Education & Events

Getting Next to Ourselves: The Interpersonal Dimensions of Double-Consciousness with Michelle Stephens, PhD, LP.

Getting Next to Ourselves: The Interpersonal Dimensions of Double-Consciousness with Michelle Stephens, PhD, LP. Date: 2022-02-12 09:00 to 11:30
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Getting Next to Ourselves: The Interpersonal Dimensions of Double-Consciousness with Michelle Stephens, PhD, LP.

Saturday, February 12, 2022 9:00am to 11:30am
via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 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).

In this Alliance Master Class, Dr. Michelle Stephens will engage with participants in a close reading and discussion of her paper, "Getting next to ourselves: The interpersonal dimensions of double-consciousness”.  Dr. Stephens will elaborate upon her thinking since publication, facilitate discussion, and answer questions. All participants will receive a copy of the article upon registration. In order to provide an intimate, stimulating discussion, the group will be limited to 10 participants who can directly engage with the author.

Stephens, M. (2020).  Getting next to ourselves: The interpersonal dimensions of double-consciousness.  Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 56(2-3), 201-225.

This essay explores, in a speculative and reflective, rather than heavily researched mode, how we might think as psychoanalysts about the interpersonal dimensions of double-consciousness.  I begin by sharing briefly the convergence of ideas and disciplines that I am bringing together: the original conceptualization of double-consciousness in Black studies and critical race theory; and psychoanalytic discussions of intersubjectivity.  I then tell two stories, both involving my experiences of incidents of racial tension in educational settings.  These experiences inspired me to perform an informal online review of writing in the mental health field on guilt and rage—the powerful pair of feelings that seemed to emerge, repeatedly and consistently, in scenes of public racial discussion and confrontation.  I then turn to discussing “White double-consciousness” and “Black mirroring,” extending psychoanalytic interpretations and their application to the psychic dynamics of interpersonal, interracial relating.  Double--consciousness is placed in dialogue with understandings of the mirror stage (Jacques Lacan), intersubjectivity (Philip Bromberg), radical openness (Anton Hart), and thirdness (Jessica Benjamin).  Along the way, I also draw from the work of Frantz Fanon.  Ultimately, my goal is to think with and respond to a recent call by Lynne Layton for us to develop a psychoanalytic framework for thinking about White double-consciousness.

Michelle Stephens is a Professor of English and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, and the founding Executive Director of its Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.  Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she graduated from Yale University with a Ph.D. in American Studies. Among other works, she is the author of Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914 to 1962 (Duke University Press, 2005), Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis and The Black Male Performer (Duke 2014), Archipelagic American Studies, co-edited with Brian Russell Roberts (Duke 2017), and the exhibition catalog Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, co-edited with Tatiana Flores (Duke 2017). She is a graduate of the Licensure Qualifying Program at The William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology and a practicing psychoanalyst.



Learning Objectives

• To provide knowledge that will help practitioners develop two competencies--recognizing historical and institutional racism and addressing unacknowledged racial biases in themselves and in their patients.

• To increase participants' awareness and knowledge about the broader institutional context of racism, the aim being to override practitioners' unconscious resistances and denials of racism's continued reality.

• To develop clinicians' ability to recognize and address racism as it manifests in clinical encounters, in work team contexts, and in institutional contexts.

• To improve the therapeutic efficacy of interpersonal and clinical encounters shaped by racial biases and tensions.


Stephens, M.  (2018).  “Playing out” our “playing in the dark”: Racial enactments and  psychoanalytic institutions.  Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 66(5), 941-950.

Stephens, M.  (2018).  Islands of encounter: A reflection on the place of psychoanalysis.  Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 19(1), 69-72.

Roberts, B. R., and Stephens, M. (Eds.).  (2017).  Archipelagic American studies.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Flores, T., and Stephens, M.  (Eds.).  (2017).  Relational undercurrents: Contemporary art of the Caribbean archipelago.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Stephens, M.,  (2014).  Skin acts: Race, psychoanalysis, and the Black male performer.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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 $35 handling fee will be given up until one week before the presentation. 

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 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
Contact Email:
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