Moving from one country to another causes a radical alteration of one's cultural and geophysical surround. Separation from friends and family, loss of valued possessions, and encountering new ways of living result in mental pain and disorienting anxieties. In Immigration and Acculturation, Salman Akhtar examines the traumatic impact of immigration and the acculturation process and the psychological defenses that are mobilized in the immigrant, including nostalgia and fantasies of return. Akhtar explores each aspect of an immigrant's life, shedding light on the complexities of work, friendship, sex, marriage, aging, religion, and politics, as well as showing how unresolved conflicts are passed on to the next generation. Akhtar provides first-hand accounts from immigrants from a variety of backgrounds and countries of origin, and he provides clinical strategies for working with immigrant and ethnically diverse patients and their offspring. Deftly synthesizing observations from psychoanalysis, anthropology, literature, history, and related disciplines in the humanities, Salman Akhtar elegantly elucidates postmigration identity change.
Propelled by his own immigration experiences of coming from a vastly different culture, Salman Akhtar significantly updates his earlier work on the subject. With a psychoanalytic sensitivity, a comprehensive use of the literature, and incisive interviews with other immigrants, Dr. Akhtar covers not only the usual traumas of immigration but also a font of new areas such as work and money, friendships, marriage and divorce, old age, and last but not least, the politically motivated false arguments against immigration.
— Alan Roland, PhD, National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis
In Immigration and Acculturation Salman Akhtar has once again demonstrated a rare ability to provide an understanding of the life cycle conflicts and stresses of immigrants as they attempt to adapt to a new culture. This timely book is important to all of us as we deal increasingly with growing numbers of immigrant patients, students, and colleagues. Akhtar's compassionate understanding of the immigrant therapist is moving and insightful. His seamless blending of multidisciplinary perspectives will especially interest mental health professionals and be an ideal teaching aid in the classroom.
— Marvin Margolis, MD, PhD, Past President, American Psychoanalytic Association
For the analytically oriented reader, the book presents a coherent and internally consistent discourse on immigration and therapy for the immigrant....regardless of one’s analytic orientation, there remains a treasure of accurate, well-documented, well-illustrated, and often surprising observations of immigrant life. Hence, the book is rewarding to all who are interested in this profound experience, whether they are immigrants or not.
— Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry
Part I: Leaving and Arriving
1. The Trauma of Geographical Dislocation
Part II: Being and Becoming
2. Work and Money
3. Sex and Marriage
4. Friendship and Socialization
5. Religion and Politics
Part III: The Dusk and the Dawn
6. Encountering Middle Age and Getting Old
7. The Next Generation
Part IV: The Wounded Healer
8. Challenges of Being an Immigrant Therapist
Appendix: Films about Immigration, Acculturation, and the Next Generation
About the Author
About the Author:
Salman Akhtar is professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. His books include Immigration and Identity, Freud and the Far East, and The Crescent and the Couch.