Jean-Claude Metraux

Jean-Claude Metraux

Dr. Jean-Claude Metraux, MD, PhD, (1955) psychiatrist and child and adolescent psychotherapist. His activity is mainly oriented towards migrant families living in precarious conditions. He is co-founder of the association Appartenances (Belongings) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and currently has a psychiatric private practice.
From 1997 to 2021 he teached Health and Migration at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.  Early in his career, he worked with war victims in Nicaragua and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He is the author of several books related to his practice among them: 'La migration comme métaphore' (Migration as a metaphor), translated into Dutch (Migratie als Metafoor).

Psychiatrist and Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist
Association ‘Appartenances’, University of Lausanne




Photo: Céline Michel

Title of keynote:

Migration as a metaphor: towards a praxis of acknowledgement.

The encounter between a psychotherapist from the North and a migrant patient from the South is an encounter between two migrants, each of whom is bound to migrate into the other's world. Their task is first to co-construct a world of shared meaning, a common sense of belonging. This task requires a prior recognition of our similarities, such as our migrant essence, our human vulnerability and our sensitivity to loss, as well as a recognition of our different positions; one closer to the North, the other closer to the South. On the basis of our similarities, we psychotherapists can then develop a praxis of acknowledgement, which I will elaborate in this contribution. This praxis of acknowledgement leads us to think differently about the encounter with our migrant patients, and to draw differently our commitment in the transcultural clinic.