Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis SW
All Seminars take place on alternate Saturdays at Truro Library (small training room 1st floor), Pydar Street, Truro
Time: Morning seminar: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm
Afternoon seminar 1.30 pm – 4.00 pm
3 October 2015 Training Day
Transsexuality & Psychoanalysis: Keith Armitage
Transsexuality is the object of debate, media interest and political struggle as never before. It is clear that this is a period of cultural shift in acceptance and understanding, perhaps paralleling the shifts that have taken place in the acceptance of male and female homosexuality over the last half century. Where is contemporary psychoanalysis in this change? I would like to introduce classical and contemporary theorising of transsexuality from a variety of perspectives and, more particularly, question what social and political attitudes follow from the theories we hold? Where can psychoanalysis stand in relation to claims to rights for the transgendered and transsexual? What can psychoanalysis offer the patient identifying as transsexual?
In the teaching, I would like the group to split into four smaller sub-groups to present their readings of the chosen texts to us all in a short presentation (10-15 mins?). Don’t worry too much about feeling you have to fully grasp every point of theory or metapsychology, I am more interested in the author’s attitudes and from what experience they draw their conclusions. In particular, I am interested in your readings of what attitudes the writers show to their transsexual subjects and where they situate themselves in relation to the claims to gender their patients make and requests for surgery, recognition or political agency.
The timings for different parts of the day are suggested and we can revisit these if we want.
Part 1 10.00-11.15 Transsexual Biographies
I would like us all to read at least one transsexual autobiography in advance of the class. There are some great stories to pick from and classic books can be picked up second-hand from Amazon for pennies. April Ashley or Christine Jorgenson are classical transsexual narratives; Jan Morris is literary and serious, and is often cited by Lacanians as evidencing the identity of transsexuality with psychosis; Caroline Cossey is dramatic and colourful, though her understanding of womanhood was the frequent target of feminists in the 70s & 80s in their opposition to transsexual claims to be women; Julia Grant is gritty rags to riches. A more contemporary take is Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw, which is more political and subversive as well as having the breeziness of daytime TV (Kate is a veteran guest of Geraldo & Springer et al) and self-help. Have fun looking for what appeals to you, these books can be great beach reading for the summer!
In our discussions, we can begin to think about the understanding of gender that these writers have and their gendered identities. How do we, as psychoanalysts, begin to understand and respect these examples of self-writing? We can use these stories and read them with and against the theoretical accounts we will encounter.
Part 2 11.30-12.15 Robert Stoller and Primary Transsexuality
Stoller, R J: (1976) Sex and Gender Volume II: The Transsexual Experiment New York: Jason Aronson
Stoller is of immense importance to psychoanalytic theorising about transsexuality. Even when contemporary writers disagree with his thinking, they support their own claims with his clinical examples. The book is very rich in clinical detail and this makes it an engaging read. I suggest that those presenting on this book concentrate on the chapters in Part I and Part III. The book is out of print but can be obtained fairly easily second hand over the internet. If you have difficulties, let me know and I can scan pages for you.
Part 3 1:00-1.45 Contemporary Freudian & Kleinian Perspectives
Ambrosio, G (2009): Transvestism, Transsexualism in the Psychoanalytic Dimension London: Karnac (particularly Introduction & Chapters 1-2; 5)
Chiland, C (2005) Exploring Transsexualism London: Karnac
These essays and Chiland’s short book, come from the terrain of “establishment” psychoanalysis. As well as situating work with transsexual patients within a variety of institutional contexts, they situate psychoanalytic thinking alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches. They also show psychoanalysis feeling challenged by transsexual activism and agency. How do these psychoanalysts position themselves and their discipline in these debates?
Part 4 1:45-2:30 Lacanian Approaches
Millot, C (1990): Horsexe: Essay on Transsexuality New York: Autonomedia
Morel, G (2011) Sexual Ambiguities London: Karnac (particularly Chapters 1-3; 5 and 7)
Both writers presented complex arguments supported by a range of clinical, cultural and historical reference that some will find compelling and seductive. Both deserve close critical and creative reading. Morel in particular is led by her theoretical convictions to take a position to social movements that might seem authoritarian or conservative. Do these social positions necessarily follow from these theories or can we find other ways? Do we experience a disjunction between what some might consider “progressive” theory and “reactionary” politics?
