Race, Immigration Focus of APsaA Conference


Group Speaks Out Against S.B.4, Invites Governor Abbott

Austin, TX June 1, 2017 – At the American Psychoanalytic Association’s (APsaA) upcoming Annual Meeting in Austin, more than 500 mental health professionals will take part in two keynote sessions that offer a deeper, psychoanalytic perspective on how race, discrimination and “otherness” impact one’s mental well-being. The topics are especially timely given the controversial law S.B.4 signed by Governor Abbott last month.

The opening session will be a town hall discussion titled Race and Borders: Crisis in Contemporary American Identity moderated by Dorothy Holmes, Ph.D. with panelists Ricardo Ainslie, Ph.D. (Austin) and Francisco Gonzalez, M.D. Later that afternoon, psychoanalyst Gabriel Ruiz, M.A., will chair a panel presentation titled The Mexico-Texas Borderland: How It’s Been, How It Should Be with three borderland historians: Raul Ramos, Ph.D. (Houston), Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, Ph.D. (Austin) and C.J. Alvarez Ph.D. (Austin).

The Association has invited Governor Abbott to attend these presentations in a letter stressing the negative psychological impact of S.B.4. The letter joins the large, and growing, chorus of organizations, leaders and advocates urging the Governor to rescind this harmful bill before it takes effect in September. The full letter is available on the Association’s website.

“As mental health professionals we feel it is important to speak out about the passage of S.B.4 and address the potential harm this law will have on the mental health of Texas residents, especially children of immigrants, regardless of their legal status in the U.S.,” said Harriet Wolfe, M.D., president of APsaA. “We hope that our two programs and our presence in Austin will shed important light on the dangers of this law.”

The Annual Meeting will be held at the Austin Hilton Hotel from June 9th – 11th. In addition to these two sessions on race and immigration, the conference will feature more than 50 programs including one on another controversial issue – guns. That panel titled A Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Gun in American Culture will be held on Saturday afternoon.

APsaA conference organizers have stated they are excited to return to Texas for the first time since their Dallas meeting held in 1972; however, they feel this law will prevent the Association from returning until S.B.4 is repealed or proven unconstitutional in court.

“This law will not just harm immigrants and other minorities, but all Texans,” said Wolfe.

About The American Psychoanalytic Association

The American Psychoanalytic Association is a professional organization of psychoanalysts with approximately 3,300 members. The Association is comprised of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, educators, researchers and students who have an interest in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy.  Visit apsa.org for more information.

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Media Contact:
Wylie Tene
American Psychoanalytic Association
Director of Public Affairs
212-752-0450 ext. 29 / wtene@apsa.org