The Psychological Effects of Racism

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Organised by:

The Guild of Psychotherapists

23 September 2023

Time: 15:00 - 17:00

Price: £12 - £36

Location: online


Ivan Ward (speaker) with Anshu Srivastava (respondent)

This is the next instalment in the series of seminars on Decolonising Psychoanalysis, organised by the Race and Culture Committee of the Guild of Psychotherapists. The series so far has intended to open up conversations about psychoanalysis by initiating dialogues between academics and psychotherapists, bringing clinical responses to the academic decolonial work. This seminar focuses on the experience of ‘low-level’ everyday racism in white-majority societies, and its persistent traumatic effects on black mental health.

A recording of the seminar will be available for ticket-holders for a month after the event.

Ivan Ward’s paper ‘The psychological effects of racism’, first delivered in October 2020 for the Freud Museum, and updated for this presentation, has been variously described as:


“Riveting and absolutely brilliant – not to mention brave.” (UK psychoanalyst).

“A deep, thoughtful, and clinically significant paper” (US psychoanalyst)

“An incredibly important contribution” (UK psychotherapist).

“Devastatingly moving and beautifully articulated.” (UK psychotherapist)

One psychotherapist wrote: “I often find myself referring back to your thinking, and the way you expressed your ideas, when working with my patients”, while a group analyst wrote: “I was blown away by the subtle brilliance of it. The weaving together of the personal anecdotes with such a clear presentation of the psychic mechanisms at play was perfectly judged.”

A shorter version of the talk is available on the Tavistock Clinic YouTube channel, but this will be the last public presentation of a full and updated text, with additional theoretical comments and a new section on “affective injustice”.

Speakers’ Biographies
Ivan Ward is the former Deputy Director and Head of Learning at the Freud Museum London, where he worked for 33 years. Born in Hackney, London, in the mid-1950s, he is a mixed-race father of two girls and author of a number of books and papers on psychoanalytic theory and the applications of psychoanalysis to social and cultural issues. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at UCL Psychoanalysis Unit.

Anshu Srivastava is a training member of The Guild of Psychotherapists, London, and holds an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

His work as a training psychoanalytic psychotherapist includes seeing people privately, at the Guild of Psychotherapists reduced-fee clinic and as a student counsellor at London Business School. He has worked as an honorary psychotherapist within NHS Forensic Psychiatry Services and continues to work with young people in the community, through a charity project called The Advocacy Academy, based in South London.

As an active member of the Race & Culture Committee at the Guild, Anshu is current editor and presenter of the Committee’s podcast series and co-organiser of the 2022 seminar programme, ‘Decolonising Psychoanalysis – Transatlantic Dialogues’.

Anshu has also been a practising architect for over 25 years, founding and running an international creative studio with offices in London and Paris.

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