February 2, 2022

7:30 – 9:00 PM Central Time

Zoom Platform – REGISTER HERE

1.5 CEs

Monthly meetings are always free of charge. CE certificates are $20 for non-members.

Abstract: Far from being about “mixed feelings,” as Freud explained the concept in his paper Totem and Taboo, ambivalence involves the conflict between two equally strong currents that are “localized in the subject’s mind in a way that they cannot come up against each other” (Freud, 1913, p. 35); when one current is conscious, the other is unconscious. To have an unconscious in these terms is therefore at one and the same time to be ambivalent. What is more, we are deeply ambivalent about our own jouissance, our own modes of enjoyment, and employ various mechanisms to reject the hated aspects of ourselves into the Other as embodied by our neighbor who may be different from us in terms of race, gender identity, religion, and so on. We are fundamentally ambivalent creatures, ambivalent about ourselves as well as about our neighbors, and therefore any account of forms of xenophobia (as the fear of “the foreigner”, of the outgroup), including racism, must take into account our ambivalent human nature. Drawing from Stephanie Swales’ recently published book, co-authored with Carol Owens, Psychoanalysing Ambivalence with Freud and Lacan: On and Off the Couch (Routledge, 2019), this presentation will explore racism and other forms of xenophobia through a psychoanalytic lens, using the key concept of ambivalence and highlighting how and why libidinal investments, our modes of enjoyment or jouissance, are wrapped up in our prejudices. Examples will be presented both from clinical practice and from contemporary social events, and they will be used to help participants learn how to apply these theoretical understandings of xenophobia to their own clinical work as well as to larger cultural concerns.

Bio: Stephanie Swales, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Dallas, a practicing psychoanalyst, a licensed clinical psychologist, and a clinical supervisor located in Dallas, Texas. She has authored two books: Psychoanalysing Ambivalence with Freud and Lacan: On and Off the Couch (Routledge, 2019), co-authored with Carol Owens, and Perversion: A Lacanian Psychoanalytic Approach to the Subject (Routledge, 2012). She is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the theory and practice of Lacanian psychoanalysis. She is a book review editor for the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, is the founder of the Dallas/Fort Worth area Lacan Study Group, serves as Secretary for the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (APA’s Division 24), is an Analyst of the Lacan School of Psychoanalysis, is on the executive board of the Dallas Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology, serves on the curriculum committee of the Dallas Psychoanalytic Center, and is on the executive board of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society.

Learning Objectives

After attending the program in its entirety, attendees will be able to:

1) Explain how the concept of ambivalence can illuminate racism and other forms of xenophobia

2) Explain how racism and other forms of xenophobia can be seen as intimately related to our ways of enjoying.


Freud, S. (1913). Totem and taboo. The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. S.E., XIII. pp. 1-164.

George, S. & Hook, D. (2021). Lacan & Race: Racism, Identity, and Psychoanalytic Theory. Routledge: New York & London.

Hook, D. (2018). Racism and jouissance: Evaluating the “racism as (the theft of) enjoyment” hypothesis. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 23(3), 244-266.

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Austin Psychoanalytic is approved by the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners (Provider # 5501) to provide continuing education for social workers and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider #1138). We also meet the requirements to provide continuing education for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 1.5 continuing education credits. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to info@austinpsychoanalytic.org. There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program’s content.