Confronting Racism

Statement on Racism – International Psychotherapy Institute

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Along with psychoanalytic institutes across the nation and throughout the world, The International Psychotherapy Institute has been shaken from complacency, and is experiencing a reckoning in response to the brutal murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, all of whom were victims of institutionalized white supremacy that for centuries has normalized violence against Black people. We recognize that the conversation on systemic racism is long overdue at IPI, and that our community is only at the beginning in terms of exploring and addressing our own implicit biases and deeply entrenched racism. We also recognize that as a psychoanalytic institute, we have a responsibility and a role to play in examining from within and without the devastating impact of structural, systemic and interpersonal racism. It is not enough to consider how racism affects Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC); we must face the impact that centuries of white supremacy has had on white people, who have inherited and perpetuated, consciously and unconsciously, privileges at the economic, societal, and psychological levels, which are inextricably linked to the oppression of BIPOC communities.

As a dominant social group, white people have used BIPOC to project split off psychic contents, thereby rationalizing, normalizing, and distancing from unconscionable acts of systemic and individual violence. Avoidance of naming and discussing “whiteness” is a vestige of white supremacy that blinds White people to the myriad ways in which they benefit, comply, and support systemic racism. As Robin D’Angelo writes in White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, “White people get to be ‘just people,’ ” without having their race named, whereas BIPOC are often described by their race. We can no longer claim innocence or ignorance. As a community invested in understanding and healing, we commit to working together to examine this urgent and long-neglected topic, starting with ourselves.

In this watershed moment, IPI stands in solidarity with BIPOC communities, and pledges the following steps toward creating an anti-racist learning environment. While the urgency of the moment calls for us to focus our attention on anti-Black racism, IPI acknowledges that white supremacy hurts all BIPOC communities and is committed to examining and inviting much needed dialogue about all forms of racism.  It is important to note that while this statement was written as a collaborative effort between Black and white IPI members, these points are especially relevant for white members of the IPI community, and those who benefit from white privilege. IPI recognizes that racism is a problem perpetuated by white people, who must own and dismantle it systemically and from within to interrupt transgenerational transmissions of white supremacy and privilege. It is also important to note that we regard this as a living document that will be subject to revisions as we gather feedback and as we learn together moving forward.

We recognize the suffering, hardships, and deaths of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities are rooted in our desire to maintain privilege, power, and supremacy.

We pledge to examine our biases and processes that maintain the status quo.


We recognize our conscious and unconscious contributions, and our use of defenses, such as denial, avoidance, rationalization, projection, and splitting to maintain racism within our culture and within our institution.

We pledge to examine defenses, at both the individual and institutional levels, that maintain systemic racism, and to explore these defenses, dynamics, and unconscious processes in small, affective, and larger didactic groups.


We recognize that our failures to create a more inclusive, open, and welcoming learning environment that embraces diversity have left BIPOC communities without opportunities, and that without diversity, the vitality and richness of ideas are compromised.

We pledge to create an increasingly diverse institute at all levels within the organization, including the board, faculty, speakers, and student body.


We recognize that our failures of empathy and compassion left BIPOC communities to suffer alone.

We pledge to develop our abilities to identify our failures to create a more diverse community and to listen to BIPOC members within our institute, when they tell us we failed or how we can do better. 


We recognize that our failures to listen left BIPOC communities without a voice.

We pledge to convey our interest and curiosity about race and diversity by offering a more inclusive focus in our choice of presenters and topics.


We recognize that our acts of negation, dismissal, omission, denial, discrimination, hostility, and neglect constitute aggression and have left BIPOC communities unsafe, insecure, and most tragically for some, without life.

We pledge to examine our role in cultural, systemic and interpersonal aggression toward BIPOC communities, especially our participation through silence, denial, projection, splitting, and avoidance.


We recognize that our failures to think about the impact of racism on BIPOC communities and about our own whiteness, prevented us from working together to create a more just and equal society, and a more diverse institute.

We pledge to devote our time, resources, and attention to examining racism, white supremacy, and white privilege.


We recognize that our words, however heartfelt and genuine, are empty, if they are not backed by actions, and that without change there can be no healing. We must work “not just to change how things look, but how things are” in the words of Layla F. Saad (2020).

We pledge to engage in quarterly institutional reviews where we will reflect on the progress IPI is making with regard to its pledges of anti-racism, and to update strategies and commitments as necessary.


updated 2/22/2022

This evolving statement was developed by the IPI Committee on Diversities and Intersectionality (Norma Caruso, Andi Eliza-Christie, Linda Hopkins, Patrizia Pallaro (Chair), Chris Thomas, Dio Turner II,) in collaboration with the IPI Board of Directors (Jason Aronson, Robert Bremner, Mary Burke, Andi Eliza-Christie, Richard Zeitner (Chair), IPI Director, Caroline Sehon, and the IPI Faculty Steering Committee.

Holmes Commission Report 

The Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in American Psychoanalysis – Final Report (2023)

Resources for Therapists and Analysts


Resources for parents raising anti-racist children:

Articles to read:


Videos to watch:


Podcasts to subscribe to:



Somatic Abolitionism


Non-fiction Books:

Fiction Books:

Films and TV series to watch:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — Hulu with Cinemax or available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
  • King In The Wilderness  — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Available to rent for free
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Organizations to follow on social media:

More anti-racism resources to check out:

Selected Papers

  • Altman, N. (2006) Whiteness. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 75:45-72
  • Altman, N. (2000). Black and White Thinking: A Psychoanalyst Reconsiders Race. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 10(4): 589-605.
  • Bodnar, S. (2004). Remember Where You Come From: Dissociative Process in Multicultural Individuals. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14:581-603.
  • Hamer, F. M. (2006). Racism as a transference state: Episodes of racial hostility in the psychoanalytic context. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 75(1), 197-214.
  • Hamer, F. M., (2002). Guards at the Gate: Race, Resistance, and Psychic Reality Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 50:1219-1237.
  • Kelly, S., & Boyd-Franklin, N. (2005). African American women in client, therapist, and supervisory relationships: The parallel processes of race, culture, and family. In M. Rastogi & E. Wieling (Eds.), The voices of color: First person accounts of ethnic minority therapists (pp. 67-89). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Layton, L. (2006). Racial identities, racial enactments, and normative unconscious processes. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, LXXV(1), 237-269.
  • Leary, K. (2007). Racial insult and repair. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 17(4), 539-550.
  • Leary, K. (1997). Race, Self-Disclosure, and “Forbidden Talk”: Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Psychoanalytic Practice. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 66: 163-189.
  • Suchet, M. (2004). A Relational Encounter with Race. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14(4):423-438
  • Tummala-Narra, P., (2004), Dynamics of race and culture in the supervisory encounter, Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 2, 300–311.
  • Vaughans, K. C. (2014). Disavowed fragments of the intergenerational transmission of trauma from slavery among African Americans. In K. C. Vaughans and W. Spielberg (Eds). The Psychology of black boys and adolescents. Vol. 2, pp 189-208. New York: Praeger.
  • Vaughans, K. C. (2015). To unchain haunting blood memories. In M. O’Loughlin & M. Charles (Eds). In M. O’Loughlin & M. Charles (Eds). Fragments of trauma and the social production of suffering: Trauma, history, and memory. pp 277-290. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefiled.