2nd Friday of every month from 2:30-4:00 pm
4400 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

This Study Group will include reading and discussing articles and texts that focus on the role that cultural and societal factors play in our deepening understanding of individual psychological functioning, interpersonal relationships, and psychopathology. Such factors as race, ethnicity, class, and gender have been underemphasized, or entirely overlooked, in psychoanalytically oriented research, theory, and practice. Our meetings will involve discussions of seminal readings that explore these topics and their connections to our clinical work.

Members who attend this study group will be able to:

  1. Describe the historical attitude that psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theorists have taken to matters related to socio-political context and identities.
  2. Identify three shifts in invigorating psychoanalysis advocated by Layton.
  3. Define Normative Unconscious Processes.
  4. Explicate the role of binary identity structures and in splitting in attaining a “proper” identity, according to Layton.
  5. Explain Layton’s conception of social psychoanalysis.
  6. According to Layton, discuss the value of a social psychoanalysis to understanding an individual.
  7. Identify three differences between American and European psychoanalytic traditions, according to Layton.
  8. Describe the American Dream Syndrome.
  9. According to the Frankfurt School, explain the relationship between capitalism and narcissistic personality disorder.
  10. Explain how dialogue, as articulated by Cushman, expands our understanding of empathy in clinical work.
  11. Discuss how certain enactments between therapist and patient perpetuate societal norms and provide information regarding unconscious conflicts.
  12. Explain how an individual’s apparent separation and autonomy can be a veiled form of submission to parental needs.
  13. Explain how an individual’s history of treatment as subject vs. object determines their quality of subjectivity.
  14. Discuss the importance of societal power differentials and norms in the development of divided subjectivity.
  15. Discuss how the concepts of collective identifications and power differential expand the therapeutic impact of relational practice.
  16. Describe how sociology and psychology have become intertwined in the ongoing development of relational theory.
  17. Identify the three theories Layton discusses about the relationships between human needs and modernization in the Western world.
  18. Describe how 20th century psychological theories have tended to ascribe problems to the individual rather than the social conditions that create them.
  19. Explain how ‘culture work’ helps reproduce social norms.
  20. Discuss the importance of therapists exploring deeply their unconscious multiple identifications.
  21. Discuss Layton’s view that contemporary psychoanalytic theory ‘erases bisexuality as a sexuality’ and assumes heterosexuality as the norm.
  22. Explain how associating modes of relating with male or female leads to gender inequality.
  23. Define ‘defensive autonomy’ and explain the socio-historical trends that brought it forth.
  24. In Layton’s clinical example, discuss how the family of the female client mediated a sexist culture that fostered her defensive autonomy.