Roger Frie grew up in Canada and lived in Switzerland and Germany before attending university in England. He was educated at the University of London (BA) and Trinity College, Cambridge University (MPhil, PhD), where he studied history, philosophy and social theory. After completing his doctorate, he taught in Cambridge, Massachusetts and then moved to New York City, where he trained as a clinical psychologist (PsyD) and became a psychoanalyst at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology.

Frie has taught in an academic capacity at Harvard and Northeastern Universities (in history and philosophy), and at the New School and Long Island University in Brooklyn (in psychology). He was for many years an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a Senior Attending Psychologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.

He is currently Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, and maintains a private practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in Vancouver. He is also a faculty member and supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute in New York and an Associate Member of the Columbia University Seminar on Cultural Memory. He is an editorial board member of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Psychology and Psychoanalytic Discourse, and a former editor of Psychoanalysis, Self and Context.

He gives lectures and workshops on historical trauma, memory and moral responsibility to public audiences, institutes and universities across North America and internationally and has been invited to speak in England, France, Germany, Austria, Israel and Japan

Current Scholarship

Frie’s research reflects his interdisciplinary background. He has published 8 books, many articles, chapters and reviews, and his writing has been translated into German and Japanese. He is currently working on a new book that contrasts ordinary Germans who became complicit bystanders and enablers of the Nazi regime with those who chose to resist and help the victims of Nazism. He traces the lessons of the Nazi past for responding to current racial injustice, and for challenging the bystander culture that surrounds us.

His scholarship falls into three broad categories:

  1. Historical trauma, cultural memory and moral responsibility related to Germany and the Holocaust. He uses a variety of sources that include autobiography, family memoir, narrative, history, psychoanalysis and social theory. Recent work focuses on historical memory and developing greater historical awareness in order to respond to current injustices. This includes a focus on the intergenerational transmission of memory, the process of memorialization and the importance of acknowledging perpetrator histories, particularly in relation to the Nazi past, the Holocaust and the cultural genocide of the First Nations in Canada.
  2. History and theory of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, with particular emphasis on the emergence of cultural understanding and questions of social responsibility. Recent work focuses on the presence of historical traumas of the Nazi period and the Holocaust in the life and work of European psychoanalysts.
  3. Philosophical issues related to the study of lived experience, intersubjectivity, cultural embeddedness and possibilities for political action and psychological agency. Recent work develops the conceptual distinction between “learned history” and “lived history.”