Dear AP Community,
We are living in extraordinary times, both for our nation and the world. The COVID19 crisis has upended life as we know it and has forced us to change our mode of living, working and connecting with others. Amidst this backdrop of loss and change we are witnessing a country in turmoil.
We at Austin Psychoanalytic stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and mourn the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Mike Ramos, and many, many others at the hands of law enforcement. We stand with the protesters who demand justice and greater transparency and accountability from our elected leaders and police. It is incumbent on those with the most privilege to speak out and refrain from silence in the face of such violence, for silence can lead to a type of complacency and tacit approval of systemic racism that we cannot afford. We challenge our psychoanalytic community to give space to diverse voices and opinions. We must strive to do more, be more, by examining the ways in which our own racism, classism and bias enter into the consulting room. We must ask difficult questions of each other and of our colleagues and families and allow ourselves to be made uncomfortable. Lastly, we must examine why our profession is dominated by white clinicians, and begin to dismantle the barriers to entry for non-white clinicians.
Parallels exist between examining racist thinking and the self-examination intrinsic to psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis requires us to process and stay with difficult emotions as they arise. There is often no “quick fix”. No easy answer. But we stay in it, committed to the process that unfolds and yields change over time. This process, much like unlearning racism, creates a space to voice that which is repressed, disassociated and shameful. It is a long and painstaking process, this awakening to the trauma that 400 years of slavery and white supremacy has inflicted on our psyches. We must own it and never let it be forgotten.
To this end, we have attached a few links to resources you may find useful below. We also invite you to attend our monthly meetings, salons and conferences for 2020-2021 where the theme is “Hate and Destructiveness in the Psyche, Clinical Encounter and Beyond.” We will explore contemporary and historic views of hate, how it develops, and the dynamics of destructive behavior directed at self, others and groups.
We look forward to seeing you there.
The Austin Psychoanalytic Board
Black Psychoanalysts Speak (trailer): The Full Transcript for Part I & II can be purchased on PEP-Web. Psychoanalysts Kirkland Vaughans, Dorothy E. Holmes, C. Jama Adams, Anton Hart, Kathleen Pogue White, Cheryl Thompson, Janice O. Bennett, Dolores O. Morris, Craig K. Polite, Cleonie White and Annie Lee Jones among others.