The Significance of Erich Fromm’s Thinking for Psychoanalytic Practice

Hybrid Event on Thursday, 9 December 2021, 6pm

About the Event

Prof. Roger Frie and Dr. Rainer Funk will each give a lecture. The evening will be moderated by former IPU president Dr. Martin Teising.

Attendees may choose to join the event live in Lecture Hall 1 (Stromstraße 2, 10555 Berlin) or online through live streaming. In either case, we ask that all guests register through the form at the bottom of this page. In-person attendance will only be permitted with proof of full coronavirus vaccination or proof of recovery (2G rules).

This event will take place in German.

“Dark Shadows: Erich Fromm, Social Psychoanalysis and Systemic Racism”

Lecture by Prof. Roger Frie
As a psychoanalyst, Fromm felt compelled to express his views on the social and political crises of his time. Fromm’s social psychoanalysis was a radical departure from the Freudian psychoanalysis and has had an important impact on how psychoanalysts talk about societal themes in their therapeutic work. Roger Frie analyses Fromm’s research on authoritarianism and racist Nazism and considers the repercussions of systemic racism on today’s society. Like Fromm, Frie focuses on the question of how psychoanalysis is shaped by society and culture. In this context, he refers to his work as a practicing psychoanalyst in Canada in order to address and investigate the racial discrimination of indigenous patients. He inquires as to how the therapeutic setting is entangled with the comprehensive structures of systemic racism.

Roger Frie is currently the DAAD visiting professor at the International Psychoanalytic University. He is a professor of pedagogy at Simon Fraser University and Affiliate Professor for psychiatry at the University of British Colombia, Vancouver. In addition, he is a psychoanalytic lecturer and supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute and associate member of the Columbia University Seminar on Culture Memory in New York. Roger has released numerous publications and given many lectures on the topics of historical trauma, cultural memory, and human interaction. He is the author of award-winning book Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Erich Fromm’s Psychoanalysis and its Significance for Psychotherapeutic Practice

Lecture by Dr. Rainer Funk
At least since the conclusion of his psychoanalytic training in 1930, the post-doc sociologist Erich Fromm identified himself as a psychoanalyst, and his main profession until the end of his life would be the clinical, therapeutic application of psychoanalysis. His guiding cognitive interest was the societal character of the many. This interest led him to a relational approach and to the concept of the social character that meets the requirements of living together, and that allows many people both consciously and unconsciously to think, feel, and act in similar ways.

This lecture will illustrate the significance of the structural formation of the social character in the psyche on the behavior of the many as well as which pathogenic effects result from it from two perspectives: the “authoritarian character” and the “me-oriented character,” which has become dominant during the digital revolution. In reference to the latter, the lecture will then show how this social character is manifested in the psychotherapeutic setting, in transference and in countertransference.

Rainer Funk (born 1943) is a psychoanalyst in Tübingen and earned his doctorate under Fromm’s supervision. Funk was Fromm’s last assistant and is the administrator of his estate (Erich Fromm Institute in Tübingen) and rights. In addition to his editorial activities (among others, a collection of Fromm’s works in 12 volumes in print and eBook) and his many publications about Fromm, he researched the psychoanalysis of the contemporary person (Ich und Wir, 2005; Der entgrenzte Mensch, 2011). He has been a lecturer at the IPU since 2013.

Registration Form


Registration is open until 5 December