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Hamer, F.M. (2006). Racism as a Transference State: Episodes of Racial Hostility in the Psychoanalytic Context. Psychoanal Q., 75(1):197-214.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 75(1):197-214

Racism as a Transference State: Episodes of Racial Hostility in the Psychoanalytic Context

Forrest M. Hamer, Ph.D.

Episodes of racial prejudice emerging in the context of a psychoanalytic therapy suggest that racism can be thought of as a regressed state of transference, characterized by polarized representations of self and other, categorical thinking, and the predominance of splitting and projection as defenses. The author suggests that activation of racial hostility in the clinical situation occurs as a result of events and processes not atypical in an analytic process. Though such states occurring outside of the analytic context are more likely made conscious in certain situations and in certain persons, the author suggests that racism can be more generally described as an ever-potential state of mind for most people living in racialized contexts.

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