2:45-3:30 Transsexuality, Identity and the Body
Prosser, J (1998) Second Skins: The Body Narratives of Transsexuality New York: Columbia University Press (particularly Chapter 2: “A Skin of One’s Own: Towards a Theory of Transsexual Embodiment”)
I feel it is important to go full circle and to have as our final reading a transsexual writer presenting a transsexual theory. Prosser presents a variety of theory, including psychoanalytic theory, to advance a positive advocacy for surgical intervention and transgender transitioning. What can we learn from transsexual theory as opposed to theories about transsexuality?
3:30-4.00 Questions and Conclusions
17 & 31 October, 14 & 28 November and 12 December 2015
Sally Sales: Identity through injury: rethinking borderline states
It has been commonly recognised (for example Verhaeghe 2008) that borderline personality disorder (BPD) has become a prevalent and common diagnosis, alongside the related condition post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This seminar series will be exploring the new dominance of BPD within the contemporary social field to interrogate how we might understand its current centrality. We are living in a period where national, economic and psychological borders appear to be in a critical state and where the effects of war and austerity politics have created dispossessed communities and dispossessed individuals. Does the proliferation of this diagnosis speak to a crisis in western subjectivity, the emergence of a disordered individualism whose borders are collapsing? Indeed the SW low cost clinic has received many referrals of people from working class/rural underclass backgrounds whose lives have been devastated by poverty and economic exclusion and who have been diagnosed with BPD. These people cling to the injurious identity of their diagnosis as a space of recognition within a culture where they been radically dispossessed of any other mode of belonging.
The psychoanalytic literature on borderline states often provides rich and compelling descriptions, but within an asocial framework that is tied to a certain kind of familial/maternal narrative. This seminar series will attempt to read the psychoanalytic literature with and within a consideration of the contemporary social conditions in which BPD is emerging. We will address the following questions:
What is a ‘disordered personality’ and what is the ‘ordered personality’ against which it emerges?
What kind of injurious identity does BPD indicate?
Do the exclusions and hierarchies of class make troubled psychic states more likely in working class communities?
How do class inequalities work to produce a borderline state of being?
What might it mean to live in a borderline state and why is such a state so problematic for the lacanian school?
Seminar One: What is Borderline personality disorder?
In this opening seminar we will begin with some early English and American psychoanalytic texts on BPD, all written in the 1960s. The papers offer definitions and treatment models for working with BPD, laying out a territory in which the contemporary debates in seminars 3 and 4 can be understood. The following papers are all on pepweb
Kernberg, O (1967) Diagnosing borderline personality organisation
Kernberg, O (1968) Treatment of patients with borderline personality organisation (particularly the section on transference and counter transference)
Khan, M (1960) Clinical aspects of the schizoid personality: affects and technique
Little, M (1966) Transference in borderline states
Seminar Two: Vulnerability, Grievability, dispossession
Drawing on some of Butlers recent work, we will think about a framework through which we might bring together the contemporary social and the psychic to help us think about the contemporary dominance of BPD
Butler, J (2004) ‘Violence, mourning, politics’ in Precarious Life, London: Verso
Butler, J & Athanasiou, A 2013) ch 7 ‘recognition and survival, or surviving recognition’, ch 8 ‘Relationality as self-dispossession’, ch 10 ‘Responsivess as responsibility’ in Dispossession: The performative in the Political, Cambridge: Polity
Seminar Three: Contemporary psychoanalytic accounts (i)
In the next 2 seminars we will be discussing some contemporary accounts of BPD, coming from two very different traditions, British attachment and lacanian.
In seminar 3 we will discuss and evaluate the contribution that Fonagy’s concept of mentalisation has made to work with BPD. There is now a large literature on mentalisation and I am interested in thinking about both its emergence and its enormous popularity. Is this concept an advance on the work from the 1960s? What might a failure to mentalise say about both contemporary family life and the conditions of late western modernity? I have selected a paper on pepweb and a book by Fonagy and Bateman. The latter is not essential, but do try and at least read the pepweb paper.
Fonagy, P & Target, M (2000) persistence of dual psychic reality in borderline patients
Fonagy, P & Bateman, A (2006) Mentalisation based treatment for BPD, Oxford: OUP
Seminar Four: Contemporary psychoanalytic accounts (ii)
In this seminar we will look at two different lacanian views on borderline, Paul Verhaeghe and Jacques Alain Miller.
