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Examining the Intersection of Race, Immigration, and Trauma from a Psychoanalytic Lens with Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD

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Examining the Intersection of Race, Immigration, and Trauma from a Psychoanalytic Lens with Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD

Saturday, September 26, 2020 9:00am to 1:00pm
via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 4 continuing education credits.  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. This presentation also meets the requirements of WAC 246-809-620 (definition of recognized categories of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists and social workers). 

At its core, psychoanalysis is concerned with conflict and suffering, often that linked with trauma. Psychoanalysis engages with introspective inquiry into those parts of human experience that contain the deepest forms of intrapsychic pain, loss, and grief. Attention to these aspects of experience cannot be overstated when considering the experience of racial minorities and immigrants who continue to live and even sometimes thrive within a traumatic social framework within the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic is only the most recent reminder of social, economic, and health disparities in the U.S., based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, income, and employment. The experience of trauma, both collective and interpersonal, among racial minority immigrants is multilayered and complex. This presentation will explore the experience of racial trauma and interpersonal violence among first and second generation immigrants and their children, from a psychoanalytic lens. I will emphasize the importance of decolonizing existing theories in order to understand and approach the experiences of these survivors in contemporary, culturally informed psychoanalytic practice. 

Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. She is also in independent practice in Cambridge, MA. Her scholarship focuses on immigration, trauma, race, cultural competence, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. She has served as the chair of the Multicultural Concerns Committee in American Psychological Association Division 39 (Psychoanalysis), and as a member of the APA Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration, and the APA Task Force on Revising the Multicultural Guidelines. She is currently a Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors of APA Division 39, and a member of the Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the American Psychoanalytic Association. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy, published by APA (American Psychological Association) Books in 2016.


Conference Schedule:

9:00-10:30 Presentation and Q&A: Intersecting, complex trauma: Immigration, race, and interpersonal violence

10:30-12:00 Presentation and Q&A: Psychoanalytic psychotherapy with racial minority immigrant survivors in the current political climate

12:00-1:00 Clinical Case Presentation & Discussion

Learning Objectives:

  1. The audience will be able to explain the impact of collective and interpersonal trauma on complex traumatic stress.
  2. The audience will identify ways to address multiple layers of racial minority survivors’ traumatic stress, that rooted in racial trauma and within group marginalization.
  3. The audience will identify how the therapeutic process is influenced by the therapists’ and clients’ histories of trauma and ongoing experiences of racial injustice in the current sociopolitical climate.


Tummala-Narra, P. (2018). Considering culture from a psychoanalytic perspective. In R. Barsness (Ed.), Core competencies of relational psychoanalysis: A guide to practice, study, and research (pp. 283-301). London: Routledge.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2017). Discussion of “Emmy Grant: Immigration as repetition of trauma and as potential space”: Commentary on a paper by Veronica Csillag. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(4): 487-495.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2016). Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Tummala-Narra, P. (2016). Names, name changes, and identity in the context of migration. In J. Beltsiou (Ed.). Immigration in psychoanalysis: Locating ourselves (pp. 157-166). London: Routledge.

Tummala-Narra, P., & Claudius, M. (2016). Immigrant mothers. In S. Akhtar (Ed.)., New motherhoods (pp. 127-143). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2015). Cultural competence as a core emphasis of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 32(2): 275-292.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2014). Cultural identity in the context of trauma and immigration from a psychoanalytic perspective. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 31(3): 396-409.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2013). Psychoanalysis applied in a diverse society. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(3): 471-487.


Click here to view an interview (Psychoanalytic Authors on the Couch) by one of the Alliance's recent speakers, Anton Hart, with Usha Tummala-Narra.

Spiritual Diversity and Psychotherapy: The Merle Jordan Conference (2018)The Influence of Politics on Education. Smith College School for Social Work (2017)

The Influence of Politics on Education. Smith College School for Social Work (2017)

Financial Need: If you are experiencing financial need and would like to discuss reduced admission, please let us know within two weeks of the event. 

Participants: This event is designed for graduate level students in mental health and all mental health professionals from introductory to advanced levels.  The presentation is geared for clinicians who wish to advance their knowledge and expand their skill base in psychodynamic clinical work.

Refund Policy: Refunds less a $15 handling fee will be given up until one week before the conference. 

This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 4 continuing education credits.  Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.  Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles for Psychologists.  Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program.  If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to John Allemand at 253-509-8302.  There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.  Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program's content.  


Contact Person: 
John Allemand
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