The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) recognizes the historical lack of diversity and the exclusion of certain ethnic groups in the field of psychoanalysis. Diversity is a core value of ICP that stems from our founding emphasis on pluralism, inclusiveness, and democratic governance; our intent is that all voices be heard, appreciated, and nurtured. ICP promotes and supports the inclusion of candidates and members from diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations, religious, gender expressions and the disabled. This makes for a community that aspires to reflect the diversity of the surrounding geographic communities of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The ICP community accepts the importance of gaining a higher understanding of working cross culturally. This means gaining awareness of the obstacles to successful interactions with those different from us and by developing a deeper appreciation of how our own ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and physical and mental health organize our worldview, histories, cultural values and prejudices.
In 2006, the ICP Board of Directors established the formation of a diversity committee. The current name of the committee is The Task Force to Address Racism and Homophobia. The Task Force’s mission statement contends that it will promote and assist ICP to fulfill its mission as an inclusive analytic Institute by increasing it’s diversity and seeking ways to enhance it’s relationships with and acceptance of diverse groups. The Task Force assists candidates and members: (1) in being sensitive to the exclusion of the disabled, people of color, certain religions and lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people; (2) in taking an active role to identify and work with blind spots of their own; and (3) consider how psychoanalytic theories influence clinical practice with those from oppressed religious and ethnic groups, sexual orientations, gender variances and disabled groups. The Task Force specifically focuses on groups that have been traditionally and systematically excluded from the psychoanalytic community and has provided workshops on a variety of diversity issues since its inception.
ICP understands the many factors that have led to a chronic lack of diversity in psychoanalytic institutes. It has tried to address psychoanalysis’ negative reputation amongst people of color and the LGBQT community that is a direct consequence of the exclusion of these groups from the field. Institute members provide no fee consultation to local mental health agencies to exhibit contemporary psychoanalytic thinking. In addition, ICP offers an Ethnic Minority Scholarship to assist its psychoanalytic psychotherapy program students and psychoanalytic candidates with tuition. Not only does this demonstrate ICP’s commitment to change, but it recognizes the increased financial burden carried by professionals of color.
ICP realizes that the Institute has to be prepared to respond appropriately to an increase of diversity in its programs. This means that our faculty and courses must reflect our commitment to diversity. Although it is only a beginning effort, on an annual basis, the Task Force trains new faculty on interacting in a more diverse environment and on how to think about the inclusion of issues related to diversity, power and privilege in the course work. It is ICP’s goal that course readings and curriculum reflect its commitment and mission. ICP encourages its candidates and members to speak openly on controversial topics and perspectives regarding diversity issues in clinical encounters and lived experience outside of the consulting room.