Verhaeghe, P (2008) ‘Between Actualpatholgy and Psychopathology: post traumatic stress disorder and Borderline’ in On Being Normal and other disorders, London:Karnac
Miller J.-A. (2009). Ordinary psychosis revisited. Psychoanal. Notebooks Eur. Sch. Psychoanal. 19, 139–168
Seminar Five: The contemporary clinic
In this final seminar we will review and summarise the preceding discussions and think about the clinical implications for our practice. The group are encouraged to bring clinical vignettes that we can discuss in the light of our reading.
Ilric Shetland: Reading Deleuze
In this series of seminars we will be focussing on the Deleuze text Difference and Repetition. This is a famously difficult read, but we will be mainly drawing on Deleuze’s introduction. This serves well as a basis of discussion around some of his foundational thinking and has a direct bearing on psychoanalytic concepts and the psychoanalytic clinic. The intention of these seminars is to put under critical scrutiny the centrality of representation and talking as ‘cure’. As we read the introduction we will conduct a dual conversation with some key psychoanalytic texts to cast light upon Deleuze’s radical re thinking of subjectivity.
Seminar one and two
In the first two seminars we will remind ourselves of some key Freudian concepts that Deleuze will be re working – repetition, repression and representation. Below are the papers we will be reading, all on pepweb
Freud, S (1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle SE XVIII
Freud, S (1915) Repression SE XIV
Freud, S (1914) Remembering, Repeating and working through SE XII
Freud, S (1915) The Unconscious SE XIV particularly section III on unconscious feelings and p.206 -208 on affect and representation
Seminars three, four and five
Focussing on the introductory chapter in Difference and repetition, we will attempt to explore Deleuze’s challenge to psychoanalytic thinking about subjectivity.
Deleuze, G (2004) Difference and Repetition, London: Continuum
16 & 30 January, 13 & 27 February, 12 March 2016
Linda Buckingham: Philosophical and clinical reflections on the work of Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion
In these seminars we will focus on the following areas:
– The emotional and psychological life of the infant and its effects on adult mental health.
– Projective Identification and the distinction between Klein’s original concept and the way in which it was developed and altered by Bion.
– The philosophical positions (present but unstated) of Klein’s and Bion’s theories of knowledge. Bion’s writing has strong Idealist tendencies. Klein’s has both Idealist and Realist/Empiricist elements.
– The clinical usefulness of all these papers, especially Bion’s ‘Attacks on Linking’ which describes the impasse in psychotherapy when the patient strips all interpretations of their meaning.
Week 1: Melanie Klein, ‘Some Theoretical Conclusions Regarding the Emotional Life of the Infant’, (1952, in ‘Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 1946-1963’, Hogarth press.)
Week 2: Melanie Klein, ‘Mourning and its Relation to Manic Depressive States’ (1940, in ‘The Selected Melanie Klein’, ed. Juliet Mitchell, 1986, Free Press.)
Week 3: Melanie Klein, ‘Notes on some Schizoid Mechanisms (1946, In ‘The Selected Melanie Klein’, see above.)
Week 4: Wilfred Bion, ‘A Theory of Thinking’ (in Melanie Klein Today, Mainly Theory, ed. Elizabeth Spillius, 1986, Routledge)
Week 5: Bion, ‘Attacks on Linking’( In Melanie Klein Today, Mainly Theory, see above.)
Plus ‘Play and Communication’, Shirley Hoxter, in ‘The Child Psychotherapist and problems of young people’ , Ed. Daws and Boston, 1977, Wildwood House.) I will provide this paper.
Paul Zeal: A critical exploration of counter transference
The whole of the analyst’s unconscious reactions to the individual analysand – especially to the analysand’s own transference.
The Language of Psychoanalysis Laplanche and Pontalis (1973)
Taking this definition as a starting-point, it follows that the analyst’s counter-transference is as tricky of access as the patient’s transference, both being unconscious. The analytic ‘gold standard’ is communication unconscious to unconscious, with tremendous potential for confusion if one dares to sink into it. What then, are the analyst’s conscious reactions to the patient’s transference if not counter-transference? Presumably they are workings of the Lacanian imaginary, and/or epiphenomenal manifestations of the unconscious – or both. Much of the interaction between analyst and patient is interpersonal, thus could be said to be in the domain of the imaginary; but given that analysis is of the unconscious, we will enquire how this inter-personal material may give us access to our counter-transference if we are sitting deeply enough in the work. We will examine the questionable notion, and the implied (preferred) power relations, that transference all proceeds from patient to analyst, and all counter-transference from analyst to patient.
