually question your capacity for connection and meaning making?
In contrast with desire or aggression, belonging draws attention to our relation as an individual to multiple others rather than to an other and is a diffuse rather than focused aspiration. What are the implications? Using a variety of source material including clinical discussion, short stories, theoretical papers, and poetry, these courses will explore how people navigate belonging across nations, generations, institutions, and psyches. In this sequence of seminars, we invite course participants to reimagine what inclusive spaces might look like within the consultation room, within our professional discourses, and at the societal level.
Click here for detailed information about individual ISG segments.
NCSPP is aware that historically psychoanalysis has either excluded or pathologized groups outside of the dominant population in terms of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and size. As an organization, we are committed to bringing awareness to matters of anti-oppression, inequity, inequality, diversity, and inclusion as they pertain to our educational offerings, our theoretical orientation, our community, and the broader world we all inhabit.
Maria Pilar Bratko
In this course where we are studying the forces of longing and belonging in our psychologies, we will assume a shared responsibility for championing social and economic justice in our engagement of the course material. We must also recognize and hold accountability for the ways that psychoanalysis has participated in excluding and pathologizing individuals considered less than in various ways.
During this course, we will explore the multi-layered experience of immigration, focusing on the complexities and contradictions inherent to this experience. We will also focus on the function of the collective as it pertains to intergenerational transmission and the role of processes, both clinical and social, in promoting the co-construction of a trauma narrative. We will discuss an analytic collaborative work and process of narrativization that allows the reclaiming of personal and collective geographies, thus (re)instituting an experience of belonging in the world with others. As a part of this, we will invite conversation and reflection about the social landscape and its effect on the constitution of emotional life, including the participants' backgrounds and experiences as social and cultural beings.
The contemporary political climate in the United States is increasingly hostile to, and poses an existential threat to, queer and transgender populations. Many analytic institutes only recently removed their binary gender requirement for candidate training cases. Neruodivergence is frequently ill-supported in schools and workplaces, which contributes to increased risk and negative psychological and developmental sequelae for neurodivergent individuals. This course will attempt to address these issues by clarifying the process of exclusion (and its impact) on these communities as well as engaging participants with critical theory to develop approaches to more humane clinical treatment of these communities.
At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Identify how three systems of oppression contribute to the immigrant’s experience of exclusion.
- Describe three ways that those with an immigrant identity can be excluded in treatment approaches.
- Describe 3 ways in which the impact of social, cultural, and emotional ruptures lead to a failure of an inner sense of home/belonging and consequent disconnection, dis-location, and/or fragmentation in immigrants.
- Explain 3 ways in which the role that belonging to a community plays in the restoration of emotional ruptures during the immigration process.
- Note 3-4 instances of how the history of Oedipus in psychoanalysis has fomented clinical bias toward queer and gender diverse patients (and clinicians).
- Describe 3 ways in which developmental models of the Oedipus complex prioritize specific subjectivities and communities, to the exclusion of others by casting the latter as incapable of symbolic thought, speech, self-reflection and self-representation.
- Abbass, A.A., Nowoweiski, S.J., Bernier, D., Tarzwell, R., & Beutel, M.E. (2014). Review of psychodynamic psychotherapy neuroimaging studies. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83, 142–147. http://doi.org/10.1159/000358841 [Deborah Melman]
- Colli, A, A. Tanzilli, G. Dimaggio, et al. (2014). Patient Personality and Therapist Response: An Empirical Investigation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(1), 102–108. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13020224.
- de Maat, S., de Jonghe, F., de Kraker, R., Leichsenring, F., Abbass, A., Luyten, P., & Dekker, J. (2013). The current state of the empirical evidence for psychoanalysis: a meta-analytic approach. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 21, 107–137. [Mary Tennes]
- Felsen, I. (2017) Adult-Onset Trauma and Intergenerational Transmission: Integrating Empirical Data and Psychoanalytic Theory, Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 12:1, 60-77, DOI: 10.1080/15551024.2017.1251185 [Adam/Carolina]
- Hayes, JA, Gelso, CJ, Goldberg, S., & Kivlighan, D.M. (2018). Countertransference Management and Effective Psychotherapy: Meta-analytic Findings. Psychotherapy, 55:496-507
- Lingiardi, V., Holmqvist, R., Safran, J. (2016). Relational Turn and Psychotherapy Research. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 52(2):275-312. [Robin Deutsch]
- Marmarosh, Cheri. (2012) Empirically Supported Perspectives on Transference in Psychotherapy Theory Research Practice Training, 49(3): 364-9 [Mary Tennes]
- Tittler, M. V., & Wade, N. G. (2019). Engaging White participants in racial dialogues: Group composition and dialogue structure. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 23(2), 75-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/gdn0000099
Carolina Bacchi, Psy.D., is an analyst at PINC and in private practice in Oakland, working with children and adults, as well as offering consultation for early career clinicians. Originally from Brazil, she is interested in issues of immigration and the interface between cultural dislocation, inner creativity, and psychoanalytic technique.
Maria Pilar Bratko, MFT, Ph.D., is a bilingual (Spanish–English) MFT in private practice working with individuals, couples, and adolescents who are bi- and multiracial, bilingual, and immigrants. She holds an M.A. in Feminist Clinical Psychology from New College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from Smith College, where she is adjunct faculty.
Benjamin Morsa, Psy.D., is the founder of Tide Pools, a group practice and training program for Psy.D. students, which offers psychoanalytic therapy and assessment. His interests include psychoeducational assessment with bilingual children, queer and transgender theory and experience, neuro-affirming approaches to assessment and psychoanalysis, constructions of masculinity, and critical autism studies.
This course is for clinicians with moderate to extensive experience in clinical work with some background in the principles of psychoanalytic approaches or laypersons with a strong academic or cultural interest in applied or clinical psychoanalysis.
LCSW/MFTs: Courses meet the requirements for 64 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPS, as required by the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences. NCSPP is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider Number 57020), to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCS, and/or LEPs. NCSPP maintains responsibility for this program /course and its content.
Psychologists: Psychologists receive credit through Division 39 upon completion of this course. Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, October 20, 2023: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, October 20, 2023: No refund provided.