Professor

Dr. Frie’s academic career bridges psychology and the humanities and he has taught and worked at universities in both areas. Before being appointed professor at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, he held academic appointments or tenure track positions at Harvard, Columbia, The New School, Northeastern and Long Island (Brooklyn) Universities in the fields of history, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. 

Dr. Frie received an interdisciplinary doctorate from Cambridge University, where he was supervised by the sociologist Anthony Giddens, the historian John Forrester and the philosopher Andrew Bowie. He received a second doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University and completed his psychology internship at a Columbia University hospital. He undertook additional research at the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Zurich.

Dr. Frie’s areas of focus include historical trauma, cultural memory and moral responsibility related to genocide and racial violence, as well as social and cultural factors in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. His area of specialization is German memory and the Holocaust. He has published 11 books (with several more in press) and well over 100 articles, chapters and reviews. His writings have been translated into German, Japanese and Spanish. Below is a description of his current work, along with a selection of articles and book chapters.

Quick Links

Current Research

Legacies of Genocide: From Silencing to Responsibility. This book provides essential insights into the social and psychological process of silencing in the aftermath of genocide and racial violence. It examines how silencing is carried out by perpetrator societies and how it becomes an abiding source of trauma that can be difficult to break. The book develops a critical and comparative approach to the Holocaust in Germany and to the legacies of colonization and slavery in Canada and the United States. It examines three extended case studies in Germany, Canada and the United States and draws on different forms of research: field work, psychosocial studies, history and psychoanalysis, interviews with descendants of survivors and perpetrators, family memoir and autobiography. The narrative centres on a series of questions: What is the role of silence and silencing in relation to historical trauma? How do we contribute, consciously and unconsciously, to the process of silencing? What does it mean to be implicated in past and present racial injustice, and what are the moral obligations that follow from this recognition? What is nature of restorative memory?

Social Psychoanalysis: Erich Fromm and the Emergence of a Progressive Tradition. This book traces the emergence of a progressive tradition of thought and practice known as “social psychoanalysis.” Focusing on Erich Fromm’s early contributions to critical theory, and on cross-disciplinary attempts to understand the intersection of psyche and society from Otto Fenichel to Harry Stack Sullivan, this study asks what we can learn from these pioneering thinkers and clinicians, and why this progressive impulse was lost over time. Fromm was one of the twentieth century’s best known public intellectuals, yet least understood psychoanalysts. He viewed human suffering through the lens of society and argued that in order to help the patient, we need to first understand how we are shaped by social, political and economic forces. In this sense, Fromm was well ahead of his time. His radical attempts to integrate the fields of sociology and psychoanalysis provided the foundation for what has become known as “the social and political turn” in contemporary psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. As such, this book will provide an essential guide to Fromm’s long overlooked therapeutic work.

Areas of Scholarship

Historical trauma, cultural memory and moral responsibility related to mass racial violence and genocide. I use a variety of sources that include interviews, narrative studies, autobiography and family memoir. See for example Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility after the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2017) and History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy (Routledge, 2018).

Social and cultural perspectives in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, with particular emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary traditions for understanding the role of society, culture, politics, gender and race. See for example Culture, Politics and Race in the Making of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis: Breaking Boundaries (Routledge, 2022). Additionally, I have produced a range of studies that examine the work of interdisciplinary clinicians and scholars, including Ludwig Binswanger, Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan.

Lived experience, human interaction and psychological agency: I have published studies on the phenomenology of lived experience, embodiment, hermeneutics, intersubjectivity and theories of love, as well as possibilities for political action and psychological agency. I am particularly interested in the ways we are consciously and unconsciously shaped by society and culture and how we might respond to our contexts. See for example Psychological Agency: Theory, Practice and Culture (MIT Press, 2008); Psychotherapy as a Human Science (Duquesne University Press, 2006); and Subjectivity and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis and Modern Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, 1997).

Selected Articles

Frie, R. (in press). A Call to Action: The Enduring Relevance of Phillip Cushman and Erich Fromm. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology.

