The Vanishing of Culture in Psychoanalysis: History and New Directions - Chris Christian, PhD (Live)

April 5, 2024

FRIDAY NIGHT GUEST LECTURE SERIES 2023-24: Yasmin Roberts Memorial Lecture 

Continuing education information to follow 

There was a period in the United States during the 1930s and 40s that was marked by a vibrant interest in how the fields of cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis could inform each other. By the 1990s the psychoanalytic landscape had changed considerably, and any interest in cultural psychoanalysis appeared to have all but vanished. Candidates entering analytic training during this period faced two pernicious biases that converged into a type of conventional wisdom with a deleterious impact on training: On the one hand there was the implicit belief that any interest by a candidate in cultural issues suggested a less serious interest in psychoanalysis; and on the other, there was the belief that psychoanalysis was simply irrelevant to the suffering of minoritized populations. In this presentation, after revisiting the decline of cultural psychoanalysis in the United States, the author will discuss the treatment of a patient presenting with a culture bound syndrome known as ataque de nervios. The treatment serves as a challenge to biases within psychoanalysis and about psychoanalysis. The presentation will conclude by arguing for a new paradigm of cultural theorizing.

Target Audience

______ Introductory ______ Intermediate ___x___ Advanced

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the history of the early movement of cultural psychoanalysis in the United States.
  2. Identify historical antecedents and current misconceptions that contribute(d) to the marginalization of Latinx populations from psychoanalysis.
  3. Critique a culture-bound syndrome, known as ataque de nervios.
Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
04/05/2024 - 6:30pm EDT
Event ends: 
04/05/2024 - 8:00pm EDT

Chris Christian, PhD, is the editor-in-chief of the journal Psychoanalytic Psychology. He obtained a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; earned a certificate in psychoanalysis from the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR), where he is past dean, and a training and supervising analyst. His most recent book, Psychoanalysis in the Barrios: Race, Class, and the Unconscious, with Patricia Gherovici, is the winner of the distinguished 2020 Gradiva Award, and winner of the American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize. He is co-editor of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Conflict with Morris Eagle and David Wolitzky; and co-editor of The Second Century of Psychoanalysis: Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action with Michael J. Diamond. He is an assistant clinical professor, Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry; faculty at the Western New England Psychoanalytic Society; professor in the Contemporary Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program, Ramon Llull University (Barcelona); and member of the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies; the American Psychoanalytic Association; and the International Psychoanalytical Association. His forthcoming book is titled: Psychoanalysis and the Corporeal: New Studies on the Psyche-Soma Connection, Somatization, and Body Dysmorphia to be published by Routledge.

Austen Riggs Center Inc. adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. All those at Austen Riggs Center involved in the planning of this activity, including the presenter(s) listed above, report they have no relevant financial relationships with an ineligible company*.

The views and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Austen Riggs Center.


* An ineligible company is any entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.



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