The Arthur R. Kravitz Award Recipient of 2019, Paola Michelle Contreras, PsyD, shares how she uses psychoanalytic ideas to understand human trafficking, to treat its victims, and to teach those caregivers who provide clinical service. She is the first candidate in psychoanalytic training to receive this award. Her conversation with another candidate in psychoanalytic training, Jane Keat, PsyD, was recorded in the library on October 11, 2019.
Since 2006 Dr. Contreras has provided education and training to law enforcement, legal professionals, as well as national and international anti-trafficking organizations, advocating for legislation sensitive for survivors of human trafficking. She has published important articles and co-produced a short documentary on human trafficking (see below). Dr. Contreras has recently won a grant through the International Psychoanalytic Association to study unconscious forces, such as attachment patterns, that may contribute to difficulties in leaving situations involving exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. She is an Assistant Professor at William James College in Newton, and in addition to her teaching and advocacy, she has a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Bryan-Davis, T. & Contreras, P.M. (2012). Psychology of Human Trafficking Updated [click here to watch the video]
- Contreras, P.M. (2018). Human Trafficking of Women and Girls in the United States: Toward an Evolving Psychosocial–Historical Definition. In Travis, C. (ed.), APA Handbook of the Psychology of Women. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
- Contreras, P.M., Kalivavalil, D., & Herman, J.L. (2016). Psychotherapy in the aftermath of human trafficking: Working through the consequences of psychological coercion. Women & Therapy, 40(1-2), 33-54.
- American Psychological Association Task Force on the Trafficking of Women and Girls. (2014). Report of the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
The Arthur R. Kravitz Award for Community Action and Humanitarian Contributions was established in 2008 to recognize Members of BPSI who have provided noteworthy psychoanalytically-informed service to our broader community. Click here to watch other interviews in this series.