Psychic centrality: reflections on two psychohistoriographic cultural therapy workshops in Montreal

Transcult Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;47(1):136-58. doi: 10.1177/1363461510364590.


The use of psychohistoriographic cultural therapy (PCT) developed in Jamaica is described in the context of two workshops in Montreal. PCT is a form of group intervention that seeks to elicit and clarify the "psychic centrality" of a group. Psychic centrality refers to a sense of psychological containment or organization of diverse individual points of view through creating a historical map of collective experience. In PCT, this collective map is constructed and techniques borrowed from creative arts therapies are used to develop a performance. This performance provides additional containment and fosters a group process that can contain collective conflicts. The performance can also be used to engage an audience, working to contain conflict while representing diverse perspectives within the group. Factors that may contribute to the effectiveness of PCT and those that may derail the process are identified through the systematic comparison of the two workshops. PCT was demonstrated to cross successfully from a Third to a First World culture, and established potential as a method to facilitate group conflict resolution and for the promotion of pluralistic civil societies.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Education*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Historiography*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Quebec
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Social Identification*