SBCPS – South Bay Reading and Discussion Group November

Social context/cultural trauma and their structuring impact on the psyche

Dorothy Evans Holmes and Lynne Layton on the effects on subjectivity of power/status/cultural differences.
Organized by Julie Gerhardt, PhD

Friday November 20, 7:00-9:00pm

logoArguing that subjectivity is shaped by both early experiences in the family (early registrations of experience as well as the internalized object relations) and social-cultural history/cultural trauma based in part on group identities (race, class, gender, sexuality), both Holmes and Layton offer thought-provoking discussions as well as useful clinical material on the effects on subjectivity of power/status differentials as held both consciously and unconsciously in culture. Whereas Layton argues for the unconscious effects on identity of the pressure to internalize cultural norms and ideologies, in Holmes’ words, “there’s a layer within the psyche that contains and secrets crimes of humanity and their history”. Both theorists present compelling clinical material concerning the narcissistic wounds caused by conscious and unconscious racism, sexism and classism along with a discussion of the clinician’s temptation to reduce the social to the psychic by offering interpretations based on a register of psychological insight that not only delinks the psychic and the social, but reduces social influence to the intrapsychically organized family drama.


Holmes, Dorothy Evans (2016). Culturally imposed trauma: The sleeping dog has awakened. Will psychoanalysis take heed? Psychoanalytic Dial., 26: 641-654

Layton, Lynne (2020). Chptr. 3: Attacks on linking: The unconscious pull to dissociate individuals from their social context. In: Leavy-Sperounis, M. (ed.) Toward a Social Psychoanalysis: Culture, Character and Normative Unconscious Processes. NY: Routledge (pgs. 34-44).

Background reading, not required: 

Diangelo, Robin (2018): Chptr 1: White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press. I’ve been listening from my Audible App.

Layton, Lynne (2020). Chptr. 1: Dreams of America/American dreams. op. cit. 1-23.

Social time at 6:45, meeting starts promptly at 7:00pm.

November 20th, 2020 7:00 PM
Online via Zoom (Pacific Time Zone)
United States
Event Fee(s)
Admission $ 15.00