Translation from English

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Training Institute foir Mental Health

Workshop On: Cultural influences on Identity and Relationships

Screening and discussion of

"Mother of George"

(Sundance Festival award for best cinematography, 2013)
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Training Institute for Mental Health
115 West 27th Street, 4th Fl.

New York, NY 10001
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

 Presented by the Couple Therapy Program, Training Institute for Mental Health in Collaboration of Section I, Division Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association

A very special aspect of our Workshop is that it features presenters originally from Nigeria, and working professionally in the USA and Psychoanalysts with International experience from Section I, Div. 39, APA along with TI faculty who will elucidate their perspectives on the cultural, clinical and psychodynamic issues illustrated by the film.  


Admission:$40 without CEU credit
                                   $80 with three hours of CEU credit

To register and pay by PayPal, please visit:

To pay by phone, please call (212) 627-8181 or register at the door if space available.


For information, contact Albert Brok, PhD, Program Chair at or (212) 580-3086
11:00 AM: Welcome & Introduction
                by Albert J. Brok, PhD, CGP & Ellen Gussaroff, PhD, LCSW
11:30 AM: Film screening
1:00 PM: Break Refreshments
1:20 PM - 3:00 PM: Presentations and Discussion

                                  Joel Idowu , MD
                                  Adaobi Iheduru, PsyD
                                  Jude Aguwa, PhD

Additional commentary:
Delverlon Hall, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Director, Couple Therapy Training, TIMH
Alcia Peterson, 4th Year Psychoanalytic Candidate, TIMH


After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Recognize differences and better deal with clinical implications between internalized cultural structures and conflictual developmental dynamics.
2. Define five kinds of identity states: Diffuse, Achieved. Foreclosed, Moratorium (James Marcia, 1993) and Reworked (Brok, 2016).
3. Clarify the clinical distinction between identity states underlying a capacity of “having a mind of one’s own” and internalized cultural normative structures blocking autonomous self-development.
4. Distinguish between the dynamics of “Privacy” and “Secrecy” in couple relations.

     Mother of George, highlights the interaction between infertility, internalized cultural dictates, and self-identity issues. A young Nigerian couple, recently married and living in Brooklyn, are both happy and passionate but find themselves dealing with infertility issues. Months pass and there's no pregnancy to report (they hope for a boy, who will be named George after a deceased relative).  Both husband, Ayodele and wife, Adenike seem to assume that the problem must lie with Adenike.  Adenike endures the blame for not conceiving in the face of her husband's disavowed infertility.  A situation which was denied and projected onto her by gender role tradition, individual dynamics and extended family attitudes.  The film also highlights the influence of culturally based directives of a meddling mother-in-law who upon accepting that Adenike is not the problem, suggests that since the "blood is the same", that her daughter-in-law, secretly become pregnant by her husband's brother; all as a way of protecting her son’s self-esteem in secrecy.

     In this light, our workshop on “Mother of George" gives space to consider the general issue of the struggle between internalized cultural dictates on gender roles and the drive to become a "self with a mind of one's own".  The pliability of parental authority in differing ecological contexts – which can either promote or disrupt a developing couple's relationship will also be discussed in terms of the process of identity formation of individuals and the couple they become.
Jude Aguwa, PhD: Dr Aguwa is an Associate Professor, Division of Civic and Cultural Studies, Mercy College.. He is the author of two books and many articles. His research interests include, religion and African cultures, religion and social values, religion and modernity.

Albert Brok, PhD, CGP: Dr. Brok is the Director of Group and Couple Therapy training at TIMH and is on the Board of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. He is is the past President of Section I, Division of Psychoanalysis, APA. Dr Brok has co-authored four books and published numerous articles including on the unconscious and culture.  His most recent publication is on Psychodynamic Couple Counseling in Reiter and Chanile eds, Behavioral, Humanistic-Existential, and Psychodynamic Approaches to Couples Counseling, Routledge, 2017 (in press).  His work on cultural issues includes “ Surprises and mutual learning when teaching  Psychoanalysis across geographical, language and cultural borders”, IPA, Boston 2015.. 

Ellen Gussaroff, PhD, LCSW: Dr Gussaroff is Co-Director, Couple Training Program TIMH, and is former co-Director of the two-year Psychotherapy Program at Postgraduate Center for Mental Health and former Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Fordham University.  She has presented internationally in Norway, Madrid, Prague and Buenos Aires. She is a member of Section I, International Committee, Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association. Her most recent work has been On “the Silent Mother”, IPA, Prague, Czech Republic, 2013 and on the implications for intimacy in modern technological times, exemplified by the Film “HER” which she presented at the IIPA, Boston, Ma. 2015.

Adaobi Iheduru PsyD.: Dr Iheduru Is a Clinical Psychologist at the Center for Victims of Torture, Atlanta, Georgia.  She has wide ranging experience in acculturation issues and trauma, and has led seminars on multicultural competency and dealing with stereotypes that can impact clinical work. Dr Iheduru is Co-author of, Preparing tomorrow's leaders for a world of diversity : Mentorship through involvement, in the  African American Women in Professional Psychology. Published in the Association of Black Psychologists, Psych Discourse. She is bilingual in English and Igbo (a Nigerian language).

Joel Idowu, MD: Dr. Idowu graduated from the University of Lagos, College of Medicine, Lagos, Nigeria. He is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, NY Medical College, Valhalla, NY, and is Director, Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY.  He has wide ranging interests in film, culture, adolescent psychiatry, and issues of placebo effects.
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