This is a virtual event, accessible online. Access instructions will be provided after registration.


Course Overview: 

An overcrowded, demoralized, punitive educational system – combined with the abdication of mental health services to a juvenile justice system that incarcerates Black youth at an increasingly alarming rate – have made it difficult for many Black adolescent boys to find and engage in helpful treatment. When they are able to gain a referral, the complicated effects of White racism often impact the treatment encounter and are rarely addressed in the clinical session. Instead, racism exerts a subtle, unspoken effect that remains chambered in "forbidden talk." Even when socioeconomic class is not an obstacle, and the clinicians are sincerely motivated, they may still find themselves challenged in raising these issues artfully in order to foster and sustain a working therapeutic alliance.

This presentation is designed to describe the multiple factors in the marginalization of Black youth, including a failure in society's mentalization of Black boys, a phenomenon most often reflected in the denial of their developmental period of "boyhood." Thus, rather than an image of Black boys as vulnerable and at risk, a mentalized social image of what has been described as "a denigrated self-image" is perpetuated. The research documenting the need for this presentation grew out of "The Brotherman Study," a project that interviewed 40 lower- to upper-middle-class Black boys and their parents to give credence to their voices and individual needs. This course is designed for all mental health professionals, from beginning to advanced levels. It is geared towards clinicians who wish to further their knowledge and expand their skill base in psychodynamic clinical work with Black boys.


Course Objectives: 

At the conclusion of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Identify how racism affects the issue of trust in work with Black boys.
  2. Identify how their own attitudes about race can impact their ability to work with Blacks.
  3. Identify how social factors in the mentalization of Black boys affect engaging Blacks boys in therapy.
  4. Appreciate the inevitability of the racialized transference/countertransference a matrix in a mixed racial therapy dyad.
  5. Increase their awareness of the absence of racial dialogue in the clinical session as a mutual collusion between the patient and the therapist.


Empirical Reference: 

Aprile, B., Wang,Y., Shen,Y, Boyle, A., Polk,R. & Cheng, Y. {2018] Racial/Ethnic discrimination and well-being during adolescence: A Meta-analytic review. American Psychologist. 73, 855-883. http://dx.doi.org/10/1037/amp0000204

Lindsey, M., Brown, D. & Cunningham, M. (2017). Boys do{n't} cry: Addressing the unmet mental health needs of African American boys. American Journal of Orthropsychiatry.87, 377-383. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ort0000198

Midgley, N. & Kennedy, E. {2011}. Psychodynamic psychotherapy for children and adolescents: a critical review of the evidence base. Journal of Child Psychotherapy. 37, 232-260. http://dx.doi/10.1080/0075417X.2011.614738

Sue, D., Copodilupo, C., Torino, G., Bucerri, J., Holder, A., Nadal, K. & Esquilin, M. {2007}. American Psychologist 62, 271-286. Doi10.1037/00037/-

Vaughans, K. & Harris, L. (2016}. The Police, Black and Hispanic boys: A Dangerous inability to mentalize. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy. 15, 171-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15289168.2016.1214454



Kirkland C. Vaughans, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and a psychoanalyst with a private practice in New York City. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy and co-editor of The Psychology of Black Boys and Adolescents. Dr. Vaughans is a senior adjunct professor of psychology at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University and Director of the Postgraduate Program in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy; a clinical supervisor at the National Institute for Psychotherapies; and visiting faculty at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR).

Diane M. Adams, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor Emerita in private practice in Oakland. She conducts workshops on cultural humility in private and public agencies and has several articles published in refereed journals on issues of race, class, gender, and psychodynamic clinical supervision. She is co-editor of a book published in 2012, Making our Voices Heard: Women of Color in Academia.



Danni Biondini, MFT
Gregory Desierto, Psy.D.
Benjamin Fife, Psy.D.



Tanisha Stewart, Psy.D.


Target Audience & Level: 

This course is designed for graduate level students in mental health and all mental health professionals from the beginning to advanced levels. The presentation is geared for clinicians who wish to advance their knowledge and expand their skill base in psychodynamic clinical work with Black boys.


Program Committee

Jeremy Mintz, Psy.D., Chair

Danni Biondini, MA
Geetali Chitre
Danielle Dunchok, Psy.D.
Justine Leichtling, Psy.D.

Continuing Education

Production Date:


Price: $125.00