Culturally Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Cover of Culturally Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (medium)
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Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Availability: In Stock
Running Time: more than 100 minutes
Item #: 4310974
ISBN: 978-1-4338-2725-9
Copyright: 2017
APA Psychotherapy Training Videos are intended solely for educational purposes for mental health professionals. Viewers are expected to treat confidential material found herein according to strict professional guidelines. Unauthorized viewing is prohibited.

In Culturally Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Dr. Pratyusha Tummala-Narra demonstrates her approach to psychotherapy that involves an integration of contemporary psychoanalytic theory, multicultural psychology, and feminist psychology.

Her theoretical understanding of clients' presenting issues is based on the idea that individual development is shaped by interpersonal, sociocultural, and systemic factors and circumstances. She presents a model for a psychoanalytic, culturally informed psychotherapy which extends existing conceptualizations within psychoanalysis and psychology to a deeper understanding of the interplay between the individual and his/her sociocultural world, and its influence on identity, relationships, and psychological well-being.

In this video, Dr. Tummala-Narra demonstrates this approach to therapy with a Caucasian woman who is coming into therapy to deal with deep-rooted feelings regarding race and racial tension.

This video features a client portrayed by an actor on the basis of actual case material.


Dr. Pratyusha Tummala-Narra's framework for culturally informed psychoanalytic psychotherapy contains five areas of focus:

  1. Attending to indigenous narrative
  2. Considering the role of language and affect
  3. Addressing social oppression and traumatic stress
  4. Recognizing the complexity of cultural identifications
  5. Expanding self-examination

This approach is relevant to psychotherapy with clients of all sociocultural backgrounds. Further, it recognizes the experiences of people on the margins, the role of social injustice and privilege in identity development, relational life and psychological health, the dynamic and hybrid nature of culture, and the client's and the therapist's self-inquiry.

Therapeutic interventions reflect thoughtful listening to the client's experiences of marginalization, expressions of distress, pathology, and resilience, and complex and conflictual cultural identifications, attending to conscious and unconscious processes related to the client's and the therapist's lives, and addressing the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship.

About the Therapist

Usha Tummala-Narra received her PhD in clinical psychology from Michigan State University. She has held clinical, research, teaching, and administrative roles throughout her career.

She is the former director of the Asian Mental Health Clinic and supervising psychologist in the Victims of Violence Program, both at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, and a supervising psychologist at Georgetown University School of Medicine and the Michigan School of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Tummala-Narra has practiced psychotherapy for more than 20 years. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College, and a teaching associate at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. She has an independent practice in Cambridge, MA.

Her publications concern research, theory, and clinical practice in the areas of multicultural issues, particularly immigration and race, and traumatic stress. She has also written extensively on psychoanalytic perspectives in psychotherapy.


This is a therapist that knows the complex sorrow of clinical work and who can reflect on it…Listening to Tummala-Narra listen to her client opened up new ways of experiencing the complexity and fluid nature of our cultural narratives.

Suggested Readings
  • Ainslie, R. C. (2009). Social class and its reproduction in the immigrant's construction of self. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 14, 213–224. doi:10.1057/pcs.2009.13
  • Akhtar, S. (2011). Immigration and acculturation: Mourning, adaptation, and the next generation. New York: Jason Aronson.
  • Altman, N. (2010). The analyst in the inner city: Race, class, and culture through a psychoanalytic lens (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
  • Aron, L., & Starr, K. (2013). A psychotherapy for the people: Toward a progressive psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge.
  • Bromberg, P. (2006). Awakening the dreamer: Clinical journeys. Mahwah, NJ: Analytic Press.
  • Comas-Díaz, L. (2012). Multicultural care: A clinician's guide to cultural competence. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Holmes, D.E. (1992). Race and transference in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 73(1), 1–11.
  • McWilliams, N. (2014). Psychodynamic therapy. In L.S. Greenberg, N. McWilliams, & A. Wenzel (Eds.), Exploring three approaches to psychotherapy (pp. 71–127). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Mitchell, S. A. (1988). Relational concepts in psychoanalysis: An integration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Seeley, K. (2005). The listening cure: Listening for culture in intercultural psychological treatments. The Psychoanalytic Review, 92(3), 431–452. doi:10.1521/prev.92.3.431.66539
  • Stolorow, R. D. (1988). Intersubjectivity, psychoanalytic knowing, and reality. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 24(2), 331–338. doi:10.1080/00107530.1988.10746247
  • Suchet, M. (2004). A relational encounter with race. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14(4), 423–438. doi:10.1080/10481881409348796
  • Tummala-Narra, P. (2016). Psychoanalytic theory and cultural competence in psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Tummala-Narra, P. (2013). Psychoanalytic applications in a diverse society. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(3), 471–487.
  • Wachtel, P. L. (2009). Knowing oneself from the inside out, knowing oneself from the outside in: The "inner" and "outer" worlds and their link through action. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 26(2), 158–170.
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and reality. New York: Routledge.
  • Yi, K. Y. (1998). Transference and race: An intersubjective conceptualization. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 15(2), 245–261.

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