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Diversity & Social Justice Initiative

The Diversity and Social Justice Initiative aims to create space within the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis to reconsider our psychoanalytic understandings of prejudice, discrimination and structural injustice in order to address the inequities in psychoanalytic practice and training programs, both our own and in general. To inaugurate this initiative, we propose launching a multi-year program for the entire CCP membership, so that we can learn, discuss, and implement change together. The mission statement we will create together will be an evolving document addressing aspects of social impact in the light of which organizational and clinical practice and theory should be re-examined. The Holmes Commission Report provides an initial blueprint that can both provide a template for addressing endemic racism and guide inquiry into other structural barriers to care, theory-building and training in psychoanalysis.

In the summer of 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, APsaA convened The Holmes Commission on Racial Equality to investigate racism within American psychoanalysis and to recommend potential remedies. The Commission’s report, based on surveys, interviews and the deliberations of small working groups, offers a comprehensive view of, and detailed recommendations for, the many registers of psychoanalytic life that are impacted by racism, from institutional policies and procedures to the dynamics of the analytic dyad. The Holmes report offers a historic opportunity for psychoanalysis in North America to come to terms with its often-hidden racial prejudices, and to find ways to create more equitable psychoanalytic practices and organizations. We join with other psychoanalytic communities across the country in answering the call of the Holmes report.  At the same time, we intend to broaden our appreciation of its findings to include the impact of psychoanalytic institutions, conceptualizations and practices on the members of other marginalized groups defined and impacted by cultural constructs of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, socioeconomic status, and disability.

Our proposal is to create a framework through which we can become more aware of the dynamics of marginalization embedded in our everyday practices and can implement recommendations for a more diverse and inclusive psychoanalysis. As a first step, the CCP Diversity and Social Justice Initiative will be issuing a call for an all-members meeting in the coming autumn. One suggested follow-up to this meeting will be an invitation to our community to read together the Holmes report over the course of the year, on a monthly basis, for which CEU’s will be offered.  Other possible avenues for participation will be solicited from the CCP membership as well, either aimed at addressing specific forms of discrimination that impact psychoanalytic practice or at discussing such forms and mechanisms in general through a psychoanalytic lens, with the hope of transforming our fundamental understandings in the process.

We believe that this work is necessary for psychoanalysis in general and for CCP in particular to remain relevant. Bion described “catastrophic change” as a situation in which the container no longer does the job of containing. At this juncture, psychoanalysis needs to broaden its container by recognizing what has not been manifestly recognized in the past, and by developing concrete ways to actualize our commitment to a psychoanalysis open to all.


"Nothing human is alien to me"  --Terrence

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