Refugees and Immigrants: How can Psychoanalysis Contribute?


The United Nations recently reported that, in 2019, 71 million people around the world were displaced from their homes by natural disasters, war, or for political or religious reasons. Sadly, these refugees and immigrants that are escaping from severe and extreme traumas might become re-traumatised during their escape and at their places of destination.

In this webinar, Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber, Sverre Varvin, Adriana Prengler and Yolanda Gampel will discuss some of the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees, and the role that psychoanalysis can play in helping to overcome them. Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber will provide an insight into the work of the ‘STEP-BY-STEP’ project for supporting refugees in a first reception institution in the Michaelisdorf in Darmstadt. Sverre Varvin will discuss how we can understand the animosity and suspicion towards refugees, counteract xenophobic attitudes on a political, social and personal level, and what the contribution of psychoanalysis is in relation to forced migrants. Adriana Prengler will give an overview of the IPA’s Psychoanalyst Emigration and Relocation Committee (PERC) which researches the challenges that psychoanalysts and candidates face when emigrating and provides information to help the emigration experience less traumatic. Finally, Yolanda Gampel will discuss some personal reflections, including clinical vignettes, on how different experiences of exile might be present throughout an individual’s daily life.

Adriana Prengler - Adriana is the Vice-President Elect of the International Psychoanalytical Association. She trained in clinical psychology and psychoanalysis in Caracas, Venezuela before immigrating to the United States in 2010. She is a training and supervising analyst at the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Seattle, Washington. She teaches there and also in Wuhan, China. She is Chair of the IPA’s Psychoanalysts’ Emigration and Relocation Committee (PERC) and has a private practice in Bellevue, Washington. She writes on clinical matters and applied psychoanalysis. 

Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber - Prof. Dr. phil, director in charge of the Sigmund-Freud-Institute in Frankfurt a.M., Germany (2001-2016), professor em. for psychoanalysis at the University of Kassel, senior professor at the IDeA Excellency Centre in Frankfurt a.M. and the University medicine in Mainz. She is training analyst of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV) and member of the Swiss Psychoanalytical Society and the International Psychoanalytical Association. She has been involved in several IPA Committees. Since 2010 she has been Vice Chair for Europe of the IPA Research Board and since 2018 as Chair of the IPA Subcommittee for Migration and Refugees. She received the Mary Sigourney Award in 2016 and the Haskell Norman Prize for Excellence in Psychoanalysis in 2017. Her research fields are clinical and extraclinical research in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytical developmental research, prevention studies, interdisciplinary dialogue between psychoanalysis and literature, educational sciences, and the neurosciences. 

Sverre Varvin  - MD. DPhil is a training and supervising analyst of the Norwegian Psychoanalytic Society.
He is a professor at Oslo Metropolitan University. He is working clinically and with research on truamatisation and the treatment of traumatised patients, especially in the refugee field. He has twice been president of the Norwegian Psychoanalytic Society and he has held several positions in the IPA.

He is currently Chair of the IPA China Committee. He has published articles and books on traumatisation, refugees, terrorism and on research on treatment process and outcome. 

Yolanda Gampel  - Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology and Programme of Advanced Psychotherapy, Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University; Invited Professor of the Sorbonne Paris, 1985-1987, University Lumiere, II, Lion 2001-2002. Training and supervising analyst, and past president (1989-1991) of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; vice-president, European Federation of Psychoanalysis (2001-2005); representative for Europe, board of the International Psychoanalytical Association (2007-2011); recipient of the Hayman International Prize for Published Work Pertaining to Traumatised Children and Adults, 2001 and the Mary S. Sigourney Award, 2006. 2005. She published papers in various psychoanalytic journals and several books on effects of social political violence in children, the analyst and the psychoanalytic process. Her book ‘Ces Parents qui Vivent a Travers moi. Les Enfants de Guerres, Fayard, Paris, translates in Spanish, Hebrew and German.

If you are unable to attend the live session, but would like to receive a recording, please continue to register and a recording will automatically be emailed to you after the live session has ended. Please note, this webinar will be in English.