Racism, Black Bodies, and Psychodynamic Therapy

  • Lisa L. MooreEmail author
  • Claire Carswell
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


Institutionalized forms of oppression have framed the experience of black people in the USA, yet rarely are they examined in a way that draws on Frantz Fanon’s concept of the phobogenic object. This chapter draws on the discussions of racism by Fanon (the author of Black Skin, White Masks [1952]) and by Annie Lee Jones and Megan Obourn (the authors of the article “Object Fear: The National Dissociation of Race and Racism in the Era of Obama” [2014]) to explore the application of phobogenesis in relation to recent shootings of black boys and men in the USA. By examining the projection of criminal behavior onto the bodies of black boys and men between 2012 and 2017, one can elucidate the outcome of not addressing the role of fear as it resides in those with power. This chapter focuses specifically on the cases of police shootings of young black boys and the influence they have on the behavioral responses of black men in society. Clinical case study material is also highlighted to further explore the responses of black clients to institutionalized forms of racism and intersubjective and intrapsychic dynamics, as well as the processes that have contributed to the manifestation of racism through a case study of a white man.


Fanon Psychodynamic Phobogenic Race Racism Police shootings Black boys Black men 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Olaf CollegeNorthfieldUSA
  2. 2.McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA

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