2020 Class

Welcome students.  On this page you will find course descriptions and syllabi for your class, as well as links to the required readings.  Future courses and readings will be updated.

Fall Semester 2020: Foundations – Critical Therapy

This course will introduce students to fundamental concepts of critical therapy.  Students will learn about basic tenants of: psychoanalysis, critical psychology, critical pedagogy and liberation psychology.  Students will also familiarize themselves with the three stages of critical therapy. Further, this course conceptualizes the therapeutic process in the context of changing perspectives about the therapeutic relationship and orients students to the rich curriculum to follow.  Clinical issues that students might face in the beginning of treatment with patients, will be addressed, as well as basic definitions central to critical therapy, including: assessment, transference, countertransference, the analytic stance, and power.


Spring 2021: Construction of Identities: The role of power and privilege in the therapeutic relationship

What is identity?  Is it a construct, a narrative? How do categories such as: race, class, gender and religion (to name a few) shape and construct one’s identity?  As therapists, what are the blind spots that may occur in the countertransference when working with patients who are generally considered “other” to us?  This course will start with a theoretical exploration of the notion of identity, and move towards a deep analysis and exploration of ways culture, color, gender identification and ableness, impact the clinical hour, for both patient and therapist.  Through our discussions and case presentations, we hope to increase our awareness of the multiplicity of our own context-dependent identification process. In some contexts, for instance, our gender renders us as marginal. In another context our color may render us as dominant. When placed in a dominant position, a therapist suffers the most severe limits on awareness of the clinical (and social) implications of their place. We have blind spots. We will also explore and reflect on our own privilege and power within and outside the clinical hour.


Summer 2021: Practicing Critical Therapy 

This course will focus on practical applications of theory in the beginning phases of critical therapy.  We will analyze and discuss the relationship between therapist and patient(s), with a deep focus on transference, intimacy and self-disclosure.  An interactive and intensive course, a great part of our time together will focus on case presentations, and introspection.


Fall 2021:  Transference and Countertransference: Therapy’s Playground 

Transference is a central concept in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the bedrock of our work with patients.  This course provides an in depth study of the concepts of transference and countertransference and transference and countertransference resistances with readings from the current and historical literature. We will explore the usefulness of working with transference for understanding the past and helping to create therapeutic change in the present. We will look at different kinds of transferences and different ways of working with transference. We will also consider the relationship between transference and countertransference, touching on related concepts of: projective identification, enactment, the therapist’s use of self, and the question of therapist self-disclosure. We will also discuss the use of transference in critical therapy and the concept of “paying in the sandbox” with your patient. Patient material and class process will be used to illustrate concepts of transference and countertransference and resistances.


Spring 2022: Critical Theory, Critical Psychology and Critical Psychoanalysis

This course introduces critical theory in the context of struggles for social justice, its implications for psychology, psychoanalysis and clinical practice. We will look at the writings of: Marx, Freud, Fromm, Marcuse and Habermas, and pay particular attention to the application of critical theory to psychoanalysis, and clinical praxis.  We will also discuss postcolonial theory, poststructuralism, deconstruction, feminism, and queer theory as they may inform the clinical hour and interact with critical psychology. We will pay particular attention to how psychology and clinical practice have been tacitly linked with dominant power structures.


Summer 2022: Racism, Colonialism, Oppression and Psychotherapy

Aiming to increase awareness and develop understanding of different type of oppression, we will study the impact of racism, colonialism and oppression of the psyche and mental health. A primary goal of this course is to encourage and aid the development of critical thinking and analysis of the messages we all receive about race, racism, colonialism, and power, while questioning our own privilege(s).