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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Treating the Children of Immigrants: The Role of Unresolved Mourning in the Shaping of Conflicts and Identity Formation

Aisha Abbasi, M.D.
President and Training and Supervising Analyst
Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Discussant: Jean-Paul Pegeron, M.D.
Lecturer, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Farmington Hills
2:00 – 4:00

*2 CME and CE Credit Hours

About the presenter:

Dr. Abbasi is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, where she is also the current President. She is the author of the book, “The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique,” and a published poet in her first language, Urdu.

Practice Gap/Need and Course Description: It is not widely understood that for immigrants, mourning the loss of their original culture is as important as dealing with the necessity of adapting to and becoming a part of their new culture. The children of immigrants often unconsciously carry their parents’ unresolved mourning and this deeply affects their adult functioning in areas such as object choice, identity, and core conflicts.

In this paper, Dr. Abbasi presents a richly detailed clinical account of her work with one such patient, a child of immigrants. She highlights not only the surprising discoveries she and her patient made about the patient's mind, but describes also how her own delayed mourning about her immigration from her motherland to her adopted country, came into sharper focus for her, during this treatment, thus allowing her to offer better help to her patient.

After attending this presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify, appraise, and describe the effects of the immigrant parents’ unresolved mourning on their own and their children’s functioning and sense of identity. 2. For those therapists and analysts who are immigrants, recognize how their own unresolved mourning about their own immigration affects their treatment of immigrants, so as to facilitate deeper help for the patient in treatment.