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Nov 13

Trauma in the Immigrant Context: A Psychoanalytic Perspective – Usha Tammala-Narra, Ph.D.

November 13, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

About the presentation:

Morning Session:
Racial Trauma Amidst the Pandemic
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. The COVID-19 pandemic is only the most recent reminder of social, economic, and health disparities, based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, income, and employment. This paper explores the dynamics of race and racism within the context of the pandemic and what the pandemic reveals about race and racial trauma amidst this ongoing global crisis.

Afternoon Session:
Intersecting Interpersonal and Sociocultural Trauma
The experience of trauma, both collective and interpersonal, among racial minority immigrants is multilayered and complex. This presentation will explore the experience of intersecting racial trauma and interpersonal violence among first generation immigrants and their children. 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. Clinical illustrations will guide the translation of theoretical points to practice.

About the speaker:

Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D. is a Professor of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology and Director of Doctoral Training in Counseling Psychology at Boston College. She is also in Independent Practice. Her research and scholarship focus on immigration, trauma, race, and cultural competence and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. She has served as the chair of the Multicultural Concerns Committee and Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors 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. Dr. Tummala-Narra is an Associate Editor of the Asian American Journal of Psychology, Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Senior Psychotherapy Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and with APA Division 39 and Division 45. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy, published by APA (American Psychological Association) Books in 2016. Her edited book, Trauma and Racial Minority Immigrants: Turmoil, Uncertainty, and Resistance, was published by APA Books in January 2021.

Learning Objectives

  • The audience will be able to explain the impact of collective and interpersonal trauma on complex traumatic stress
  • The audience will identify ways to address multiple layers of racial minority survivors’ traumatic stress, that rooted in racial trauma and within group marginalization
  • 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.

Planning Committee

  • Dr. Judi B. Kobrick
  • Dr. Hazel Ipp
  • Dr. Hilary Offman
  • Dr. Sarah Turnbull
  • Dr. Gary Rodin
  • Dr. Brent Willock
  • Dr. Gordon Yanchyshyn

Schedule of the Day

10:00 a.m. Introduction
10:05 a.m. Morning Session:  Dr. Tummala-Narra
11:00 a.m. Audience Discussion
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch
1:00 p.m. Afternoon Session:  Dr. Tummala-Narra
2:00 p.m. Audience Discussion
3:00 p.m. Closing remarks


November 13, 2021
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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online via Zoom


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