Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis SW
All Seminars take place on alternate Saturdays at The Choristers Building (the board room, 1st floor), Cathedral Green, Truro
Time: Morning seminar: 10.00 am – 1.00 pm
Afternoon seminar 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Training Weekend: 29 & 30 September 2018
Philip Derbyshire: Biotechnics
‘Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs he is truly magnificent: but those organs have not grown onto him and they still give him much trouble at times.’ Freud, Selected Works, volume 12, p.280
What I want to do this weekend is look at the ‘trouble’ Freud notes but does not really explore, the perturbations that technology causes as it begins to penetrate and become assimilated with the body.
The starting point is a reflection on ‘trans’ – the shift from one gendered body to another – not as, or not simply as, a question of therapeutics, a solution to a problem of felt dysphoria, but as bound up with certain technological possibilities that are increasingly deployable: pharmaceutical and surgical interventions that depend on a growing facility and power. The design of new bodies then seems one amongst a number of rational-instrumental alterations of the corporeal self, a span of technics that includes increasingly targeted chemical enhancements of sexual desire/activity, especially in gay male culture; the mediation of sexual activity by easily available pornography and the transformation of self-image through the pornographic; the performance of self through social media, where the prosthetic image acts as an alienated moment of intimacy (an inflection of Lacanian extimacy perhaps), among others. In each case it is as though instrumental reason – for Freud a sublimation of the death drive – is transforming the body and its imago in an expression of power, with the individual’s desire being articulated with social apparatuses.
The context of all this is a growing demand on subjects to re-invent themselves – in the tradition of Sloterdijk’s ‘You must change your life’ – a process which Nietzsche and Foucault once saw as a exercise of freedom, but now seems more linked with compulsion and an anxiety at prospective incapacity, as though permanent mutability were an ethical desideratum and fixity a failure.
So the attempt would be to link these phenomena together looking at figures like Butler, Foucault, Haraway and members of the Frankfurt School but also Guattari’s utopian fantasies of machinic connection to see what understanding we can gain about these new biopolitics that emerge with what Harari calls ‘Dataism’ the yoking together of surveillance and measurement of the body to transform the body in the service of data flows.
A reading list will follow but an older version of the problem is highlighted in ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ by Donna Haraway, and a newer tour d’horizon in the last chapters of Homo Deus (2016) by Yuval Harari. Both are of their time.
AUTUMN TERM: 6 & 20 October; 3 & 17 November and 1 December 2018
Sally Sales Critical conceptions of childhood: re thinking psychoanalysis for contemporary times
In this series of seminars we will critically revisit the place of early life within psychoanalysis. Our discussions will be framed by the growing body of recent scholarship arguing that we are living in a period of transformations to contemporary subjectivity. Neo liberalism, globalisation and new technologies are variously cited as foundational to a radical break in how subjects now form themselves. These seminars will consider the effects of these new social structures upon both the place and the practice of childhood within our culture and within psychoanalysis. Central to our discussions will be the question of whose childhood is being evoked and who’s excluded within psychoanalytic accounts of early life. Is childhood the unconscious or does the unconscious undo any notion of a childhood history? Does child development have anything to do with psychoanalysis? What relevance do childrearing practices have upon unconscious formations? Could we practice psychoanalysis without a concept of a childhood origin?
Seminar 1: Childhood Origins and interiority: Psychoanalytic beginnings
In this opening seminar we will both historisise and critically explore one of the founding principles of psychoanalysis – an internal childhood origin. Concepts such as the inner world and the inner child will be discussed in terms of the new concept of childhood that was emerging in the nineteenth century. This seminar will explore what is at stake in designating an origin or foundation for subjectivity. How far can Foucault’s concept of genealogy help challenge and unsettle the primary importance accorded to a childhood origin in psychoanalytic practice?
Reading Steedman, C (1995): ‘The world turned within’ in Strange Dislocations: Childhood & The Idea of Human Interiority, Cambridge: Harvard University press
Foucault, M (1998) ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’ in Essential Works of Foucault Vol II Ed James Faubion London: Penguin
Seminar 2: Undoing childhood: Neo liberalism and new technologies
In this seminar we will consider the effects of both neo liberalism and new technologies on contemporary subject formation. Drawing on recent work by Wendy Brown and Derrida’s Archive Fever, we will ask whether psychoanalysis is still addressing the post enlightenment child rather than the ‘economised’ and ‘technologised’ child of the late modern world?
