Call for Abstracts for 43rd Annual Meeting

Abstract submission deadline: October 01, 2021
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Language, Embodiment, Intersectionality & Justice
April 21-23, 2022
Providence, Rhode Island
Exploration of identity is central to those of us working at the interface of mental health and culture. Intersectional identities drive in-group and out-group dynamics, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Identity is shaped by the narratives we tell about ourselves and is embodied through habitus, yet is fluid and can be transformed. In recent years, in societies shaken and disrupted by a pandemic and the inequities it exposed, movements for social justice have emerged, such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate. These movements have pushed the public to reevaluate how identities can lead to marginalization or serve as catalysts for solidarity and power. This has restructured how we experience ourselves, our identit(ies), and our sense of belonging. In the communities where we work, as well as our clinical populations, we see a tension between a desire to find understanding and support within one’s community and finding solidarity across communities through shared experience of oppression and struggle. In our 2022 conference, we invite you to explore identity through far-ranging sub-themes like language, narrative, embodiment, justice and intersectionality.

Examples of topics and domains related to the conference theme include the following:

Language, bi/multiculturalism, and bi/multilingualism
What are the processes through which language constructs identity? What are the connections between languages and narratives? How does fluency in more than one language contribute to hybrid identities and how these identities are performed, challenged, and protected? In what ways does language serve to unite as well as divide social groups? What are the practical implications of language fluency in negotiating mental health care, including in conducting psychotherapy? To what extent is constructing healing narratives through language an essential aspect of culture-focused treatment?
Narrative, collective storytelling & mental health
No single narrative fully encompasses the life of a person, a community, or a culture. As we meet new patients, clients, or colleagues, how can we listen for alternative narratives that have been overshadowed by a dominant cultural narrative? How can we listen for unwitnessed narratives of resilience when hearing stories of trauma, loss, or dehumanization? How can we engage others in a manner that strengthens their empowerment to choose which narratives should stand as markers of their cultural identity? What is the role of collective storytelling in building community identity and how do these narratives shape the mental health of its members? How does collective storytelling impact how people respond to life changes that incur loss, grief, anger, love, joy and/or create community?
Identity and intersectionality
How do the various intersectional aspects of a person’s or group’s identity create harmonies and conflicts? What roles and significance do we assign to these aspects of identity in relation to mental health and wellbeing? How do we and our patients decide to prioritize some aspects over others?
Human beings are lived bodies in the world, and identity is not just constructed but embodied. How are intergenerational trauma and social inequities embodied and present in clinical context? What role does engaging emotions and the senses play in transformation within therapeutic encounters across cultures? What is the role of psychedelic and somatic psychotherapies in healing embodied social phenomena, for the individual and community?
Identity, inclusion, and advocacy
How can cultural psychiatry best combine attention to individual identities, meaning traditions, structural factors, and advocacy in a seamless healing practice that prioritizes social justice? How can we best partner with clients and colleagues as allies and advocates? How can we employ our knowledge and skills to help promote understanding and bridge divisiveness to work together towards a more equitable and inclusive society? How can we encourage such collaboration in health training settings?
Culture and meaning-making
How are health-related practices and interpretive traditions linked to cultural narratives? How do we account for differences in interpretation in cross cultural clinical and research settings? To what extent are these constructions incorporated into global mental health frameworks or excluded from them?
Identity across generations
How have our understandings of identity and the formative role of narrative shifted over time? How do various forms of narrative (oral, written texts, visual media) construct different types of identities across generations? How are identities both preserved and transformed over time?
Truth, disinformation, and polarization
How can we reconcile disparate notions of truth that exist both within a single culture and across multiple ones? How is truth constructed out of narrative? What is the role of power and social positionality in this process of construction and transmission? How can uniting truths and understandings be created in a world increasingly driven by polarization?
Culture/s of biomedicine and psychiatry
How can we best reveal the hidden assumptions, norms, and forms of exclusion that draw on language and identity in the cultures of biomedicine and psychiatry? How do these cultural practices reflect and reinforce power structures, and how can we change them to be more inclusive? Whether adapting to telehealth/digital health services, or exploring new labels such as “languishing,” how have the disciplinary practices of biomedicine and psychiatry evolved over time to reflect currencies in broader cultures?
Culture/s of virtual worlds
How has contact with virtual worlds led us to redefine many aspects of our lives: by revisiting our identities, the ways we connect with others, how we provide and receive care and services, what it means to be well, and/or how we interpret all these challenges and changes?
How are the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic renegotiated through evolving narratives, changing identities, and new languages of experience?
Migration, acculturation, and identity
Among migrants, through which processes does acculturation influence diverse aspects of identity in distinct ways? How are these processes connected to mental and physical health? In what ways are they transmitted and challenged across generations?

