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Fridays @CCP: Haunted by haunted minds: Decolonizing psychoanalytic work with historically traumatized peoples (Nina Thomas, PhD, ABPP)

  • 6 May 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (CDT)
  • Zoom
  • 461


  • If you are a current CCP member, events are free of charge.
  • Non-CCP members who are also not students
  • Non-CCP members who are students. (No Continuing Education credit provided.)

Fridays @ CCP Lecture Series

Nina Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP

(New York, NY)

 May 6, 2022

Haunted by haunted minds: Decolonizing psychoanalytic

work with historically traumatized peoples

7-9pm (CST) :ZOOM Presentation & Discussion

About the presentation: Among the developments within academia over the past several years have been the critiques arising from multiple disciplines: anthropology, gender studies, history, and more recently psychology and psychoanalysis. These critiques focus our attention on the psychosocial effects of colonialism and the efforts to dismantle them.

The present paper examines the colonialist mindset embedded within psychoanalysis from its very origins, in, for example the centrality of the Oedipal conflict. Nicholls (2021) raises the question I elaborate on at length in my paper.

“When Freud mobilizes Oedipus Rex, it is lauded as a universal psychology. When African communities invoke animism, witchcraft, therianthropy, the ancestors and revenants, these ways of knowing the world are disparaged as superstitious primitivism. Why, I ask, should classical European drama hold any more epistemic weight than African story?” (p. 53)

The societal attribution of the primacy of Eurocentric culture has significant repercussions for the self concept and identity formation of people of color. In addition to the devaluation of the knowledge held by BIPOC, is what remains unspoken if not even dismissed about the history of people of color within the US, as has been true in countries around the world. This unspoken history includes the expulsion of Native American children from their homes and culture in being sent to government run schools far from their families or communities. But there have been far more violent histories of being torn from their communities, often rarely acknowledged and for which there is unlikely to have been reparation or justice. What then are the consequences for the participants in interaction who bring very disparate experiences of history to their relatedness?. These and related issues of power and acknowledgement are among those addressed in “Haunted by haunted minds: Decolonizing psychoanalytic work with historically traumatized peoples.

 Nina K. Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP is a licensed  psychologist  and certified by the American Board of  Professional  Psychology in  Psychoanalysis in Psychology  and by the  National Board of Health  Service Providers.  She is also  certified as a group psychotherapist by t he  National  Registry of Group Psychotherapy. Dr. Thomas  specializes  in individual, couples, group and family  therapy with  particular expertise in working with a  variety of trauma  conditions. She maintains a private practice in Morristown, NJ and New York, NY.

With over 25 years experience as a licensed psychologist, psychoanalyst and certified group psychotherapist and as a graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College and of the NYU Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Dr. Thomas specializes in relational psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. She currently works in private practice. Dr. Thomas has presented at numerous national and international conferences and to general audiences speaking on the topics of trauma of illness, loss and other catastrophic events; on family and marital relationships, women’s issues, fathering, divorce and being a woman in today’s world.

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will be able to identify three psychodynamic consequences for BIPOC people that flow from the differential power attributions between their own culture and the White Eurocentric one.

2. Attendees will be able to describe the insidious dimensions of guilt in response to the consequences of unearned white privilege.

This is an all  level presentation.


CCP members: free with annual $175 membership, payable at registration.

Students:free with annual $150 membership, payable at registration.

Fellows: free with annual $150 membership, payable at registration.

Non-CCP members, single admission: $50

Student non-members, single admission: $15

Continuing Education

This program is sponsored for Continuing Education Credits by the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. There is no commercial support for this program, nor are there any relationships between the continuing education sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If the program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. CCP is licensed by the state of Illinois to sponsor continuing education credits for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Counselors and Licensed Clinical Psychologists (license no. 159.000941 and 268.000020 and 168.000238 Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation).

Professionals holding the aforementioned credentials will receive 2.0 continuing education credits for attending the entire program. To receive these credits a completed evaluation form must be turned in at the end of the presentation and licensed psychologists must first complete a brief exam on the subject matter. No continuing education credit will be given for attending part of the presentation. Refunds for CE credit after the program begins will not be honored. If a participant has special needs or concerns about the program, s/he/they should contact Toula Kourliouros Kalven by May 5, 2022 at: tkalven@ccpsa.org

References/Suggested Reading

Brickman, C. (2003) Psychoanalysis and the colonial imagination: evolutionary thought in Freud’s texts. In: Aboriginal populations in the mind: Race and primitivity in psychoanalysis. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 51-89.

Fanon, F. (1952/1988) The so called dependency complex of colonized people. In Black skin: White masks. pp. 61-81. London:Pluto Press.

Haen, C. & Thomas, NK. (2018) Holding history: Undoing racial unconsciousness in groups. International journal of group psychotherapy, 68,4, pp.498-520.

Nathan, P. (2017). Recognition is a matter of life and death in aboriginal Australia. International journal of applied psychoanalytic studies, 14 (10), 54-68.

Nicholls, B. (2021) Africas of the mind: From indigenous medicine to environmental psychoanalysis. Cultural critique, 111, pp. 52-80.

Presented by

The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis/CCP Program Committee: Carol Ganzer, PhD, Toula Kourliouros Kalven,  Alan Levy, PhD

The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis is an IRS 501(C)(3) charitable organization, and expenses may be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and your personal tax situation.

"Nothing human is alien to me"  --Terrence

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Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. PO Box 6095, Evanston, IL 60204-6095

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