Brown, W (2017) ‘Undoing democracy: neoliberalism’s remaking of state and subject’ in Undoing the demos, New York: Zone Books
Derrida, J (1995) Archive Fever (particularly pp.1 -31), Chicago: University Chicago press
Seminar 3: Whose development? Class and childhood
Drawing on some recent work on class and mothering, this seminar will consider the impact of class on the formation of both childhood and family life. What kind of classed childhood informs the psychoanalytic view of early life and who gets pathologised and excluded from this framework?
Gillies, V (2007) chapters 4 and 5 in Marginalised mothers, London: Routledge
Lawlor, S (2000) chapters 2 and 4 in Mothering the self, London: Routledge
Seminar 4: Psychoanalytic accounts of early life
In this seminar we will look in detail at the key accounts of childhood from across psychoanalysis. I would like 5 of you to each take a psychoanalytic account of early life and critically present it in the light of our preceding discussions.
Do these accounts reflect contemporary times? Do they privilege a particular classed gendered and racialized view of childhood and family?
Seminar 5: Early life as an ethical foundation: Re visiting Butler
In this final seminar we will look at some of butler’s recent work on ethics as rooted in the vulnerability and precarity of early life. Lauren Berlant has offered a trenchant critique of this formulation in Cruel Optimism. We will discuss whether the continuing dominance of the place of childhood in both psychoanalysis and the wider cultural field supports an outmoded and conservative notion of what it is to be a subject
Berlant, L (2011) ‘psychoanalysis, ethics and the infantile’ p.180 -189 in Cruel Optimism, Durham: Duke university press
Butler, J (2004) ‘Violence, Mourning, Politics’ in Precarious Life, London: Verso
Ilric Shetland: Psychoanalysis and the post human
The ‘new climatic regime’ has radically called into question the traditions of modernist philosophy with its binary categories, such as mind/body and ‘man’/nature. There is a growing body of work that is proposing that ‘man’s’ relationship to the world is being dramatically reconfigured, yet in the west we still cling to the old ways of understanding ourselves and our place in nature. In these seminars we will look at some of this literature with a particular focus on how it might change how we think about psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic clinic.
It would be helpful for us all to watch the film ‘Melancholia’ (2011) by Lars Von Trier, as a framing for these seminars.
Seminar 1 and 2: Ratman, a model for the modernist subject
In these two seminars we will use Freud’s case history to think about the contemporary crisis in our relationship to the natural world. Freud’s Ratman is an iconic representation of capitalist ‘man’ a mind so dissociated that it mistakes itself for a body. We will disucss how this form of subjectivity has become the dominant mode of being with disastrous consequences.
Freud, S (1909) ‘Ratman’ in SE X, London: Vintage
Seminars 3, 4 and 5
In these 3 seminars we will draw on 3 different contributions to the current debates around the post human. I will give more detailed references for this reading nearer to the time.
Danowski, D & Viveiros De Castro, E (2017) The Ends of the World, Cambridge: Polity
Kohon, E (2013) How Forests Think: Towards an Anthropology beyond the Human, London: University of California Press
Latour, B (2017) Facing Gaia: Eight lectures on the new climatic regime, Cambridge: Polity
SPRING TERM: 19 January; 2 & 16 February and 2 & 16, March 2019
19 January, 2 & 16 February 2019
Linda Buckingham: Marxism and psychoanalysis
Seminar 1: Anti- Duhring by Frederick Engels, 1947
Introduction: I General; II What Her Duhring Promises
Also, Chapter IX, Morality and Law. Eternal Truths.
Seminar 2: Materialism and Empirio Criticism by V.I. Lenin, 1909
Chapter 2, The Theory of Knowledge of Empirio-Criticism and of Dialectical Materialism II, 1-6.
Seminar 3: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation) by Louis Althusser, in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, 1971.
