Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis: New Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis

New Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality, 1st Edition

Edited by Max Belkin, Cleonie White


240 pages

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Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis: New Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality examines the links between race, gender, and sexuality through the dual perspectives of relational psychoanalysis and the theory of intersectionality.

This anthology discusses the ways in which clinicians and patients inadvertently reproduce experiences of privilege and marginalization in the consulting room. Focusing particularly on the experiences of immigrants, women of color, sex workers, and LGBTQ individuals, the contributing authors explore how similarities and differences between the patient's and analyst's gender, race, and sexual orientation can be acknowledged, challenged, and negotiated. Combining intersectional theory with relational psychoanalytic thought, the authors introduce a number of thought-provoking clinical vignettes to suggest how adopting an intersectional approach can help us navigate the space between pathology and difference in psychotherapy.

By bringing together these new psychoanalytically-informed perspectives on clinical work with minority and marginalized individuals, Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis makes an important contribution to psychoanalysis, psychology, and social work.


"Placing psychoanalysis and the discourse of intersectionality in direct dialogue, this collection consolidates new and refreshing clinical approaches to the ways in which modern subjects construct their identities, consciously and unconsciously. Thinking race, gender, and sexual orientation together, the contributors update and expand the theoretical insights of an older discourse of "identity politics," situating processes of self-formation and interaction with difference firmly in the space of relational rather than individual dynamics."

Michelle Stephens, Ph.D., practicing psychoanalyst and author of Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis and the Black Male Performer (Duke UP, 2014).

"Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis is an essential and invaluable contribution to our field at a moment when psychoanalysis has finally begun to embrace the challenge of analyzing the social and historical contexts that organize our psychic experience—particularly the effects of collective trauma and intergenerational transmission. Each of these illuminating essays provides a uniquely thoughtful and complex answer to the question of how we integrate a perspective that recognizes the interpenetrating effects on psychic life of the relationships between race, sexual orientation, gender, class, and ethnicity. This volume represents an impressive work of vision, originality and depth that invites us, the readers, to immerse ourselves in the vital reflection on how we are formed by and express the social in our psychic lives and our clinical work.

Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D. author, Beyond Doer and Done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third (2017)

Through a series of powerful essays, White and Belkin bring a collective voice to the marginalization of "the other" and locate the challenges and opportunities that are available within the therapeutic situation. These papers, through rich clinical material, compel us to step into the intersection of race, gender and sexuality with our patients, moving away from being a "perpetrating bystander" (Leavitt and Harris) in our clinical function. Regardless of one’s theoretical approach, these are valuable insights that promote seeing ourselves and our patients more complexly, mitigating the tribalism that is ascendant in modern society and impacts our therapeutic capacities. Many of the chapters are written in the current relational idiom involving a degree of self-disclosure and a flexibility of psychoanalytic framework that may be regarded with varying degrees of acceptance by schools of psychoanalytic thought and readership. This book offers fertile ground for consideration of issues of otherness in psychoanalysis, thus serving a valuable contribution to breaking our silence to the monolithic conclusions that regard the other and impact our relevance in modern society that yearns for this form of inquiry.

Dionne R. Powell, M.D., author of Race, African Americans, and Psychoanalysis: Collective Silence in the Therapeutic Situation (2012)

Table of Contents

PART I. 1. Who Is Queer Around Here? Intersections of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Psychotherapy Max Belkin 2. Minding the Gap: Intersections between Gender, Race, and Class in Work with Gender Variant Children Avgi Saketopoulou PART II. 3. Subordinated Selves: Integrating Intersectional Oppression and the Unconscious Mind in Prostitution Discourse Hannah Pocock 4. Skin memories: On Race, Love, and Loss Sue Grand Part III. 5. Intersectionality in the Immigrant Context Pratyusha Tummala-Narra 6. Strangers in Paradise: Trevor, Marley, and Me: Reggae Music and the Foreigner Other Cleonie White PART IV. 7. Intersectionality, Normative Unconscious Processes, and Racialized Enactments of Distinction Lynne Layton 8. Intersectionality Encountering Laplanche: Models of Otherness and the Incomprehensibility of Perpetration Julie Leavitt & Adrienne Harris 9. Intersectionality: From Politics to Identity

About the Editors

Max Belkin, Ph.D., is a supervisor of psychotherapy and faculty at the William Alanson White Institute, associate editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and adjunct faculty at the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City, specializing in treating individuals and couples.

Cleonie White, Ph.D., is fellow, faculty, and supervisor of psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute, adjunct clinical assistant professor at New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and faculty and supervisor at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Dr. White maintains a private practice in NYC.

About the Series

Psychoanalysis in a New Key Book Series

When music is played in a new key, the melody does not change, but the notes that make up the composition do: change in the context of continuity, continuity that perseveres through change. Psychoanalysis in a New Key publishes books that share the aims psychoanalysts have always had, but that approach them differently. The books in the series are not expected to advance any particular theoretical agenda, although to this date most have been written by analysts from the Interpersonal and Relational orientations.

The most important contribution of a psychoanalytic book is the communication of something that nudges the reader’s grasp of clinical theory and practice in an unexpected direction. Psychoanalysis in a New Key creates a deliberate focus on innovative and unsettling clinical thinking. Because that kind of thinking is encouraged by exploration of the sometimes surprising contributions to psychoanalysis of ideas and findings from other fields, Psychoanalysis in a New Key particularly encourages interdisciplinary studies. Books in the series have married psychoanalysis with dissociation, trauma theory, sociology, and criminology. The series is open to the consideration of studies examining the relationship between psychoanalysis and any other field – for instance, biology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, systems theory, anthropology, and political theory.

But innovation also takes place within the boundaries of psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis in a New Key therefore also presents work that reformulates thought and practice without leaving the precincts of the field. Books in the series focus, for example, on the significance of personal values in psychoanalytic practice, on the complex interrelationship between the analyst’s clinical work and personal life, on the consequences for the clinical situation when patient and analyst are from different cultures, and on the need for psychoanalysts to accept the degree to which they knowingly satisfy their own wishes during treatment hours, often to the patient’s detriment.

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Subject Categories

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