9/22/2022 Grand Rounds

Culturally Informed Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD
The Albert and Jessie Danielsen Institute, Boston University
Research Professor, Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University

This presentation will offer a therapeutic model that calls for the integration of cultural competence as a core component of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Dr. Tummala-Narra will explore both a critique of psychoanalysis regarding the neglect of sociocultural context in psychotherapy and a discussion of psychoanalytic contributions to a complex understanding of sociocultural issues in psychotherapy. Specific approaches to cultural competence that extend existing psychoanalytic theory concerning sociocultural context will be presented. These include: the recognition of historical trauma and neglect of sociocultural issues, indigenous cultural narratives, role of context in the use of language and expression of affect, influence of experiences of social oppression and stereotypes on therapeutic process and outcome, and the dynamic nature of cultural identifications.

Learning Objectives:
    1. Identify the ways in which sociocultural context shapes intrapsychic and interpersonal life of clients and of therapists.
    2. Describe the effects of social oppression, such as racism, on psychological well-being of clients, and on the therapeutic relationship.
    3. Identify how cultural and linguistic contexts contribute to complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identifications.