Calendar of Events

2014 Fall Conference: Place and the Formation of Identity

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St
StockbridgeMassachusetts 01262
October 17, 2014 at 8:00 PM to October 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Conference Director
Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP
Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute, Austen Riggs Center

Thinking about place and identity opens a vast territory of inquiry. In the field of architecture, place-based identity formation attends to how structures and landscape shape the identity of the inhabitants. Certainly this is an interactive field; identity also participates as architect. The experience of place may be literal, as in—a country, a building, a culture, a landscape. Place is also a psychological metaphor as in the constructs of internalization, transference, or the scenic.

Consider the following possibilities: the mind as a place; the history of place; resting places; losing one’s place (exile, stigma, confusion); leaving one’s place to inhabit a new place (immigration); knowing one’s place (racism, sexism, discrimination); creating one’s place; finding one’s place; narrating one’s place; first place, second place, last place; termination as a shift of place (internalization as metaphorically moving from outside to inside); the boundaries of place and efforts to maintain, protect, destroy a place; sacred places; haunted places; a thin place. These are but a few of the ways we construct the experience of place.

Individual and group identities may be thought of as occurring at the intersection of literal and metaphorical place(s). This conference will explore the various meanings of place in relation to identity. In a global world, our capacity to “be” in several places at once, to travel to other places via technology and to experience place in a more diverse and complex manner shapes our identity and our identifications in complex ways. In this conference we will learn together about the social and clinical implications of these shifting experiences of place and identity.

Conference Schedule

Friday October 17

8:00 – 10:00 pm    Opening keynote and discussion  
Sudek, Janacek, Hukvaldy, and Me
Presenter: Adele Tutter, MD

Saturday, October 18

8:30 am   Breakfast and registration

9:00 am   Conference Re-convenes

9:10 am   “I Knew That My Mind Could Take Me Anywhere”: 
                 Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Development of a Secure Identity in a Racist World

                 Presenter:  Dorothy Holmes, PhD

10:10     Break

10:30    Catastrophic Loss of Place and its Impact on Mental Health Professionals' Identity After Hurricane Katrina. 
             Presenter:  Ghislaine Boulanger, PhD
             Discussant:  Kai Erikson, PhD

11:30    Morning Panel Discussion: Drs. Holmes, Boulanger, Erikson

12:00    Lunch

1:30     Enhancing Identity by Fostering Understanding of Place
            Presenters:  Karen Yu, PhD and Linda Mayes, MD

2:30     Break

2:45    The Journey for "Home": Drawing on the South African Experience of Emigration
           Presenter:  Maria Marchetti-Mercer, PhD

3:50    Afternoon Panel Discussion: Drs. Yu, Mayes, Marchetti-Mercer

4:20    Conference Closing Discussion—All Presenters

5:00    Conference Reception


Ghislaine Boulanger, PhD, is a psychologist-psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and a member of the relational faculty at New York University’s postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.   Since the publication of her book Wounded by Reality: Understanding and Treating Adult Onset Trauma, she has taught and published extensively on the psychodynamic dilemmas facing adults who have survived violent and life threatening events. This work took her to New Orleans where, at the invitation of the New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center, she developed a program to help mental health professionals understand the personal and professional challenges they were facing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


Kai Erikson, PhD, is a past president of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Eastern Sociological Society. He has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral sciences and a visiting scholar of the Russell Sage Foundation. His research and teaching interests include American communities, human disasters, and ethnonational conflict. He has been the master of Trumbull College, the chair of the American Studies program at Yale, the editor of The Yale Review and the chair of the department of sociology at Yale.


Dorothy Holmes, PhD, is a professor emeritus of clinical psychology at the George Washington University where she directed the Professional Psychology Program and Clinic (2005-2011).  She is also a teaching, training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Baltimore-Washington Institute for Psychoanalysis. She is the 2012 recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Division 39 of the APA for outstanding contributions to the advancement of women’s and racial issues in psychoanalysis. She was honored by the American Psychoanalytic Association as the 2013-2014 Helen Meyers Traveling Psychoanalytic Scholar.



Maria Marchetti-Mercer, PhD, is the head of the School of Human and Community Development at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was the chair of the department of psychology at the University of Pretoria for ten years, and is a National Research Foundation rated scientist. Dr. Marchetti-Mercer’s areas of research are the training of professional psychologists, family murder and violence and, most recently, the impact of emigration on South African family life. She has written a number of articles on those topics and has presented both nationally and internationally.


Linda Mayes, MD, is the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center, the special advisor to the dean in the Yale School of Medicine, and the chairman of the directorial team of the Anna Freud Centre. As a clinical investigator, she works at the interface of three fields—pediatrics, developmental psychology and child psychiatry. Formally trained as a pediatrician and neonatologist, as well as child and adult psychoanalyst, her research integrates perspectives from child development, behavioral neuroscience, psychophysiology, neurobiology, developmental psychopathology and psychoanalysis.


Adele Tutter, MD, is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; and a faculty member at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Research and Training and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Her interdisciplinary psychoanalytic scholarship has won numerous awards, including the American Psychoanalytic Association Karl Menninger and CORST prizes.




Karen Yu, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Sewanee: the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where she teaches courses in cognitive psychology and has helped to develop an interdisciplinary course on Child, Family, and Community Development in Rural Appalachia. She is involved with Discover Together, a program to promote resilience by fostering social connectedness and community engagement through shared knowledge and appreciation of local places, people and their stories.



Learning objectives

1. Participants will be able to describe multiple ways of thinking about the role of place in the formation of identity 
2. Participants will be able to identify the ways that places of trauma mark personal identity development 
3. Participants will be able to identify multicultural interpretations of shared places shaping differentiated identities

Note: registration fee includes breakfast and lunch and reception
Fees $175 until 9/26/14
$215 after 9/26/14

Refunds until 10/3/14

Continuing Education
9.5  (M.D., Ph.D., Social Work)


For more information contact Alicia Zaludova at 413-931-5230.

Intended Audience: 

Event Options

  • Early Registration by September 26, 2014 (Cost: $175)
  • After September 26, 2014 (Cost: $215)

Total Cost: $0.00