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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Sociopolitical Reality and the Psychoanalytic Process: Clinical Experiences Before and After 9/11

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


Discussant: Mayer Subrin, M.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Thursday, September 22, 2011
8:00 - 10:00 PM

2 CME and CE Credit Hours

Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute
32841 Middlebelt Road
Farmington Hills

This paper will explore both the impact of significant sociopolitical events and the reality of the analyst's ethnic and religious background on the psychoanalytic process. Using clinical material from before and after 9/11, Dr. Abbasi describes how this real, violent and tragic event became interwoven with her patients' awareness of her being an immigrant analyst of Muslim origin. Dr. Abbasi highlights the transferences these realities evoked in her patients. Furthermore, she describes her own countertransferential struggles. Current events evoked and offered an opportunity to deepen understanding of her own struggles - most superficially, at the level of ethnic and religious group identifications and loyalties, and most deeply, having to do with very personal conflicts. The clinical material demonstrates that a patient's often sadistic use of ethnic differences between patient and analyst, when tolerated, contained and allowed full expression in the analysis, leads to a poignant unfolding of issues that has profound personal meaning for the patient, and an opening up of painful and previously walled-off affects.

This presentation will help participants:
1) Assess the value of attending to significant external events in the world the analytic dyad lives in, and what these events evoke in patients.
2) Recognize the importance of the analyst's awareness of conflicts stirred up in her by external sociopolitical events, including the necessity of ongoing rigorous exploration of such internal struggles in the mind of the analyst.
3) View emerging clinical material regarding sociopolitical events and their connection to the analyst as an opportunity to help patients examine their reactions, beginning with the most superficial and universal reactions, and going to the deepest and most personal meanings.

About the presenter:
Dr. Aisha Abbasi is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. She has written chapters for two books: Blacks and Jews On the Couch: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Black-Jewish Conflict, and The Crescent and the Couch: Cross-Currents between Islam and Psychoanalysis. This particular paper is the third in a series of papers on various aspects of "cross-cultural" analysis. In addition, Dr. Abbasi has written and presented on the topics of action as communication in the analytic process, and on fantasies regarding infertility. She is currently a reviewer for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

You are invited to a Welcome Reception preceding the presentation.
7:30 - 8:00 PM
(Light snacks, beverages, and congeniality)