Frie. R. (in press). Rassismus und Gesellschaft: Die Pathologie der Normalität [Racism and Society: The Pathology of Normalcy]. Fromm Forum.

Frie, R. (in press). Escape from Freedom Revisited: Erich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and the Threat of Fascism. Psychoanalytic Inquiry.

Frie, R. (in press). Erich Fromm, der Holocaust und die historische Verantwortung [Fromm, the Holocaust and Historical Responsibility]. Fromm Forum.

Frie, R. (in press). Long Shadows of Racism and Genocide: Learning from Erich Fromm’s Social Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Inquiry.

Frie, R. (2024). Erich Fromm’s social psychoanalysis: Beyond the interpersonal dyad. International Forum of Psychoanalysis. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/0803706X.2023.2285697

Frie, R. (2023). Learning to embrace discomfort: Accepting our historical responsibility and implication in systemic racism. The Humanistic Psychologist. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/hum0000331

Frie, R. (2022). Dark Shadows: Erich Fromm, Socio-Psychoanalysis and Systemic Racism. Fromm Forum, 27, 128-140.

Frie, R. (2020). Recognizing white racism in Canada. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 15, 276-280.

Frie, R. (2019). History’s ethical demand: Memory, denial and responsibility in the wake of the Holocaust. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29, 122-142.

Frie, R. and Grand, S. (2019). Meeting across history: A dialogue. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29, 151-158.

Frie, R. (2019). Psychoanalysis, experiential history and empathy. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 14, 53-61.

Frie, R. (2019). Psychoanalysis and history in conversation. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 14, 62-85.

Frie, R. (2019). Die Präsenz und Nicht-Präsenz der Vergangenheit [The presence and absence of history]. Jahrbuch Selbstpsychologie: Krise und Kreativität, 5, 23-30.

Frie, R. (2018). Psychoanalysis, persecution and the Holocaust: Erich Fromm’s life and work during the 1930s. Fromm Forum, 23, 70-79.

Frie, R. and Brothers, D. (2018). Psychoanalysis confronts the political. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 12, 307-310.

Frie, R. (2017). Understanding history’s impact: Or, how to avoid reading the present onto the past. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 12, 269-276.

Frie, R. (2017). History flows through us: Psychoanalysis and historical understanding. Psychoanalysis, Self and Context, 12, 221-229.

Frie, R. (2016). Psychoanalysis, Hermeneutics and Narrative: An Integrative Account. Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, 8, 119-136.

Frie, R. (2015). Desde los monumentos conmemorativos hasta los refugios antiaéreos: navegar por el paisaje emocional de la memoria Alemana. Aperturas psicoanalíticas: Revista de psicoanálisis, 49, 2. http://www.aperturas.org/articulo.php?articulo=0000900

Frie, R. (2015). Karl Jaspers, Psychoanalysis and the Contexts of Understanding. Existenz: An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics and the Arts, 10, 11-16.

Frie, R. (2015). Post–Cartesian psychoanalysis and the sociocultural turn: From cultural contexts to hermeneutic understanding. Psychoanalytic Inquiry35, 597–608.

Frie, R. (2015). Existential therapy and a relational tradition. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 19, 15-21.

Frie, R. (2014). From memorials to bombshelters: Navigating the emotional landscape of German memory. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 34, 649-662.

Frie, R. (2014). Cultural psychoanalysis:  Psychoanalytic anthropology and the interpersonal tradition. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 50, 371-394.

Frie, R. (2014). Limits of understanding: Psychological experience, Germany memory and the Holocaust. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 19, 255-271.

Frie, R. (2014). Learning to respond affectively to prejudice and racism. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 9, 313-320.

Frie, R. (2013). Culture and language: Bilingualism in the German-Jewish experience and across contexts. Clinical Social Work Journal, 41, 11-19.

Frie, R. (2013). The self in context and culture. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 8, 505-513.