Works yet to be selected but including by: Freud, Ferenczi, Klein, Paula Heimann, Winnicott, Lagache, Lacan, Juliet Mitchell, Laplanche.
SW Training Weekend 9/10 April 2016
Trevor Jameson: The Jungian Clinic
Day 1: Psychiatry and the Making of Jung
We will look at some of the foundations that make up Jung’s early views of what he called Analytical Psychology and the application of this in the consulting room today.
C.G.Jung (1907) The Psychology of Dementia Praecox.
Collected Works, Volume 3.
C.G.Jung (1919) On the Problem of Psychogenesis in Mental Disease.
Collected Works, Volume 3.
C.G.Jung (1956) Recent Thoughts on Schizophrenia
Collected Works, Volume 3.
C.G.Jung (1995) Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Chapter 4. Psychiatric Activities.
S.M.Silverstein (2014) Jung’s Views on Causes and Treatments of Schizophrenia in Light of Current Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychotherapy Research
1: Aetiology and Phenomenology.
Journal of Analytical psychology. 2014, 59, 98 – 129.
11: Psychological Research and Treatment.
Journal of Analytical Psychology. 2014, 59, 263 – 283.
Y.Abramovitch (2014) Jung’s Understanding of Schizophrenia: Is it relevant in the ‘Era of the Brain’? Journal of Analytical Psychology. 2014, 59, 229 – 244.
Day 2: The Shadow is Alive and Unwell – Jung Today: Inside and Outside the Consulting Room
On the second day the focus will be on the clinical application of some of Jung’s theory, derived from his thinking about archetypes, and the meeting of the analyst and patient in the consulting room, and beyond.
C.G.Jung (1959) The Shadow.
The Collected Works, Volume 9(i).
C.G.Jung (1954) On the Psychology of the Trickster Figure.
The Collected Works, Volume 9(ii).
M.Jacoby (1984) The Analytic Encounter: Transference and Human Relationship.
Inner City Books.
Trevor Jameson, is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Cambridge. He spent over twenty years working in inpatient and community mental health teams in London and East Anglia. He has lead workshops and seminars for a number of counselling and psychotherapy organisations on a range of topics within psychodynamic theory and practice. He currently teaches on the Jungian Analytic training and teaches and supervises on the Msc. in Human Development, for BJAA/BPF. Trevor has given a number of papers in London and East Anglia on Jungian theory, mental health and the arts.
23 April 2016
Anastasios Gaitanidis: Narcissism, Mourning and Melancholia
In this seminar I intend to trace the development of Freud’s thought from his introduction of narcissism and the importance he placed on the process and outcome of mourning to his later emphasis on melancholic identification for the construction of the subject. If, according to Freud, the outcome of successful mourning is the acceptance of the transience of the object and our attachment to it so as to be able to reignite our desire to invest in new relationships which will produce pleasure, his later insistence on the importance of melancholic identification as fundamental in the construction of the subject indicates a new ethical relationship to the lost other (as Judith Butler suggests) which can produce a new politics based on a community whose members are aware of their ‘vulnerable’ relational web of their grievable lives.
1 – Freud – ‘Narcissism’ and ‘Mourning and Melancholia’
- Freud, S. (1914c). ‘On Narcissism: An Introduction’, Standard .Edition, Vol. XIV.
- Freud, S. (1917). ‘Mourning and Melancholia’. S.E., Vol. XIV.
- Cohen, J. (2005). How to Read Freud. London: Granta Books.
- Gaitanidis, A. (2007). “Narcissism and the Autonomy of the Ego”. In Gaitanidis, A. (with Curk, P.) Narcissism – A Critical Reader. London: Karnac.
2 – Freud’s Theoretical Revisions
- Freud, S. (1923b) The Ego and the Id, S.E., Vol. XIX.
- Freud, S. (1926d) Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, S.E., Vol. XX.
- Gaitanidis, A. (2007). “Narcissism and the Autonomy of the Ego”. In Gaitanidis, A. (with Curk, P.) Narcissism – A Critical Reader. London: Karnac.
