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Social Psychoanalysis: Theory and Practice is a Course

Social Psychoanalysis: Theory and Practice

Ended May 6, 2023

Sorry! The enrollment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Friday, April 21, 2023 | 10:45AM - 12:15PM (ET) | Hybrid Lecture

Eligible for 1.5 CEUs for Psychologists, Social Workers, and LMHCs


Murray Room, Yawkey Athletic Center at Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 and Online via Zoom

Please let us know how you will be attending the lecture by completing the Modality Survey.


This event is free to the public. Please use the promotional code LAYTON23 to register at no cost.

This event is $25 for practitioners seeking CEs for this lecture. As per the credentialing bodies, we can only grant CEs for attendance of live events. Please pay and register for the lecture so that we may keep track of your attendance. Your CE registration status may not be changed after the event.


While many psychosocial theorists have drawn on psychoanalysis to explore conscious and unconscious connections between the psychic and the social, most such efforts have been in the realm of “applied psychoanalysis,” that is, the exploration of unconscious process in group relations, institutions, cultures, historical eras. Few, but increasingly more psychosocial psychoanalytic writers are taking up how socially shaped unconscious processes emerge and are worked with in the clinic and in institutions. In this talk, Dr. Lynne Layton reviews some of the psychosocial psychoanalytic theory that has informed clinical work, including the work of Fanon, Fromm, liberation psychologists, critical psychologists, psychoanalytic feminist theorists, and critical race theorists. Her focus is on how concepts that bridge the psychic and the social, without reducing one to the other, have found their way into clinical theory and practice.

Dr. Layton will survey a few different conceptualizations of what is meant by social psychoanalysis and then focus more specifically on what she has called “normative unconscious processes,” her own attempt conceptually to bridge these domains. Extending Fromm’s concepts of social unconscious and social character, Dr. Layton argues that a properly psychosocial psychoanalysis must account for the ways that patients’ and therapists’ intersectional social locations (e.g., class, race, gender, sexuality), as they are lived and enacted within particular power relations and histories, unconsciously and consciously emerge in clinic and culture, at times reproducing, and at times countering what Fromm called the “pathology of normalcy.” Given the current conjuncture, she pays particular attention to neoliberal subject formations as they are met with in the clinic and culture. The lecture will conclude with Dr. Layton's thoughts from a psychoanalytic perspective on how current clinical innovations might contribute to critical psychosocial theorizing.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify psychosocial psychoanalytic theories and concepts that bridge the psychic and the social
  2. Describe and give examples of clinical enactments of normative unconscious processes
  3. Identify some ways that neoliberal institutions and ideologies shape subjective practices and create particular kinds of symptoms

Timeline and Requirements:

The course will take place on Friday, April 21, 2023.  This lecture is presenter-led and is a hybrid experience. This will be conducted synchronously online via Zoom and in person (location TBD) from 10:45AM-12:15PM (ET). 

CE Sponsorship: 

University Counseling Services of Boston College is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. As a co-sponsor of this program, University Counseling Services of Boston College maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Participants will be eligible to receive 1.5 CE units from University Counseling Services of Boston College. 

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development is providing sponsorship for CEUs for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). Participants will be eligible to receive 1.5 CE units. These credits are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Category I contact hours in Content Area I).

This program has been approved for 1.5 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. NASW-MA Chapter CE Approval Program Authorization Number D91688.

Participants must attend the lecture in full and complete the post event survey to be eligible to receive CEs.

This lecture does not offer CEs for other clinicians not listed above. 

Fees and Policies:

This event is free if you are NOT seeking CEs towards your license. If you plan on seeking CEs for this lecture, the cost is $25. Once you have registered for the class, your CE registration status is fixed and cannot be adjusted at a later time.  

Payment is due by credit card at registration. Registration closes April 21st at 5pm. Refunds will be granted only up to the time of the lecture. 

This lecture is made possible through the support of Grant 62632 from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed by these presenters do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. If you need to request an accommodation or ask a question about accessibility, please contact

Additional offerings from the Lynch School Professional & Continuing Education Office can be found on our website