Psychology and Racism: the Heritage of Clinical Psychology

Abstract

This article is the result of a research that investigates how race and racism affect the practice of psychologists. From a historical interpretation of the construction of what means to be a black person in Brazil, we discuss how Psychology can contribute against the suffering caused by racism. Supported by psychoanalysis and, more specifically, the concept of unconscious alliances as formulated by René Kaës, we investigate how professionals of clinical psychology identify (or not) problems related to racism, analyzing how they act when facing this problem. Open interviews based on Bleger’s assumptions were conducted with three professionals who work with clinical devices in public and private services in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. The records were used to discuss how racism is transmitted between generations and how it operates in the clinic, and how suffering is expressed by experiences of uncertainty related to the body, desire and professional ability in situations that refer to discrimination, prejudice and inferiority. There is ambiguity in the differentiation between racism and other types of social prejudice, and the value of historical appropriation is emphasized so that racial phenomena can be understood and overcome. This study concludes that the performance of Psychology is necessary politically and socially.

Keywords:
Psychology; Racism; Psychic transmission; Social groups; Clinic

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