Sadistic Transference Fantasies in the Wake of 9/11: Clinical Work Across Ethnic, Religious, Racial, and Cultural Boundaries

December 6, 2016
Lecturer: Aisha Abbasi, MD
Discussant: Susan Vaughan, MD

In this timely lecture, Dr. Abbasi describes how the ethnic difference between her patients and herself became a vehicle through which their feelings of hurt, rage, humiliation and sadism came into the analysis. Dr. Abbasi elaborates on how she was able to more effectively feel and process her patients’ sadistic attacks on her post-9/11, due to her internally increased awareness of her own conflicts regarding rage and sadism during that time. By attending to highly disturbing transference/countertransference pressures, an attitude of deep curiosity could be maintained, so that ethnic differences could be put to use. We might also consider how such clinical psychoanalytic work can be put to use in our broader understanding of racially, culturally and religiously-charged aggression in its various forms.

Dr. Abbasi is a training and supervising analyst at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Her works include “A Very Dangerous Conversation: The Patient’s Internal Conflicts Elaborated Through the Use of Ethnic and Religious Differences between Analyst and Patient, ” IJP, and “Speaking the Unspeakable,” in Blacks and Jews on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Black-Jewish Conflict, A. Helmreich and P. Marcus, eds. Her book, Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique was published by Karnac in 2014.