Frie, R. (2013). On the nature and meaning of human finitude. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 73, 158-172

Frie, R. (2012). On difference, dialogue and context: Otherness and its attenuation. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 32, 230-235.

Frie, R. (2012). On culture, history, and memory: Encountering the “narrative unconscious.” Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 48, 329-343.

Frie, R. (2012). Memory and responsibility: Navigating identity and shame in the German-Jewish experience. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 29, 206-225.

Frie, R. (2012). Psychoanalysis, religion, philosophy and the possibility for dialogue: Freud, Pfister and Binswanger. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 21, 106-116.

Frie, R. (2011). Hermeneutics, culture and the legacy of shame: Reply to Shou and Sucharov International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6, 178-18

Frie, R. (2011). Identity and lived experience after postmodernity: Between multiplicity and continuity. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 42, 46-60.

Frie, R. (2011). Irreducible cultural contexts: German-Jewish experience, trauma and identity in a bilingual analysis. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6, 136-158.

Frie, R. (2011). Situated experience: Psychological agency, meaning and morality in worldly contexts. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6, 298-309.

Frie, R. (2010). A hermeneutics of exploration: The interpretive turn from Binswanger to Gadamer. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 30, 79-93.

Frie, R. (2010). Compassion and dialogue: Understanding the other in context. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 5, 451-466.

Frie, R. (2008). Fundamentally embodied: The experience of psychological agency. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44, 367-376.

Frie, R. (2003). Erich Fromm and the postmodern debate. Psychoanalytic Review, 90, 855-868.

Frie, R. (2002). Binswanger, Sullivan und die interpersonelle Psychoanalyse. Luzifer-Amor: Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Psychoanalyse, 29, 105-122.

Frie, R. (2002). Modernism or postmodernism? Binswanger, Sullivan and the problem of agency in contemporary psychoanalysis. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 38, 534-573.

Frie, R., & Hoffmann, K. (2002). Binswanger, Heidegger and Antisemitism: Reply to Abigail Bray: “The silence surrounding ‘Ellen West’: Binswanger and Foucault”. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 32, 231-240. (first author)

Frie, R., & Reis, B. (2001). Understanding intersubjectivity: Psychoanalytic formulations and their philosophical underpinnings. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 37, 297-327. (first author)

Frie, R. (2000). The existential and the interpersonal: Ludwig Binswanger and Harry Stack Sullivan. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 40, 108-130.

Frie, R. (1999). Existential analysis: From psychoanalysis to postmodernism and beyond. The Humanistic Psychologist, 27, 3-14.

Frie, R. (1999). Interpreting a misinterpretation: Ludwig Binswanger and Martin Heidegger. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 29, 244-258.

Frie, R. (1999). Language, communication, and therapeutic interaction. The Humanistic Psychologist, 27, 89-113.

Frie, R. (1999). Psychoanalysis and the linguistic turn. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35, 673-697.

Frie, R. (1999). Subjectivity revisited: Sartre, Lacan, and early German Romanticism. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 30, 1-13.

Selected Book Chapters

Frie, R. (in press). 社会的精神分析に向けて [Towards a Social Psychoanalysis]. In 公開講座抄録 社 会 的 精 神 分 析に向けて. 京 都 大学 大 学 院 教 育 学 研 究 科 附 属 臨 床 教 育 実 践 研 究 セ ンター紀要, 27. [The Annual Bulletin of Praxis and Research Center for Clinical Psychology and Education, Vol. 27.]  Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto University Praxis and Research Center for Clinical Psychology and Education.

Frie, R. (in press). Open Wounds of Racial Terror: The Elaine Race Massacre. In D. Goodman & M. C. Manalili (Ed.), Meaningless Suffering: Tragic Marginalisation and Ethical Responsibility. New York: Routledge

Frie, R. (2024). Racial Massacres and Silencing in the American Deep South. In M. B. Buchholz & A. Dimitrijevic (Eds.), Encountering Silencing: Forms of Oppression in Individuals, Families and Communities (pp. 57-78). London: Karnac Books.