Engels’ Anti-Duhring and Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism were regarded as foundational philosophical, underpinning and validating Marx’s teachings. Philosophy in the Soviet Union did not progress further, officially, until the 1960s. During the 1920s and 1930s other intellectuals were not allowed a voice. Many philosophers emigrated or were expelled. Stalin enacted a decree in 1931 identifying dialectical materialism with Marxist-Leninism and made it the official philosophy. It was enforced in all Communist states. My view is that the two works are socio-philosophical tracts of a confused, relativist nature. They obscure, rather than clarify or enhance, Marx’s social, political and economic teachings. Althusser’s account of state apparatuses focuses on the importance of ideology as a powerful social force. This was breaking new ground and was written at a time when Marxists tended to focus on politics and economics as primary determinants of the character and direction of industrial societies. Althusser was influenced by Freudian psycho-analysis and was particularly impressed by Lacan.
19 January 2019
Karen Jackson On Being Entangled in the Clinic
Francois Roustang said that the position of the analyst in the clinic ‘must not be confined to a distant reserve but rather participate in the intensity of the situation’ The psychoanalytic clinic as a situation where intentionality is disrupted to create a potential space of possibility. How can we inhabit this entangled space so that we can be of use to the people that come to our clinic and sustain ourselves in the work.
Cixous, Helene (2011). ‘O Announces the Murder’ pp 16-22 in Twists and Turns in the Heart’s Antarctic, Trans. B. Bie Brahic, Polity Books
Plath, Sylvia (1981). ‘ New Year on Dartmoor’ in Sylvia Plath, Collected Poems, Ed, T. Hughes, Faber and Faber
Roustang, Francois (1996). ‘What Does It Mean to Be a Psychoanalyst’, in How to Make a Paranoid Laugh, Trans. A. C. Vila, University of Pennsylvania Press
Roustang, Francois (1980). ‘The Game of the Other’ in Psychoanalysis Never Lets Go, Trans. N. Lukacher, The Johns Hopkins University Press
2 & 16 February 2019
Penny Florence: Double Trouble: The Fictive, Projection & the Feminine
Seminar 1: On Projection (or why sexual difference breaks the mould)Seminar 2: Sex/Gender and the difficulty of ‘either/or’Note: we’ll be concerned with doubles, not oppositions.Double 1: fact & fiction. Double 2: self & other Double 3: female & male
Narcissism: “the displacement of an individual’s libido towards that individual’s own body, towards the ‘ego’ of the subject.” Sigmund Freud.
“Wilke’s radical narcissism culminated in her acerbic, witty, and tragic Intra Venus […] Wilke’s work […] functions more subtly to interrogate and explore profound issues of the embodied female subject as both artistic subject and object.” Amelia Jones
These seminars will explore how a differential take on the stories of sexual difference can be used, not only to illuminate specific issues and concepts, but also, more widely, as a methodology. The approach to science or strict definitions is neither dismissive nor dominant; both fact & fiction matter. Freud was as much a story-teller as a scientist. Both science and fiction are ways of seeking the truth.’Lacan’s answer to the problem of being both ‘for’ and ‘against’ fiction, both inside and outside its province, both enslaved and liberated by it, sounds at first more radical than anything in Proust or Freud. Speaking of ‘The Purloined Letter’ and of his reasons for attaching a precise psychoanalytic importance to Poe’s tale, he writes, ‘la verité y révèle son ordinance de fiction’ (17 – ‘here, truth reveals that it is of the order of fiction’, my trans),Bowie p.7It is in the self-declaring play of desire between certainty and extinction, between bedrock and deadlock, that their new science begins. (ie that of Freud, Proust & Lacan)Bowie p.178
Bowie, Malcolm, Freud, Proust and Lacan: Theory as Fiction. CUP, 1987Irigaray, Luce, Ce sexe qui n’est pas un, (This Sex Which Is Not One, 1977),Lacan, Jacques, Seminar on The Purloined Letter. http://www.lacan.com/purloined.htm (1972)Laplanche & Pontalis, The Language of Psychoanalysis, (trans. The Hogarth Press 1973; original Presses Universitaires de France, 1967 ) (see Projection & Projective ID pp 349-358)Mitchell & Rose, Jacques Lacan & the École Freudienne: Feminine Sexuality. Macmillian 1990 (1982) pp.38-40Poe, Edgar Allan, The Purloined Letter. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2148http://www.hannahwilke.com/id16.html (on the artist’s Feminist Narcissism, inc Amelia Jones)
2 & 16 March 2019
Keith Armitage: Narcissism & “Disorders of the Self”
Seminar 1 Morning Session: Narcissism: Metapsychology and Psychopathology
Freud S (1914) “On Narcissism: An Introduction” SE XIV
Cooper, Arnold M “Narcissism” in Morrison (ed.) Essential Papers on Narcissism (1986) New York: New York University Press
Jones, E (1913) “The God Complex” Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis Volume II (1964) New York: International Universities Press
In this seminar we will distinguish the two senses of narcissism, as a metapsychological concept and a (variously described) form of pathology, and ask how these two senses relate.
