The film features interviews of the eleven Black psychoanalysts who participated in the conferences as well as two other participants. The film is intended to raise awareness of the need for greater openness and understanding of cultural and ethnic pressures in psychoanalytic training, in transferential and countertransferential interactions, and in the recruitment of people of coulour into psychoanalytic training.
These participants contend that psychoanalysis has a long history as a progressive movement devoted to the common good. Psychoanalysis asks us to examine the processes of self deception that perpetuate both individual unhappiness and social structures that are inequitable and oppressive. Yet psychoanalytic education has for the most part focused on training and treating the relatively privileged. The Black psychoanalysts here examine this dilemma and engage in a vibrant and thought provoking discussion about race, culture, class and the unrealized promise of psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing (PEP Web) has made an important film available without subscription on their website.
KIRKLAND VAUGHANS: I had an analyst who was exceptionally bright, exceptionally on. But when it came to the issue of race, he was thoroughly blocked. He said to me in his career, he had only treated one Negro. That was his word-- one Negro, which I smiled. He told me, he said, the treatment didn't go well, because all the guy wanted to do was talk about race. I couldn't get him off race, OK? I smiled again.
KATHLEEN WHITE: One of my teachers was one of those old white guys who could not hear the word "race." He used to take his cane and beat the table.
ANNIE LEE JONES: There has been near violent reactions to the things I say about the way racism, culture, and economic inequality affects my life and my work with my patients. I presented in London at the Freud museums, and I talked about race. One psychiatrist grabbed me by my arm and wouldn't let me go up this steps.