Frie, R. (2023). Perpetrator Histories, Silencing and Untold Stories: A View from Contemporary Psychoanalysis. In M. Freeman & H. Meretoja (Eds.), The Use and Abuse of Stories, pp. 245-266. New York: Oxford University Press.

Frie, R. (2023). Schweigen und Verschweigen, Das Erbe von Genozid und rassistischer Massengewalt [Silence and Silencing: The Legacy of Genocide and Mass Racial Violence]. In R. Martin, B. Jänchen-van der Hoofd and G. Schäfer (Eds.), Entwicklung und Veränderung, (pp. 147 – 160). Geissen: Psychosozial-Verlag.

Frie, R. (2023). The Neo-Freudians. In B. Huppertz (Ed.), Underlying Assumptions in Psychoanalytic Schools (pp. 145-155). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2022). Bridging Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: A Hermeneutic Pathway Between the Disciplines. In A. Govrin and T. Caspi (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy, (pp. 77 – 90). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2022). Psychoanalysis in the Shadow of Fascism and Genocide: Erich Fromm and the Interpersonal Tradition. In R. Frie & P. Sauvayre (Eds.), Culture, Politics and Race in the Making of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis: Breaking Boundaries (pp. 237-264). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Frie, R. & Sauvayre, P. (2022). The Sociocultural Turn: An Introduction. In R. Frie & P. Sauvayre (Eds.), Culture, Politics and Race in the Making of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis: Breaking Boundaries (pp. 1-20). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Wake, N., Frie, R. & Sauvayre, P. (2022). The Roots of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis: Harry S. Sullivan, Interdisciplinary Inquiry, and Subjectivity. In R. Frie & P. Sauvayre (Eds.), Culture, Politics and Race in the Making of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis: Breaking Boundaries (pp. 21-48). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Frie, R. (2021). What Does it Mean to be “German-Canadian”? The Challenge of History and the Obligation of Memory. In A. Freund (Ed.), Being German-Canadian: History, Memory, Generations (pp. 234-246). Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba Press.

Frie, R. (2021). Vorwort. In Steinberger, J. Empathie als Kompetenz, Ein intersubjektives, mentalisierungsgestütztes Pädagogikkonzept (pp. 11-15). Frankfurt: Psychosozial Verlag.

Frie, R. (2019). 理論の文化性と実践 [Culture in Theory and Practice]. In K. Togashi (Ed.), 「精神分析と哲学、そして倫理:戦争とテロ、災害の時代における臨床」 [Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and Ethics: Clinical Works in the Era of War, Terrorism and Natural Disaster] (pp. 78-98). Tokyo: Iwasaki Gakujyutsu Shuppan.

Frie, R. (2019). 領域をつなぐこと : 哲学と精神分析 [Bridging Disciplines: Philosophy and Psychoanalysis]. In K. Togashi (Ed.),「精神分析と哲学、そして倫理:戦争とテロ、災害の時代における臨床」 [Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and Ethics: Clinical Works in the Era of War, Terrorism and Natural Disaster] (pp. 99-124). Tokyo: Iwasaki Gakujyutsu Shuppan.

Frie, R. (2018). Shaping Prejudice? Holocaust Remembrance and the Narrative of German Suffering. In S. Kruger, K. Figlio and B. Richards (Eds.), Fomenting political violence (pp. 103-124). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Frie, R. (2018). Historical trauma and lived experience: An Introduction. In R. Frie (Eds.), History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy (pp. 1–14). New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2018). Psychoanalysis and history at the crossroads: A dialogue with Thomas Kohut. In R. Frie (Eds.), History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy (pp. 157–187). New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2018). Loneliness and Relatedness: A Philosophical and Psychotherapeutic Account. In O. Sagan & E. Miller (Eds.) Multidisciplinary Narratives of Loneliness: 21st Century Perspectives (pp. 26–35). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2017). Living in the Shadows of the Past: German Memory, Trauma and Legacies of Perpetration. In E. Severson and D. Goodman (Eds.), Memories and Monsters: Psychology, Trauma, and Narrative. New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2015). Confronting otherness and negotiating identity in the German and Jewish experience. In D. Goodman & M. Freeman (Eds.), Psychology and the other (pp. 285-308). New York: Oxford University Press.

