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Refocusing on Mental Health

Department of History, Humanities & Languages Hosts Virtual Talk Oct. 25


By Sheryl E. Taylor

The era of psychoanalysts coming into their own was in the 1960s.

Virtually every major psychiatry position in the U.S. was occupied by a psychoanalyst, and many were appointed chairmen of major psychiatry departments (source: Psychology Today) … think John Hopkins University, UC San Francisco, and the like.

Today, “psychoanalysts are relegated to a second-class position in psychiatry, and the hope and excitement that marked psychiatry’s relationship to psychoanalysis in the 1950s and 1960s has been replaced by doubt, criticism, and in some cases, outright hostility" (Psychology Today).

UHD’s Department of History, Humanities & Languages is hosting a virtual talk, “The Ethics of Failure: On Psychoanalysis Today,” Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m., featuring Dr. Travis Alexander, Lecturer in Medical Humanities at Rice University.

The discussion will note a reappraisal of Janet Malcolm’s influential 1981 text, “Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession,” and broadly address the decline of psychoanalysis as a clinical practice in the U.S. and the UK. The talk will offer arguments for the reintegration of certain psychoanalytic protocols and narrative structures into both the therapeutic encounter and into U.S. life more generally.  Alexander-Travis_Final-300x200_0

Featured speaker Alexander is also affiliated faculty in Rice’s Center for the Study of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Program in Science and Technology Studies. His teaching and research primarily deal with the governance of life and death in the American 20th century.

“In a world undergoing significant changes because of the pandemic, inflation, and the threat of nuclear war, it is evident that there is a need to focus on mental health,” said Dr. Edmund Cueva, Professor of Classics & Humanities. “However, what type of approaches are available for dealing with issues regarding mental health? Dr. Alexander’s presentation will shed light on two possible approaches: psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapies.”

To attend this Zoom event:
Meeting ID: 889 8527 3950
Passcode: Ethics

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.