Seminar 2 Afternoon Session:Object Relations Perspectives
Fairbairn, WRD “Schizoid Factors in the Personality” in (1952) An Object-Relations Theory of the Personality New York: Basic Books
Rosenfeld H “On the Psychopathology of Narcissism: A Clinical Approach” (1964) International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 45:332-337
Kernberg, Otto F “The Treatment of the Narcissistic Personality” (1970) Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association Vol: XVIII No.1
We will compare influential accounts of pathological narcissism and its treatment from British and American object-relations perspectives.
Seminar 3 Morning Session: Kohut’s “New Paradigm”: Self-Psychology
Kohut, Heinz “The Two Analyses of Mr X” (1979) International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 60:3-27
Wallerstein, Robert S “How does Self Psychology Differ in Practice? (1985) International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 66:391-40
Kohut, Heinz “Forms & Transformations of Narcissism” in Morrison (ed.) ibid
Kohut, Heinz & Wolf, Ernest F “The Disorders of the Self and their Treatment: An Outline” in Morrison (ed.) ibid
Initially proposed as a new way of understanding and treating narcissistic disorders, Kohut’s self-psychology developed into nothing less than a radical re-writing of psychoanalytic theory, with narcissistic disturbance at the root of all psychopathology.
Seminar 4 Afternoon Session: Andre Green’s Contributions
Green, Andre “Moral Narcissism” & “One, Other, Neuter: Narcissistic Values of Sameness ” in (2001) Life Narcissism, Death Narcissism London: Free Association Books
Coming from a very different psychoanalytic tradition, we will look at some of Green’s clinical contributions to the topic of narcissism.
(If we have time…) Our Narcissism
Schumacher Finell, Janet “Narcissistic Problems in Analysts” (1985) International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 66:433-445
Finally, we will look at the ways in which our narcissism as therapists may get in the way of the clinical work.
TRAINING WEEKEND 30 & 31 March 2019
Stephen Gee and Patricia Touton Victor: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism
This week-end will be a mixture of text and experiential work with a critique of the ‘mindfulness’ turn and how certain uses of traditional Asian meditation practices can intersect with psychoanalytic listening. We will also be introducing the work of some of the recent ‘secular’ Buddhists. The main text will be a collection of papers in ‘Buddhism and Psychoanalysis’ published about ten years ago. It was edited by Jeremy Safran, a New York analyst who, you may have heard, was horribly murdered less than a month ago at his home in Brooklyn. It’s a real shock to a whole generation of analysts there who were on the progressive edge of the work for the last thirty years.
Further details and reading to follow
SUMMER TERM: 4 & 18 May; 1, 15 & 29 June 2019
4 May 2019
Joanna Gardner: Psychotherapy of psychoses
My focus will be on the clinical consequences of different ways of theorizing psychosis. I will use detailed clinical material from my work with a person I have seen for 25 years in therapy to look at the difference between what may be described, very roughly, as deficit theories, such as Lacan and conflict theories, such as Klein and Bion.
