The Imperative of Race: Psychoanalytic perspectives

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Organised by:

British Psychoanalytic Association

02 July 2022

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

Price: £20 - 30

Location: online



About this event

Discussants: Viqui Rosenberg and Dorothy Girouard
Chair: Jean Arundale

Lecture 2 – 4pm (British Summer time)


In the United States there is increasing awareness around the unresolved, unmetabolized phenomena of colonialism, slavery and its aftermath, and racism within a democratic society. Compromising this recognition, working through and reconciliation is the transgenerational transmission of racial anxiety, racial hatred and racial trauma that has not found sufficient redress. Within the consulting room there are opportunities that unconsciously and consciously present themselves that the analyst resists, regardless of the racial pairing. Unlike aggression and sexuality where the analyst is trained to pursue, despite inherent complexities and anxieties, racial anxiety, racial trauma, and racial blind-spots are held in silence, inhibiting this aspect of mind from further exploration.

This lecture is an attempt to explore the imperative of race as crucial and necessary, using clinical examples and vignettes to demonstrate how race is embodied and symbolized in mind and can be explored to benefit patient, clinician, and perhaps society.

Dr Dionne R. Powell, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the (NYU affiliated) and at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPA Society). Dr Powell studied medicine at University of Pennsylvania and completed her psychiatry training at the New York Hospital- Cornell Medical Center, where she is presently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. She is in full time psychoanalytic practice in NYC.

Dr Powell has taught, spoken and written extensively about race, racism, psychoanalytic training and gender issues. Recent awards for Dr Powell include: the 2022 recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Solomon Carter Fuller Award, the 2022 inaugural recipient of the Margaret Morgan Lawrence Lecture, sponsored by the Association of Psychoanalytic Medicine, (APM), at Columbia University, and was the 2021 recipient of the Candidate’s Council of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Master Teacher of the Year Award.

Dr Powell is the current vice president of the American Association for Psychoanalytic Education, serves as Co-Chair of the Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in the American Psychoanalytic Association, and is a founding member of Black Psychoanalysts Speak.


Viqui Rosenberg is a Training Analyst and Supervisor at the British Psychoanalytic Association and former chair of its Scientific Committee. Also, a former NHS Psychotherapy Consultant as well as a teacher of Freudian thinking in the UK and abroad, she has lectured and published papers on various psychoanalytic issues, with a special interest in transference-countertransference and the place of sexuality in psychoanalysis. She is a member of the BPA Racism Steering Group, formed in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. She is currently in private practice in London.

Dorothy Girouard is a psychoanalyst in private practice with an interest in the development of internal splitting. Born in Chicago, she initially trained as a painter and came to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship. Here she exhibited, trained further as an art therapist then as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. She has taught, worked in therapeutic charities and addiction services, and reviewed for the British Journal of Psychotherapy.

The Debbie Bellman Memorial Lecture is a special event organised by the Scientific Committee to celebrate the life of Debbie Bellman, a founder member of the BPA, its first Honorary Secretary, former chair of the Scientific Committee, and co-editor of two volumes of psychoanalytic papers authored by BPA writers. Debbie is warmly remembered as a committed teacher and tutor who wished the BPA to become an active participant in the international psychoanalytic forum by funding speakers from around the world.

Articles by Dr Powell:

Powell, D. R. (2022). Chapter contributor and Section editor on racial and ethnic diversity for the 2nd edition of Glen Gabbard’s Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments.

Powell, D. R. (2020). From the Sunken Place to the Shitty Place: The Film Get Out, Psychic Emancipation and Modern Race Relations from a Psychodynamic Clinical Perspective, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly.

Powell, D.R. (2019). Elizabeth: Appropriated Ambition…A Narrative. In Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women and Their Experience of Desire, Ambition and Leadership, Routledge Press. S. Brody and F. Arnold editors.

Powell, D.R. (2018). Race, African Americans and Psychoanalysis: Collective Silence in the Therapeutic Situation, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

The opinions and views expressed are entirely those of the speaker in a personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the BPA.

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