Frie, R. (2015). Contemporary psychoanalysis:  The post-Cartesian turn in theory and practice. In J. Martin, J. Sugarman & K. Slaney (Eds.). The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: Methods, Approaches, and New Directions for Social Science (pp. 441-457). London: John Wiley & Sons.

Frie, R. (2012). The lived experience of loneliness: An existential-phenomenological perspective. In B. Willock, L. Bohm, &  R. Curtis (Eds.), Loneliness and longing: Psychoanalytic reflections on a crucial aspect of the human condition (pp. 29-37). New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2012). Existential therapy and post-Cartesian psychoanalysis: Historical perspectives and confluence. In L. Barnett and G. Madison (Eds.), Existential psychotherapy: Legacy, vibrancy and dialogue (pp. 21-33). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2011). Culture and context: From individualism to situated experience. In R. Frie & W. J. Coburn (Eds.), Persons in context: The challenge of individuality in theory and practice (pp. 3-19). New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. & Coburn, W. J. (2011). Experience in context. In R. Frie & W. J. Coburn (Eds.), Persons in context: The challenge of individuality in theory and practice (pp. xv-xxx). New York: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2010). From subjectivity to intersubjective speech: Habermas and Lacan. In D. Rasmussen & J. Swindal (Eds.), Jürgen Habermas II: SAGE Masters of Social Thought Series, Vol 4 (pp. 3-34). London: Sage.

Frie, R. (2009). Reconfiguring psychological agency. In R. Frie & D. Orange (Eds.), Beyond postmodernism: New dimensions in theory and practice (pp. 162-182). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2009). Modernism and postmodernism: Coherence or fragmentation? In R. Frie & D. Orange (Eds.), Beyond postmodernism: New dimensions in theory and practice (pp. 1-23). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2009). Forward. In R. Funk (Ed.), The clinical Erich Fromm: Personal accounts and papers on therapeutic technique (pp. vii-x). Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. [Spanish Trans: Frie, R. (2011). Prólogo. In R. Funk (Ed.), Recordando a Erich Fromm: Testimonios de sus alumnus sobre el hombre y el teraeuta (pp. 7-12). Madrid: Paidós.]

Frie, R. (2008). Navigating cultural contexts: Agency and bicultural identity. In R. Frie (Ed.), Psychological agency: Theory, practice, and culture (pp. 223-40). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Frie, R. (2008). The situated nature of psychological agency. In R. Frie (Ed.), Psychological agency: Theory, practice, and culture (pp. 1-31). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Frie, R. (2007). The lived body: From Freud and Merleau-Ponty to contemporary psychoanalysis. In J. Muller and J. Tillman(Eds.), The embodied subject: Minding the body in psychoanalysis (pp. 55-66). Lanham MD: Aronson.

Frie, R., & Reis, B. (2005). Intersubjectivity: From theory through practice. In J. Mills (Ed.), Relational and intersubjective perspectives in psychoanalysis: A critique (pp. 3-33). Lanham, MD: Aronson/Rowman & Littlefield.

Frie, R. (2004). Formulating unconscious experience: From Freud to Binswanger and Sullivan.” In J. Mills (Ed.), Psychoanalysis at the limit: Epistemology, mind, and the question of science (pp. 31-48). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Frie, R. (2003). Language and subjectivity: From Binswanger through Lacan. In R. Frie (Ed.), Understanding experience: Psychotherapy and postmodernism (pp. 154-182). London: Routledge.

Frie, R. (2003). Rethinking psychological agency. In R. Frie (Ed.), Understanding experience: Psychotherapy and postmodernism (pp. 1-27). London: Routledge.