We’re pleased to announce the full programme for our 2015 Conference: On Conflict.


As well as the exciting papers we’ve previewed in earlier posts, the final schedule also includes an intriguing collaborative paper, In the Frame: Conflict in Psychoanalysis, from SITE members Eric Harper and Andie Newman.

In their paper, Harper and Newman consider whether psychoanalysis wants to think of itself as being in the business of conflict resolution, serving to sublimate the symptom. Is interpretation of conflict an alienating speaking for the other? And is the conflict of madness, when reduced to mental illness/psychosis, colonisation? Can we be both alongside and allow for difference?

These are some of the questions which arise, specifically, when thinking about RD Laing, a figure who is so often dismissed and yet still leaves a palpable legacy for those both within and beyond the SITE. Laing was in conflict with the world and suffered from an addiction which created all kinds of conflicts. He acted in a conflicted manner, alleviating suffering but also inducing hurt.

Furthermore, within the Freudian systems, conflict is everywhere. It leaks out between conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious and ruptures the synthesis of id, ego and superego in the mastery of past, present and future. It ends up under the dire mastery of Thanatos, a drive which makes analysis interminable.

In this paper, the authors use Laing to move towards that which is revolutionary in psychoanalysis, and ask whether this radical spirit still persists in the transmission of psychoanalysis. It is a paradoxical move as, they argue, Laing was no revolutionary: he shrinks away from those lines of flight that might take us beyond the reproduction of docility. But a call for life can still be heard in the drunken rage.

Are we on the side of life, or are we at risk of reproducing docility, whether in our analysands or our trainees or both, with the spread of resentment in analytic organisations via the narcissism of minor differences for, as Deleuze remarks, “the revolutionary alone is free from resentment.”

Eric Harper is a psychotherapist, social worker and human rights activist currently working in London with homeless persons presenting with both mental health and addiction concerns. Prior to coming back to London he assisted with the founding of the African Sex Worker Health and Human Rights Alliance. His published work includes articles on therapy and human rights, for example The therapist’s relationship to the unknown. Harper, E. Mantis Publications. Jungian Journal. 2013 Torture ­ a presence without Absence. Harper, E. The Symptom ­ Online Journal for Lacan.com. Issue 4, 2003. Horror Unmasked: Truth or Fiction. Buur, L and Harper, E. Published by Human Rights and Human Welfare. Vol. 2, No.1 2002.

Andie Newman is a psychoanalyst working in private practice in both central and north London. She trained at The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and is also a member of the College of Psychoanalysts-UK.


For venue and booking details please see our Events posting HERE. A limited number of Conference tickets will be available at the door.