3 – Butler – Endless Mourning and Politics
- Butler, J. (2003) ‘Violence, Mourning, Politics’, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4:1, pp. 9-37
- Butler, J. (2009). Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? London: Verso.
- Walsh, J. (2015). Narcissism and its Discontents. London: Palgrave Macmillan (especially Ch. 6 ‘From Narcissism to Melancholia and Back Again…)
7 May 2016
Peter Wood: Research
Details and reading to follow
21 May 2016
Val Parks: The Purloined Wolf Man
Freud’s case study “From the history of an infantile neurosis” has fascinated many writers in the psychoanalytic field. This seminar will examine Freud’s text and the manner in which he struggled with the Wolf Man’s material. Did it, as he hoped, prove the tenets of the psychoanalytic cure? We will also explore some of the later readings of the case, asking particularly how we can draw on it in the contemporary clinic.
4 June 2016
Philip Derbyshire: Guattari
Félix Guattari (1930-1992) is too often seen as a simple adjunct to Gilles Deleuze, the ‘and’ in Deleuze and Guattari subordinating his role in their collective project rather than indicating the complex polyphony of their work together. There is also a tendency to ignore the surprisingly large body of work he produced on his own account, dealing with a range of topics from his clinical work at La Borde, the institution where he worked in Paris, to the theoretical shifts he thought necessary to take account of the changing topography of contemporary capitalism and its forms of subjectivity. The purpose of this engagement with Guattari’s work is to explore some of this productive complexity.
I want to look at notions that he coined and made multiple use of, such as ‘transversality’, ‘machinic unconscious’, ‘collective assemblage of enunciation’, ‘schizoanalysis’, ‘rhizome’, in order to show how they imply a novel, pragmatic, social, and materially heteroclite view of language that owes much to Peirce and Voloshinov/Bakhtin and is emphatically critical of the Lacanian account of language as (phallic) semiology. They are also part of a theory of desire as productive and social that pushes toward a ‘transindividual’ account of the unconscious and its articulations, which is thematised both in a theory of groups, that has interesting echoes of Sartre, but also embodies the experience of group analysis that Guattari was engaged in throughout his career. Thinking desire and language beyond the individual opens up new ways of understanding how politics works.
In a sense, Guattari produces another account of the what Adorno saw as the antinomies of the social field of desire designated by the names of Freud and Marx. But Guattari reworks these parameters to engage with what towards the end of his life he called ‘Integrated World Capitalism’ and to attempt to construct ‘lines of flight’ beyond the seeming aporias, bringing together different forms of investments, objects and connections. So, I want also to look at this novel map of the contemporary world and at the politics that Guattari sees as emergent with new forms of collective agency, built on new possibilities of linkage and combination, the machinic forms of the wired (and wireless) world.
A useful text that opens up the linguistic dimension of Guattari’s thought is ‘November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics’, plateau 4 of 1000 Plateaus, (1980/1988) which takes up in nuce some of the themes that are developed in The Machinic Unconscious, 1979/2011. ‘Transversality’ and ‘Group and Person’, chapters in Molecular Revolution (1984), sketch out some interesting lines of thought. Unfortunately the book is now out of print, so I’ll provide pdfs, as I will of two interviews with Guattari in the 1970s, published in Semiotext(e) on ‘Freudo-Marxism’ and ‘Psychoanalysis and Schizoanalysis’, that contextualise the field of Guattari’s interventions.
Otherwise the major texts that I will use are:
The Machinic Unconscious: Essays in Schizoanalysis, (1979). 2011. Translated by Taylor Adkins, New York: Semiotext(e)
The Three Ecologies, (1989). 2000. Translated by Ian Pindar & Paul Sutton, available on-line
Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm (1992). 1995. Translated by Paul Bains & Julian Pefanis, available on line.
18 June 2015
Andie Newman: Ethics
This seminar will be an exploration of what we mean by ethics and how these different meanings plays out in different theoretical models within psychoanalysis.
Reading to follow
2 July 2015
Paul Gurney: ‘The Wall In The Head’: fantasy and reality in the socio-political ‘family romance’
In this seminar we will be investigating the relationship between how we constitute ourselves –and are constituted- as socio-political subjects, and the implications this may have for our psychoanalytical ‘theorising’ and practice. Alongside attention to textual and clinical material, there will be an experiential element to the day.
SW Training Weekend 8/9 October 2016
Bernard Burgogyne: Lacan