Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra’s Work in Historical Context

“Western-based psychotherapies, such as psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic therapies have historically decontextualized, ahistoricized, and depoliticized individual development” -Dr. Tummala-Narra

As Dr. Tummala-Narris states above, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies have long been criticized for neglecting the context in which individual development occurs. Context includes not only one’s social context, such as the community in which they live, but also historical context (the time in which they live), systemic context, (the systems in which they live), and cultural context (the culture(s) in which they live). Neglecting so much information provides an inaccurate and non-holistic picture of an individual, which places undue weight on that individual’s role in their development and dynamics and can, subsequently, contribute to internalized oppression and a compromised sense of agency. In addition to these potential impacts for clients in psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies, the neglect of important contextual information like racism and xenophobia also impacts therapists, supervisors, and supervisees. Dr. Tummala-Narris plans to address all of these impacts in her upcoming presentation at WILA.

Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra at WILA

Given our commitments to antiracism and equitable access to psychoanalytic psychotherapy, WILA and the WILA Alumni Association are proud to welcome Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra as she presents her work in an upcoming CE Event on Saturday, October 14th, 2023. During this three-hour event, Dr. Tummala-Narra will explore the traumatic impact of racism and xenophobia on the intrapsychic and interpersonal lives of clients, therapists, supervisees, and supervisors, with an emphasis on the experiences of racial minority immigrants in the United States. She will address how historical and ongoing racism influence the therapeutic relationship, including transference and countertransference, and she will provide considerations for a decolonizing approach to engaging with race in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Further, Dr. Tummala-Narra will focus on the dynamics of the supervisory relationship, specifically how the supervisee and the supervisor can examine transference and counter-transference rooted in sociocultural issues; develop an ability to tolerate and engage with anxiety, fear, and shame in discussing issues, such as race, culture, religion, social class, and sexual orientation; and discuss relevant power dynamics.

WILA is also proud to share that this event meets the CA Board of Psychology’s Continuing Professional Development guidelines for “Cultural Diversity and/or Social Justice” for license renewal. If you are in need of these credits and are interested in expanding your understanding of racism and xenophobia in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision, consider registering for this event BEFORE rates increase! “Early Bird Rates” will only be available through September 30th, 2023. Learn more and register here.

Who is Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra?

Research, Scholarship, and Publications

In addition to her multiple roles in the American Psychological Association and its divisions, Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D. is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Director of Community-Based Education at the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Institute at Boston University. Her research and scholarship focus on immigration, trauma, race, and culturally-informed psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and her publications include over 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her recent research has explored the experience of and responses to sexual violence among racial minority immigrant communities, and the experience of racism and related stress faced by Asian Americans. She is also engaged in theoretical and clinical scholarship examining sociocultural issues in psychotherapy from a psychodynamic perspective.  Beyond this, Dr. Tummala-Narra is an Associate Editor of the Asian American Journal of Psychology, Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Senior Psychotherapy Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy (2016), and editor of Trauma and Racial Minority Immigrants: Turmoil, Uncertainty, and Resistance (2021), both published by the American Psychological Association Books.

WILA is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists, and that the California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts continuing education credit granted by the California Psychological Association or by any of its Approved Providers. WILA maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Similarly, WILA is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. WILA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.