FACING CLASS IN THE ANALYTIC FIELD
This course explores the class position of psychotherapists. We will examine socioeconomic and historical forces structuring our profession, from who we treat to how we think. As individual therapists and professional organizations endeavor to respond to urgent calls to address issues of diversity and social justice, we will argue that only by understanding structural dimensions of inequality and oppression can we respond effectively. Clinical psychoanalysis in the contemporary United States is inextricable from neoliberal ideology and late-stage capitalism; our privilege exists in this context. Psychotherapists often perform a managerial role, helping patients regulate themselves to succeed in a profoundly unjust, white supremacist society. Interrogating this context, our privilege, power, role, and resistance to change is vital to responding to the urgency of the current moment, thinking diverse subjectivities, and treating diverse clients. A lecture will be followed by clinically focused small groups.
NCSPP is aware that historically psychoanalysis has either excluded or pathologized groups outside of the dominant population in terms of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and size. As an organization, we are committed to bringing awareness to matters of anti-oppression, inequity, inequality, diversity, and inclusion as they pertain to our educational offerings, our theoretical orientation, our community, and the broader world we all inhabit.
Our commitment to equity and social justice form the impetus for and foundation of this course. We are concerned about long-standing oppressive tendencies within the analytic field and believe such tendencies demand urgent redress. It is our contention that only through understanding and addressing class in contemporary society, including reckoning with the class position of psychotherapists, can we realize our field's growing commitment to equity. That is, as NCSPP and other psychoanalytic organizations seek to foster greater diversity and inclusivity, including welcoming and elevating BIPOC voices, class politics must be addressed. Without reducing race to class in any way, we assert that questions of power, privilege, and equity cannot be separated from the political economy. The privileged class position of psychotherapists reinforces structural inequity and must consequently be examined.
At the end of this course participants will be able to:
- Discuss a critical perspective of class in the contemporary United States
- Review structural forces impacting their role as a clinician
- Analyze structural barriers to change, specifically with regards to diversity, within their professional communities and practices
- Plan greater facility discussing class and politics within their professional communities
- Dimen, M. (2006). Money, love, and hate: Contradiction and paradox in psychoanalysis. In L. Layton, N. C. Hollander, & S. Gutwill (Eds.), Psychoanalysis, class, and politics: Encounters in the clinical setting (pp. 29-50). New York: Routledge.
- Ehrenreich, B. (2020/1990). Fear of falling: The inner life of the middle class.
- Layton, L. (2020). Towards a social psychoanalysis: Culture, character, and normative unconscious process. New York: Routledge.
- Rizq, R. (2014). Perversion, neoliberalism and therapy: The audit culture in mental health services. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 19, 209-218.
- Ryan, J. (2006). ‘Class is in you’: An exploration of some social class issues in psychotherapeutic work. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 23, 49-62.
- Thrift, E. & Sugarman, J. (2018). What is social justice? Implications for psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 39, 1-17.
Benjamin Fife, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in San Francisco where he works with children, adults, couples. and families. He has also worked as a clinical supervisor at CPMC, the UCSF Infant-Parent Program, and supervised trainee therapists in community mental health settings. Dr. Fife has a strong interest in the interplay between social structures and mental health outcomes.
Amber Trotter, Psy.D., is a graduate of Middlebury College, Access Institute, and the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she currently teaches. She has a background in sociology and political activism and thinks and writes about the nexus of psychoanalysis and contemporary society. She recently published a book, Psychoanalysis as a Subversive Phenomenon (Lexington Books, 2019) and is a founding editor at Damage Magazine. She has a private practice in San Francisco.
This intermediate course is designed for clinicians with moderate to extensive experience in clinical practice and psychoanalytic theory.
LCSW/MFTs: Course meets the requirements for _ hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPS, as required by the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences. NCSPP is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider Number 57020), to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCS, and/or LEPs. NCSPP maintains responsibility for this program /course and its content.
Psychologists: Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for these programs and their content.
Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time. Transfer of registrations are not allowed.