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 an Associate 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.
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.
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