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S. Akhtar
Saturday, September 14, 2019, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM PDT
Category: CE

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Diversity with Salman Akhtar, MD

A Three Part Program

Cultural Difference in the Therapeutic Dyad
Patients and therapists do not only bring their 'pathos' to the clinical situation ; their 'ethos' also accompanies them. In homocultural, homoethnic, and homolingual therapeutic dyads, the latter mostly remains as a silent backdrop, though subtle difficulties of commuincation can still arise. In culturally-divers therapeutic dyads , such 'confusion of tongues' can be frequent and prominent. Under such circumstances, careful distinction must be made between (i) 'cultural conflicts' and ' neurotic conflicts', (ii) ' cultural rationalization of neurotic conflict' and ' iatrogenic pathologization of cultural conflicts' , (iii) 'homoethnic empathy' and ' shared ethnic scotoma', and (iv) a 'culturally patronizing countertransference' and ' judicious accommodation of the therapeutic frame to the patients' idiom of life'.

Learning Objectives:
1. Distinguish between neurotic and cultural conflicts
2. Identify and interpret cultural rationalizations
3. Demonstrate greater empathy towards culturally diverse patients

The Mental Pain of Minorities
The discord between the subjectivity of minorities and their ecological and cultural ‘holding environment’ (Winnicott, 1960) causes them chronic mental pain or, in Freud’s (1926) terms, seelenschmerz.  The unease felt by minorities arises from their being used as dehumanized targets of the majority’s projections, as well as from the figure-ground discord in their subjectivity.  Seeking to anesthetize their distress, minorities retreat from social participation, nostalgically idealize times and places where they were not the minority, dream of times or places which could accord them majority status again, exalt fundamentalism, and, at times, discharge impotent rage via acts of ‘terrorism’.  Far better than such turn of events are developments that follow when minorities assert their rights and the majority realizes the benefits of collaboration.  Societal measures that assure minorities’ presence in textbooks of history and their representation in embodied communal narratives (e.g. statues, memorials) go a long way in diminishing their distress.  Protection and/or restoration of their rights to vote, run for office, have freedom of movement and expression, and own property are also important.  Finally, judicial provision of designating prejudicial acts of violence as hate crimes to increases the sense of minorities’ safety.  All this is not only good for them, it is beneficial for the society-at-large and raises all sections of society to a higher humanitarian ground.

Learning Objectives: 
1. Participants will be able to enumerate some problems experienced by minorities.
2. Participants will be able to delineate variables from both the external reality and interpsychic experience of minorities.
3. Participants will distinguish the ways in which members of the majority population play a role in the creation of these problems.
4. Participants will identify ameliorative measures for resolving the pain of minorities in treatment.

Does Religion Matter?
Psychoanalysis and religion have had a contentious relationship from the start.  Freud, by the very act of making God the subject of metapsychological deconstruction, took a resolutely atheistic position.  Freud’s early followers, often facing religious prejudice, wholeheartedly followed the ray of hope offered the declaration that religion was a hoax and that science would sooner or later assure the dominance of rationality.  Atheism and psychoanalysis became inseparable.  Gradually, however, this partnership began to come into question.  This presentation will not only highlight these historical trends, it will also explicate Ostow’s ‘religious instinct’ and underscore the implicit ‘religiosity’ in Bion’s thinking.  The transference and countertransference implications of these notions, especially when religion and politics merge, will also be highlighted.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to enumerate the origins of the notion of God in Freud’s thinking.
2. Participants will be able to delineate the healthy and pathological uses of religion.
3. Participants will learn the management of countertransferences with religious patients.

Salman Akhtar, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Psychoanalytic Quarterly. His more than 300 publications include 96 books, of which the following 20 are solo-authored. Broken Structures (1992), Quest for Answers (1995), Inner Torment (1999), Immigration and Identity (1999), New Clinical Realms (2003), Objects of Our Desire (2005), Regarding Others (2007), Turning Points in Dynamic Psychotherapy (2009), The Damaged Core (2009), Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (2009), Immigration and Acculturation (2011), Matters of Life and Death (2011), The Book of Emotions (2012), Psychoanalytic Listening (2013), Good Stuff (2013), Sources of Suffering (2014), No Holds Barred (2016), A Web of Sorrow (2017), Mind, Culture, and Global Unrest (2018), and Silent Virtues (2019). Dr. Akhtar has delivered many prestigious invited lectures including a Plenary Address at the 2nd International Congress of the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders in Oslo, Norway (1991), an Invited Plenary Paper at the 2nd International Margaret S. Mahler Symposium in Cologne, Germany (1993), an Invited Plenary Paper at the Rencontre Franco-Americaine de Psychanakyse meeting in Paris, France (1994), a Keynote Address at the 43rd IPA Congress in Rio de Janiero, Brazil (2005), the Plenary Address at the 150th Freud Birthday Celebration sponsored by the Dutch Psychoanalytic Society and the Embassy of Austria in Leiden, Holland (2006), and the Inaugural Address at the first IPA-Asia Congress in Beijing, China (2010). Dr. Akhtar is the recipient of numerous awards including the American Psychoanalytic Associations Edith Sabshin Award (2000), Columbia University’s Robert Liebert Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Psychoanalysis (2004), the American Psychiatric Association’s Kun Po Soo Award (2004), and Irma Bland Award for being the Outstanding Teacher of Psychiatric Residents in the country (2005). He received the highly prestigious Sigourney Award (2012) for distinguished contributions to psychoanalysis. In 2013, he gave the Commencement Address at graduation ceremonies of the Smith College School of Social Work in Northampton, MA. Dr. Akhtar’s books have been translated in many languages, including German, Italian, Korean, Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, and Turkish. A true Renaissance man, Dr. Akhtar has served as the Film Review Editor for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and is currently serving as the Book Review Editor for the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. He has published eleven collections of poetry and serves as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

When: Saturday, September 14, 2019
Time: 9am—1pm 
CME: 4 
Location: Mercy Corps Action Center, 
                 28 SW 1st Avenue, 
                 Portland, OR 97204

$150 (non-members) ● $135 (members) ● $75 (residents/interns) Fulltime Undergraduate/Graduate Students  (free with valid student ID day of event) 


Continuing Medical Education This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of  4.0  AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose