Immigration in Psychoanalysis: Locating Ourselves, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Immigration in Psychoanalysis

Locating Ourselves, 1st Edition

Edited by Julia Beltsiou


224 pages

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Immigration in Psychoanalysis: Locating Ourselves presents a unique approach to understanding the varied and multi-layered experience of immigration, exploring how social, cultural, political, and historical contexts shape the psychological experience of immigration, and with it the encounter between foreign-born patients and their psychotherapists.

Beltsiou brings together a diverse group of contributors, including Ghislaine Boulanger, Eva Hoffman and Dori Laub, to discuss their own identity as immigrants and how it informs their work. They explore the complexity and the contradictions of the immigration process - the tension between loss and hope, future and past, the idealization and denigration of the other/stranger, and what it takes to tolerate the existential dialectic between separateness and belonging.

Through personal accounts full of wisdom and nuance, the stories of immigration come to life and become accessible to the reader. Intended for clinicians, students, and academics interested in contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives on the topic of immigration, this book serves as a resource for clinical practice and can be read in courses on psychoanalysis, cultural psychology, immigrant studies, race and ethnic relations, self and identity, culture and human development, and immigrants and mental health. 


"Julia Beltsiou has successfully assembled talented psychoanalytic writers and scholar-practitioners with immigrant origins to create a substantive corpus of scholarship on immigration. In their work with immigrant patients we see humans striving to transmit language, thought and meanings about their histories as they mediate residual themes of hitherto unmetabolized personal and family stories. We hear gems of concealed and unconcealed narratives forging their way up. In the schism between remembering and oblivion, psychoanalysts and their immigrant patients negotiate and reconfigure their divided emigrant and immigrant selves to acquire new and felicitous destinies. A must read!"-Maurice Apprey, University of Virginia.

"This remarkable book, written by psychoanalysts who are immigrants themselves and fostered by analysands with the same background, is not only a collection of touching life stories, but also a document of fateful aspects of psychoanalytic history and a profound reflection on general conditions of subjectivity. In this sense immigration turns out to be not only the destiny of certain individuals or groups. It implies also, that we are all foreign to ourselves and that each desire is a longing for belonging…"-August Ruhs, M.D., former President of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Association and former 2011 Deputy Head of the Department of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy , Medical University of Vienna.

Table of Contents

Dedication. Acknowledgements. Contributors. Introduction. Immigration as Psychological Opportunity. The Effects of Immigration on Self Experience. Otherness in Immigration. Native Language, Foreign Tongue Foreign Tongue: Speaking. Name Changes. Trauma and the Experience of Immigration. Mourning and Melancholia in Immigrants. Forever and Immigrant.Index.

About the Editor

Julia Beltsiou is a psychologist in private practice in New York City, where she works with a diverse group of patients, and supervises clinicians. She is an advanced candidate at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis, and lectures nationally and internationally on the topic of the psychological experience of immigration.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health