– by Gerardo D. Canul, PhD

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The over simplification of being visibly ethnic (person of color) only continues to support the misunderstanding of the self and the other. By dividing the other and the self as either being light-skinned/ white or brown/ darker-skinned creates profound psychological divisions. The implications may be numerous. To receive active instruction from one’s parents increases the likelihood of a person making sense of one’s ethnic family history.

An approach to understanding oneself and the other may benefit from an integration of the explicit and implicit parts of one’s ethnic history and experiences. There may be familial circumstances and beliefs that impede a true known family history. Ascertaining the actual family of origin history and the influence on one’s ethnic identity may be blocked by parental figures and then consequently continued by oneself into adulthood.

The present paper identifies the elements that opened the door to an expanded self-understanding and deeper appreciation for the complexities of integrating a diverse historical background. The utilization of photographs, historical texts, and genealogical research provided the essential motivation to accept the invitation for the cathartic process.

Keywords: integratinghistorypsychohistorygenealogical-phototherapySephardic JewsYucatec Mayanrelational psychoanalysisphotoanalysis

About The Author

Gerardo D. Canul, PhD

Gerardo D. Canul, PhD, earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Washington State University. He maintains an independent practice that includes providing training and consultations. Dr. Canul's areas of interest are psychohistory, forensic psychology, and clinical child psychology. He is an associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine campus in California. He may be contacted at


Canul, G.D. (2017). Genealogical-PhotoTherapy as a tool for integrating my Mayan and Spanish origins. MindConsiliums, 17(3), 1-16.

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