We will look at Lacan’s concept of the 3 Psychic structures and Post Kleinian notions of psychotic and non-psychotic parts of the personality. We will, if time allows, also consider Louis Sass’s subtle Wittgensteinian understanding of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. The emphasis throughout will be on the clinical experience of working with psychosis
Reading to follow
18 May 2019
Peter Nevins: Race and Psychoanalysis
We will be taking a phenomenological look at how race undergirds our experience of ourselves as embodied being and how this shapes our perceptions as patients and analysts. Franz Fanon provides the foundations for understanding the effects of race on the psyche of Black people and Judith Butler focuses on the phantasmatic production of the white violence and homophobic paranoia projected onto the black male body through her take on the amateur video presented to the jurors in the beating of Rodney king in 1991
Franz Fanon – The Negro and Psychopathology from Black Skin White Mask, Pluto Press; New Ed edition (1991). I can supply PDF of the chapter
Judith Butler – Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia in Judith Butler Reader 200, Blackwell publishing –
Toni Morrison provides in this chapter a poetic and incisive account of how we estrange the other for our own purposes.
Toni Morrison – Being or Becoming a Stranger from The Origin of Others 2017 I can supply PDF of the chapter
If time permits I would like to explore the intersection between race and gender through the lens of transgender people of colour experience via a phenomenological reading of the “Life and Death of Letisha King” by Gayle Salamon, introduction part 5 Race under Erasure
In preparation for this seminar it would be most helpful if you were to complete the following exercise beforehand. Reflect on this question and write a short piece arising from those reflections. Be prepared – if you are willing – to share your reflections with the group during the seminar: What race/s was I in born into? What signs and signifiers told me so? What signs and signifiers resonate with me about my race/s now?
And Watch Black Psychoanalysis Speak a PEP web funded video of Black American psychoanalysts talking about race. Click on this link Black Psychoanalysts Speak
1 June 2019
Ed Thornton: Institutional Psychotherapy and the Machinic Unconscious
The purpose of this one-day teaching seminar is to introduce training analysts to the practice of Institutional Psychotherapy. The teaching will focus on two key aspects of this movement: first, the integration of social and political critique into psychotherapeutic work; and second, a ‘machinic’ conception of the unconscious. We will discuss the role that psychoanalysis plays in the political economy of capitalism and consider the techniques devised by Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze for producing a form of revolutionary psychoanalysis, which they dubbed ‘schizoanalysis’.
The day will begin with an exploration of Institutional Psychotherapy, a form of radical psychoanalysis developed in France in the early 20th century. Here I will discuss the emergence of the movement during Nazi occupation and its links with the French resistance. I will then discuss two of the major developments of Institutional Psychotherapy, firstly with Frantz Fanon in Algeria, and then with Jean Oury and Félix Guattari at La Borde. I will introduce the practical techniques devised at La Borde and will explain how the Institutional Psychotherapy movement in France differed from the anti-psychiatry movements in the UK and Italy. This session will include a lecture followed by some reflective work in small groups. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
In this session I will discuss the book Anti-Oedipus, written as a collaboration between the psychoanalyst Félix Guattari and the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In this book, the two authors carry out a comprehensive critique of psychoanalysis and its place within capitalist culture. Drawing on Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche (as well as many others) they claim that psychoanalysis has systematically misunderstood the nature of desire. They also set out a new theory of the unconscious as a productive force, which drives the process of history and creates all social relations. This session will include a lecture and a close reading of selected passages of the text. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
In the final session I will introduce a game that Lacan used in one of his seminars. This game involves tossing a coin, recording the results, and trying to guess the outcome of future tosses. We will play the game as a group and use it to explore Guattari’s critique of Lacan. This session is intended as a practical demonstration of the difference between the symbolic and the machinic interpretations of the unconscious.
Ed Thornton is a PhD candidate and Visiting Tutor in the Philosophy Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. His work concentrates on the history of 20th century continental philosophy and his PhD thesis explored the political and psychoanalytic aspects of the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Ed has published a number of articles on these topics and has been invited to present his work at conferences across the world. Ed helped to convene an event in 2017 that brought some of the founding members of the Institutional Psychotherapy movement to London for a two-day symposium. He also programmed the ‘Post-Psychoanalysis’ event series held at The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in London in early 2018.
15 June 2019
Paul Gurney: Social class and clinical practice
In this seminar we will be focusing on how issues of class, in all their manifold complexity, manifest themselves in the consulting-room, with due reference to wider everyday experiences. This is not just about ‘helping the poor’: we are all classed, and will be investigating these matters in a spirit of dialectic, where, to quote Joanna Ryan, ‘Each class is the other’s other.’
Reading to follow
29 June 2019
Anastasios Gaitanides: Ferenczi
Details to follow