Identity and Groups II

2-Year Certificate Program (2YCP)
2023-24, 4th Term — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Karen Weisbard, PsyD
Jeanette Farrell, MD


Welcome to Identity and Groups II, the last class of Theory, Process and Social Applicability of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

We are excited to be with you as you conclude your two years of learning together and to explore with you how being a part of this group has been incorporated into your identity.

In this class, we will explore psychoanalytic concepts that frame how the social world interacts with the psyche.

April 8, 2024

Presenter: Jeanette Farrell, MD

[32 pages]

“The individual and the group have a co-determining relationship… human subjectivity is what happens at their crossroads…. In its function as a theoretical hinge, the concept of identity marks an identification not with a particular person but with a social location, a social location that is itself a function of groups.”

Gonzalez suggests a psychoanalytic understanding of identity would include a sense of multiplicity and shifting. How does he suggest we understand the relationship of this concept to the unconscious? What do you take from his assertion “to claim that one is fully conscious of the structuring power of these identifications is at best naïve and at worse, violent”?

González, F. (2023) On Identity and the Political in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Quarterly 92:567-598

April 15, 2024

Presenter: Jeanette Farrell, MD

[23 pages]

In “The Secret Society”, three members of a psychoanalytic cohort reflect on the ways they disavowed aspects of their difference in order to preserve a sense of connection to the cohort. They consider how the lack of a “holding environment” within the institute contributed to their disavowal. Is Gonzalez’s framing of identity and the political in psychoanalysis useful in thinking about this paper?

Griffin, C., Echegoyén, R. & Hyman, J. (2020). The Secret Society: Perspectives from a Multiracial Cohort. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 56(2-3), 282-304.

April 22, 2024

Presenter: Karen Weisbard, PsyD

[23 pages]

Not only do group identifications contribute to and impinge upon our understanding of ourselves, and contribute to our experience in groups, but group experience also has its own dynamics which are distinct and impactful.   Privileging the intrapsychic has meant psychoanalytic training has tended to neglect thinking about the social and also neglect learning about group process.   Psychoanalytic group process training exists, but in other settings.  And yet, although our practices tend to be dyadic, we all are also group members in many parts of our professional life, including classes, committee work at institutes, consult groups, etc.  This week we will introduce the principles of group process as outlined by the Tavistock model.   This is truly just an introduction, but we hope it provides useful insights and may inspire further training.  Some of you may have more expertise in these concepts, and if so, we hope you will share those insights!

Hayden, C. & Molenkamp, R.J. (2004) Ch 7, “Tavistock Primer II”, Group Relations Reader 3, pp135-157.

April 29, 2024

Presenter: Karen Weisbard, PsyD

[29 pages]

The Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in American Psychoanalysis was founded in August of 2020 with the mission to identify systemic racism in American psychoanalysis and to offer remedies for addressing systemic racism in the psychoanalytic community. The Commission conducted surveys and interviews of faculty, staff, and administrators of analytic institutes; candidates associated with training institutes; and people who were psychodynamically-oriented but had not entered a psychoanalytic training program. The Commission then synthesized their findings and released their report in June of 2023. The following is Chapter 7 of 9 chapters

As you read this chapter, reflect on how this account feels to read, and what it means to you, in particular, that this report was undertaken and written.    Consider what your particular identity and social position shape that response.

The chapter suggests the recommendations have “the aim of increasing capacity within psychoanalytic organizations to deal with racial enactments more productively.” What can increase our capacity to engage with enactments that involve racial elements in the consulting room or in groups?

The Holmes Commission (2023) Chapter 7, “Enactments”, in the Final Report of The Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in American Psychoanalysis 2023, pp154-182.

May 6, 2024

Presenter: Jeanette Farrell, MD

[34 pages]

What is the social unconscious? How does this the social unconscious relate to the individual unconscious? Is this distinct from the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious? How can concepts of the social unconscious as developed by group analytic theorists Hopper and Weinberg help us think about what Gonzalez called “the collective of the individual.”

Hopper, E. & Weinberg, H. (2011) “Introduction” in The Social Unconscious in Person, Groups, and Societies, Volume 1: Mainly Theory (Earl Hopper and Haim Weinberg, Eds.), pp. xxiii-lvi.

May 13, 2024

Presenter: Karen Weisbard, PsyD

[13 pages]

In this paper, Rozmarin “suggests that social and historical forces play an unconscious yet decisive role in our lives.”  How do you see what Gonzalez called the “kaleidoscopic” elements of identity in Rozmarin and his patient?   How is group identity transmitted and reinforced for each of them?

Rozmarin, E. (2009) “I Am Yourself: Subjectivity and the Collective”, Psychoanalytic Dialogues 19:604-616.

May 20, 2024

Presenter: Jeanette Farrell, MD

[43 pages]

Farhad Dalal, a group analyst with a PhD in sociology, describes how the work of three different thinkers can help us explore the relation of the psyche to the group.  Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was a Black psychiatrist from Martinique who described the experience of the colonized from a psychoanalytic perspective.  S.H. Foulkes was a German born psychoanalyst of Jewish descent who immigrated to London as a refugee and initiated group analytic practice with soldiers during World War II.   Sociologist Norbert Elias was also a German Jew, who fled the Nazi regime in the 1930s and eventually developed his career in England.  He worked with Foulkes on group analysis.

Focus on what interests you in these chapters and what you find helpful.  Feel free to skim parts that you find overly dense.

Dalal, F. (2002) Ch. 5,  Fanon: The Colonial Context, in Race, Colour and the Processes of Racialization: New Perspectives from Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Sociology. pp92-110

Dalal, F. (2002) Ch. 6, Foulkesian Group Analysis, in Race, Colour and the Processes of Racialization: New Perspectives from Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Sociology. pp111-119

Dalal, F. (2002) Ch. 7, Power: The Generator of Difference, in Race, Colour and the Processes of Racialization: New Perspectives from Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Sociology. pp120-134.

June 3, 2024

Presenter: Karen Weisbard, PsyD

This week we will wrap up any remaining discussion regarding the Dalal and other works, and also spend time engaging in a group exercise to mark the end of your two-year program!