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Lynch School of Education

Tummala-Narra Recognized by American Psychological Association for Creative Integration of Therapy

Pratyusha Tummala-Narra

(Chestnut Hill- 2.26.13)—It is widely accepted that psychoanalytic theory is a major influence on the practice of psychotherapy. It is also generally accepted that effective psychologists must have multicultural competence. However, Lynch School Assistant Professor Pratyusha Tummala-Narra is the first to suggest that these two ideas should be systematically paired to inform one another.

This week, in recognition of this creative integration, Tummala-Narra was awarded the 2013 Johanna K. Tabin Book Proposal Prize from the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association (APA) for her book proposal “Psychoanalytic theory and culturally competent psychotherapy.”

Through this endeavor she hopes to develop a psychotherapy practice that is both culturally appropriate and accessible to diverse communities and individuals.

“Much of the literature on cultural competence emphasizes broad principles that guide practice, such as the therapist’s self-awareness and knowledge about multicultural issues,” Tummala-Narra said. “By building on existing psychoanalytic contributions and expanding on existing conceptualizations of cultural competence, I will illustrate the relevance and application of psychoanalytic areas of emphasis to culturally competent practices.”

The prize encourages psychoanalytic writing by Division 39 members who have yet to publish a psychoanalytic book. Tummala-Narra’s proposal systematically addresses the ways in which broad principles of culturally competent psychotherapy are conceptualized from a psychoanalytic perspective. In a letter sent from the Johanna K. Tabin Prize Committee, Tummala-Narra’s work is credited as the best developed, most scholarly, and original contribution submitted this year.

 “This book has the potential to bring together analytic clinicians with the academic psychology world and with non-analyst clinicians,” said Lewis Aron, Ph.D., director, NYU postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis; and former president of the Division 39 of the APA, who reviewed Tummala-Narra’s submission. “It has important implications for psychoanalytic education on the graduate level and on the level of analytic training.  It is timely and in fact urgent to our future.”

“Her project is truly an original contribution in expanding the scope and reach of traditional psychoanalytic thinking beyond the intrapsychic and the individual to be informed by an ecological, multicultural set of ideas usually resisted by traditional analytic thinking,” said James Mahalik, Lynch School of Education associate dean of faculty and academics.

Tummala-Narra will be honored at the Division 39 spring meeting on Friday, April 26 to be held in Boston, Mass. With more than 3000 doctoral level psychologists, graduate students, and allied mental health professionals, Division 39 of the APA is one of the largest associations of psychoanalytic professionals and scholars in the world.