Dangerous Territory: Racist Moments in the Psychoanalytic Space
Racism and racist fantasies are inherent to being human yet have had profound traumatic
effects on an individual and collective scale. Lurking in the shadows, racist images, fantasies
and attitudes can suddenly enter the analytic space and disrupt the psychic functioning of both
the analyst and patient. Dr. Shah will present a personal experience with racism outside the office
with clinical material involving his struggle in the countertransference around racist material
brought up by his patient. He will discuss racial enactments, playfulness, racial humor, white
privilege, and political/cultural differences while focusing on countertransference reactions.
Dhwani Shah, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst currently practicing in Princeton, NJ.
He is a clinical associate faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a faculty member at the Psychoanalytic Center of
Philadelphia. The recipient of the University of Pennsylvania PENN Pearls Teaching Award for
excellence in clinical medical education, the University of Pennsylvania residency education
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Award, and the Laughlin Merit Award for professional achievement,
Dr. Shah has authored articles in the areas of neuroscience, mood disorders, and psychoanalysis.
His book The Analyst’s Torment: Unbearable Mental States in Countertransference is forthcoming
from Phoenix Publishing House in the Spring of 2021.