Conference Learning Objectives

After attending this meeting, participants will be able to:
Provide 3 examples of the way identity impacts mental health experiences and/or care provision.
Describe 3 ways that their own identity and positionality impact their research and/or care provision.
Apply lessons learned to provide clinical care informed by deeper attention to identity, language, and meaning-making.

Abstract Submission Categories

Abstracts can be submitted for Workshops, Symposia, Individual Papers or Posters, Works in Progress, and Trainee Fellowship Papers.

Workshops that allow for participants to gain skills in issues related to the conference theme or cultural psychiatry and/or global mental health writ large are strongly encouraged and will be given priority. Submissions based on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods primary data and clinical encounters will be given preference over position pieces. Participants are encouraged to submit abstracts early. SSPC will provide technical assistance for abstract submissions up to 48 hours before the deadline.

Workshops are approximately 1.5 hours long. They should have one organizer and up to four co-facilitators. Workshops are different from symposia in that they are more interactive and are required to have interactive activities for participants for at least half of the workshop time. In addition to an abstract, workshop submissions must include a timeline of activities. Workshop themes should address specific skills, debates, or concepts, either related to the conference theme or broadly applicable to cultural psychiatry and/or global mental health. Examples include how to work with youth to develop engagement strategies that encourage diverse youth with first-episode psychosis to participate in care or how to collaborate with LMIC partners in GMH research.

Symposia are approximately 1.5 hours long. We recommend three original papers be included, with a recommended presentation time of 20 minutes each. Organizers may opt to include four shorter presentations if preferred. The organizer or moderator may provide introductory remarks on the topic. A discussant may be included if desired. Be sure to allot a minimum of 25 minutes for open discussion (per CME guidelines).
Abstracts may be submitted by individuals indicating preference for paper or poster presentations. Individual papers will be grouped into Paper Sessions by the conference organizers.
This category allows individuals or teams the opportunity to receive feedback during the early stages of developing a project, curriculum, therapy approach, grant application, clinical service, etc. Abstracts can present preliminary concepts or findings and should include specific topics or questions for discussion. Work in Progress sessions will be 1.5 hours long and include 3 brief presentations (approximately 10 minutes), with substantial time dedicated to discussion for each presentation.
Social science (masters or PhD students) or medical (medical student or resident) trainees may submit papers for consideration for a fellowship presentation. Up to two fellowships are given each year. SSPC Fellows have registration costs waived and receive a $500 honorarium to offset travel costs. We encourage trainees to submit abstracts for the general abstract submission deadline even if they plan to submit a paper for consideration for a fellowship. That way their submissions can be considered for inclusion in the conference if they are not awarded a fellowship.

The deadline for all submission types is October 01, 2021, except for Trainee Fellowship submissions, which have a deadline of November 1, 2021.








All submissions undergo a multiple-reviewer selection and scoring process. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent by early 2022. After notification of acceptance, all presenters (including workshop co-facilitators and discussants) will be required to pay the conference registration fee by February 1st for their submission to be included in the annual meeting program.

Need Help?

For additional information, please visit the Event Directory

If you have any questions, please contact Anna Fiskin, Co-Chair of the Program Committee

Event DirectoryContact Anna Fiskin