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Clinical Conference: Lynne Layton – Toward a Social Psychoanalysis: Character, Culture, and Normative Unconscious Processes

  • 01 May 2021
  • 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Zoom Meeting


(depends on selected options)

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The Connecticut Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology


Lynne Layton, PhD

Toward a Social Psychoanalysis:  

Character, Culture, and Normative Unconscious Processes

Art: Olga Albizu, Radiante,1967, Smithsonian American Art Museum 

Lecture and Clinical Workshop

Saturday, May 1, 2021

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

CSPP conferences will be held via Zoom until further notice.  

The Speaker  

Lynne Layton, PhD is a psychoanalyst at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and teaches Social Psychoanalysis at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Lynne is the author of Who’s That Girl? Who’s That Boy? Clinical Practice Meets Postmodern Gender Theory, and co-editor of Psychoanalysis, Class and Politics: Encounters in the Clinical Setting. From 2004-2018, she co-edited Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. She is a past-President of Section IX of Division 39 and co-founded Reflective Spaces/Material Places-Boston: psychodynamic therapists committed to community mental health and social justice. She is on the organizing committee of the Grassroots Reparations Campaign. Toward a Social Psychoanalysis: Character, Culture, and Normative Unconscious Processes was published in 2020.


Beginning with Fromm's assertion of a "social unconscious" and vignettes from the 50s and 60s that illustrate how clinical interpretations can contribute to reproducing a sexist status quo and particular kinds of character, the presentation speaks to how unconscious psychosocial processes permeate identity formation and clinical work. Examples of racist, sexist, and classist enactments in the clinic and culture demonstrate the workings of normative unconscious processes that sustain cultural and power inequalities. Such enactments are not considered "mistakes," but rather demonstrate the way identities of both patients and therapists are formed by cultural demands to split off and project ways of being human deemed not "proper" to occupying their given social position. The talk concludes with thoughts about contemporary social forces that contribute to white middle-class subject formation and white middle-class symptoms, focusing again on unconscious collusions that stem from both culture and clinic.


Learning Objectives

1.     Participants will be able to recognize various ways that ordinary psychological states and character are produced by culturally-mandated splitting and projective processes.
2.     Participants will be able to recognize normative processes and their operation in the clinic and culture.
3.     Participants will be able to recognize the way that neoliberal institutions and ideologies shape subjective practices and create particular kinds of symptoms, with which therapists can either unconsciously collude—or analyze.


Layton, L. (2016) Yale or jail: Class struggles in neoliberal times. In: Goodman, D.M. and Severson, E.R. (eds.) The Ethical Turn. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 75-93.

Layton, L. (2017) Racialized enactments and normative unconscious processes: Where haunted identities meet. In: Salberg, J. and Grand, S. (eds.) Transgenerational Trauma and the Other. New York: Routledge, pp. 144-164.

Layton, L. (2019) Transgenerational hauntings: Toward a social psychoanalysis and an ethic of dis-illusionment.Psychoanalytic Dialogues 29:105-121.



The conference is appropriate for professionals interested in the practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The instructional level of this conference is intermediate.

Continuing Education

This conference has been approved for for 1.5 continuing education hours(NASW & Div. 39) Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Social workers can receive continuing education credit through NASW/CT.

If CE credit is desired, please mark the appropriate box on the registration page. A $3.00 fee will be added. In addition, 100% attendance and a completed evaluation form is required to receive CE credit. The evaluation form will be sent in the form of an online survey to all registrants within a few days after the event. Questions/problems, contact the registrar,  Matt Bukowsk,MA, LPC

To Register and Pay

Members - remember to log in to register as a member. 

If you do not log in, you won't be recognized as a member.

All registrations must be made and paid for online.

Refunds will be given in full until the Monday before the conference. To receive a refund cancel your registration online by going to your profile in the upper right corner, select "My Event Registrations" click on the event, then click on "Cancel Reservation." If you have problems, you can contact the registrar, Matt Bukowski, MA, LPC.

A zoom link will be sent the day before the event.

Members and Contacts - Need to update your information? Please login to your profile, then click under your name at View Profile, to make any changes or additions, including changes of email addresses. If you have problems, contact Ashley Warner, LCSW, BCDP, Corresponding Secretary.

Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Participants are asked to be aware of needs for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them.

Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Ellen Nasper, PhD, at Ellen Nasper.

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