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May 28

Dr. Gurmeet S. Kanwal: Teen and Torn: Outsiderness in Adolescence

May 28, 2021

Gurmeet S. Kanwal, M.D., is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the William Alanson White Institute. He is Past-President of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society and an Editorial Board Member and Fellow of the College of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Editorial Board Member, Psychoanalytic Discourse. Dr. Kanwal is co-editor (with Salman Akhtar) of the books, Bereavement: Personal Experiences and Clinical Reflections (Karnac, 2017) and Intimacy: Clinical, Cultural, Digital and Developmental Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). His papers have been published in Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Neuropsychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Review, and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. In addition to teaching in the U.S., he has lectured on psychoanalysis in India and Iran.

Current clinical and scholarly interests are focused on: the place of culture in psychoanalytic theory and practice; trauma in psychoanalytic theory and practice; issues related to immigration, identity and racism.

As the father of two boys who have gone through being teen and torn between several cultures, the topic of how adolescents are impacted by these processes is also a personal one.

Adolescence is a time of identity formation, which is a process that is highly dependent on interactions with family, peers and community. Adolescents from minority backgrounds can feel especially torn between belonging and outsiderness. What do we mean by identity? What are the dynamics of identity formation that might particularly impact adolescents from minority backgrounds? What might be the impact of cultural factors on the development of identity? This class will explore the experience of adolescence in the context of being a minority in one’s community.


May 28, 2021
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