For the last 35 years, Mary Watkins has been re-thinking depth psychology from the vantage point of psychologies of liberation from the “South.” Seeing from these perspectives from the “South” helps us to better understand the Eurocentrism of depth psychology, including its relationships to colonialism, capitalism, and racism. Liberation psychology, rooted in an interdependent paradigm, asks us to mobilize psychology in our struggles for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. In the process our psychologies must be transformed into transdisciplinary efforts to meet these challenges. To engage in the public practice of psychology, working at the community level, we need to be acutely aware of our own positionality and how it affects the psychotherapeutic and/or community work we are involved in.
In four monthly pre-taped 1-1.5 hour webinars, Watkins will present key theorists – Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Marie Langer, Brinton Lykes and others – whose work can be studied to re-orient our approach to depth psychology. Additionally, in four 1-1.5 hour live discussion group calls, participants will pursue questions, and attempt to ground theories and practices from liberation psychology, in their own work. Each month, participants will be able to access at their leisure, readings, lectures, and handouts relevant to the month’s topic, in preparation for discussion together.
These webinars and discussions are designed to help participants:
Critique Eurocentrism in depth psychological theories and practices from the perspective of liberation psychology
Differentiate an individualistically oriented approach to trauma from a psychosocial understanding
Be able to discuss ways to develop critical consciousness in relationship to psychological issues
Differentiate ecopsychosocial accompaniment from psychotherapeutic interventions
Frantz Fanon, a European trained psychiatrist from Martinique, was excluded from the study of depth psychology for decades. Fully conversant with Freud, Jung, Adler, and Lacan, he used depth psychological concepts to describe the experiences of colonized people of color who had largely been either neglected or derided by depth psychology. He approached other psychoanalytic and Jungian concepts critically, challenging the Eurocentrism, racism, and universalism endemic to Western psychology. He emphasized the indissolubility of psychological states from sociocultural realities, including racism and oppression. In doing so, he argued for the linkage between social liberation and individual and community well-being. His work sets the stage for the emergence of liberation psychology.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire describes a dialogical approach to helping groups of people decode the sociopolitical context of their lives and to envision new ways of being that can mobilize people to join in solidarity to transform their shared circumstances. In the U.S. South, similar approaches were unfolding at Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee and throughout the South in public homeplaces co-created by African American women cultural workers.
Liberation theology was a decisive break by some Catholics from supporting oppressing elites in Latin America. It quickly spawned liberation psychology. Both committed themselves to a “preferential option for the poor” and to the creation of vibrant, joyful, just, and loving communities. Social psychologist, Ignacio Martín-Baró, carefully articulated the goals and practices of a liberating psychology before his assassination in 1989. We will look carefully at the ideas and practices articulated in Writings for a Liberation Psychology.
How do the ideas of liberation psychology inform the practice of psychology today? This session will give examples of contemporary liberation psychology practice, crystallizing its goals and methods. Psychosocial accompaniment will be compared with and differentiated from psychotherapy, opening the door to the public practice of liberation psychology.
Mary Watkins, PhD, is chair of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program, a founding co-chair of its Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies Specialization, and Coordinator of Community and Ecological Fieldwork at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. She is the author of Mutual Accompaniment and the Creation of the Commons, as well as the author of Waking Dreams, Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues. She is co-author of Toward Psychologies of Liberation, Talking with Young Children About Adoption, Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border, and a co-editor of “Psychology and the Promotion of Peace” (Journal of Social Issues, 44, 2). She was a member of a participatory research team on the experiences of people living in Santa Barbara without documents—In the Shadows of Paradise: Testimonies from the Undocumented Community on Santa Barbara. She works at the interfaces between Euro-American depth psychologies and psychologies of liberation from Latin America, Africa and Asia. Mary-Watkins.net
Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus
801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
A limited number of scholarships are available for this program. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Continuing Education Credit:
This program meets qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.
This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.
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