A Psychoanalytic Overview of Racism in America


The first podcast in this series was inspired by a documentary film made in 2014 called “Black Analysts Speak” as well as some of the findings in the Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in American Psychoanalysis published in 2023. It also considered the reasons why racism has persisted so long in America including perspectives from a psychoanalytic vantage point. Mechanism of defense, particularly projective identification was discussed as one specific reason why change has been slow. The host and co-host also talked about the some of the reasons why it is important for white people to listen to the Black experience. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s book, Where do we go from here, Chaos or Community was also considered because of its relevance today.

Dr. Karyne E. Messina is a psychologist and child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst. In addition to maintaining a full-time private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland, she is on the medical staff of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland which is part of Johns Hopkins Medicine. She is a podcast host for the New Books Network and chair of the Department of Psychoanalytic Education’s (DPE) Scholarship and Writing section which is part of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsA). She is a member of the AI Council of APsA (CAI). She has also written and edited six books. Her topics focus on applying psychoanalytic ideas to real-world issues we all face in our complex world.

Dr. Felecia Powell-Williams is a child and adolescent supervising psychoanalyst at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston, Texas, where she also holds the position of President of Board of Directors. Dr. Felecia Powell-Williams is also a faculty member in the Child and Adult Training Programs. In addition, she provides clinical supervision for the State of Texas licensing board, as well as supervision as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor with the Association for Play Therapy. She is also the chair of the Department of Psychoanalytic Education’s (DPE) Diversity section which is part of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsA).

Your Host

Karyne Messina

Karyne Messina is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and on the medical staff of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. She is the author of Resurgence of Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy (Routledge, 2022), "Barbie and the Great American Identity Crisis: The Unfortunate Reality of a Nation Plagued by Racism, Patriarchy, and Stark Hypocrisy (PI Press, April 2024) and the forthcoming "A Psychoanalytic Study of Political Leadership in the United States and Russia" (Routledge, May 2024).

View Profile