Re-Considering Freud’s ‘History of an Infantile Neurosis’
October 6 13 20 27, November 3
In this series of seminars, we are going to take the opportunity to read and consider together Freud’s seminal 1914 case study ‘From the History of an Infantile Neurosis’, which concerns Freud’s work with Sergei Pankejeff, the so-called ‘Wolf Man’.
We will begin the first half of our series of discussions by reviewing Freud’s text and contextualising Freud’s narrative within the trajectory of his theory building – in particular, the development of his theory of narcissism and his elaboration of anal and oral sexualities – and the evolution of his clinical practice, especially as this was spurred by his rivalry with the increasingly dissenting opinions of Adler and Jung, whose views on theory and treatment Freud hoped the case study would definitively counter. Alongside this intellectual contextualisation, we will also take the chance to consider some recently published research into Freud’s clinical logbook, that gives us the fullest access so far to Freud’s own record of his working practices and clinical routine. This comparison allows us to raise the ever present and vexatious question of the relationship between theory and practice and how the two do – or do not – intersect and inform
one another. With this question in mind, we will turn to consider the later accounts of Pankejeff’s involvement with psychoanalysis, his own memoir of his treatment with Freud and Ruth Mack Brunswick’s case study of her later work with Pankejeff. Given the vast divergence between Pankejeff’s version of his own life and Freud’s and Mack Brunswick’s versions, we will want to ask why this divergence is so marked and wonder about its implications.
The final two seminars will be devoted to introducing the work of two hugely neglected and long overlooked Hungarian-French psychoanalysts, Maria Torok and Nicolas Abraham, whose lifelong collaborative engagement with Freud’s case study became the foundation of their own unique theoretical and clinical innovations, that are especially important for reframing urgent contemporary questions concerning psychosis, so- c a l l e d ‘ b o r d e r l i n e ’ c o n d i t i o n s a n d t h e intergenerational transmission of trauma.
A full reading list will be sent closer to the time and PDFs will be provided of hard to find or out-of- print material. Core texts will include:
- Abraham N. & and Torok M. (1971) ‘The To p o g r a p h y o f R e a l i t y : S k e t c h i n g a Metapsychology of the Secret’.
- Abraham, N. & Torok, M. (1972) ‘Mourning or Melancholia: Introjection vs Incorporation’. Abraham, N. and Torok, M. (1975), ‘”The Lost O b j e c t – M e ” : N o t e s o n E n d o c r y p t i c Identification’.- in (1994) The Shell and the Kernel: Renewals of Psychoanalysis, University of Chicago Press.
- Freud, S. (1918) From the History of an Infantile Neurosis, SE 17.
- Mack Brunswick, R. (1928) ‘A Supplement to Freud’s “History of an Infantile Neurosis”’, IJP (available on PEP Web).
- Mahalel, A.T. (2020) ‘The Wolf Man and Sigmund Freud by Sergei Pankejeff: between a case study and a memoir’, in Reading Freud’s Patients: Memoir, Narrative and Analysand, Routledge.
- May, U. (2018) Freud at Work: On the History of Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice with an Analysis of Freud’s Patient Record Book, Routledge.
November 10 17 24
In Freud’s Case: ‘Was will das Weib’?
‘Psychoanalytic writing is a failure – as is all writing, from a psychoanalytic point of view – in the sense that it is always saying something other than it intends to’
Adam Phillips, Introduction to John Forrester, Thinking in Cases (Polity, 2017)
For some commentators on Freud’s last case study ‘The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman’ (‘Über die Psychogenese eine Falles von weiblicher Homosexualität’ (1920)) his ‘behaviour’ was ‘appalling’: homophobic, misogynist, heterosexist … the list goes on. Case closed. Or is it? These three seminars explore ways of reading this case – as much the how and why of our readings as the different theoretical approaches we bring to bear. How to read the case psychoanalytically, and how to think about the contradictions, blindspots and tensions we find in it – ‘Freud’s conceptions aren’t quite in agreement amongst themselves’ (Lacan, 1955) – and which some theoretical approaches may shut down whilst attempting to resolve? What can a case study written a century ago help us think about here and now, as 1. we (still) struggle to think as openly as possible about the question, ‘was will das Weib?’ what do women want? (the ambiguity introduced by the English translation will be useful to us as we go further), and about subjectivity, sexuality and desire, and 2. we think about how we want to present our own work?
- Fail again, fail better : an impossible experiment in reading
This seminar asks you just to read, or reread, the case, with as open a mind as possible. If we try to bring a form of ‘evenly suspended attention’ to Freud’s words, what emerges? Forget what you know of the case, forget the commentators and critiques (we’ll come to them another day); but then, what can’t you forget?A wholly neutral, value-free reading is of courseimpossible, as it is for us to read without traces of our own memory and desire. But if we focus on how we are reading, what we bring to the process, what does this reveal to us about our reading habits quite as much as what about Freud’s ideas and practice in this (one) case?And what of our own practice, our multidimensionallistening habits? And of our representation of our clinical practice? Can this exercise in just reading help us review what we think matters and how we like to present our work
- Rethinking Oedipus: if not Oedipus, then what?
In the course of the case study Freud works with concepts of bisexuality and the Oedipus complex, which, in the light of what he learns of the girl’s early relationship with her mother, he has to revisein terms of Oedipal asymmetry – with all its implications for any woman’s sexuality. We need to revisit both the earlier ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’ (1905) and the later ‘Female Sexuality’ (1931) to explore this further.If ‘The Psychogenesis …’ fails to help us understand the origins of homosexuality, and female homosexuality (Freud’s term) here requires Freud to rethink Oedipus, a question that follows is, can we think about how human beings become sexed/ sexual without some such structural principle?How do you prefer to understand such questions ofsubjectivity, identification and desire? Ann D’Ercole’s reading of the case, ‘Designing the Lesbian Subject: Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards’ (1999) will help us think about a – not unproblematic— alternative.Or, to put the question more pointedly, how can we release ‘female homosexuality’ from its association with masculinity?And how does our clinical practice help us think about these questions?
- From ‘Homosexuality’ to ‘motherhood’ …
Freud’s ideas apparently travel from the first word in the case study, ‘Homosexuality’ to the last, ‘motherhood’: or do we need to read his account backwards, to help reveal something of the models of the feminine and of gender with which he works and struggles. To help us trace this, it’s time to turn elsewhere, as well as to turn again to the case study: again to his ‘Three Essays on the Theory of
Sexuality’ (1905), and also to his first case study, Dora’s case. The seminar begins with a focus on the meaning of the dreams in both cases and on two scenes: Dora’s silent gazing on the Sistine Madonna in the Dresden Gallery and Freud’s analogy of his ‘homosexual’ patient’s lack of interest in his theorising as being like a ‘grande dame’’s indifference to objects in a museum she has been taken to visit; ‘how very interesting’. These focuses help us explore how ‘Homosexuality’, ‘motherhood’ and the ‘feminine’ are framed; as will some pages from Deborah Levy, Real Estate, on dreams, desires and missing or rewritten desires.
There may be additions or alterations nearer the time of the seminars (though with plenty of notice), and some reading may be added in the light of what emerges in seminar discussion.
Freud, ‘The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman’ (1920), S.E. vol. 18, pp. 147-172; available on PEP
Freud, ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’ (1905), S.E. vol. 7, 123-246; available on PEP
Freud, ‘Female Sexuality’ (1931), S.E. vol. 21, pp.221-244; available on PEP
d’Ercole, Ann, ‘Designing the Lesbian Subject: Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards’, in R.C. Lesser and E. Schoenberg (eds), That Obscure Object of Desire: Freud’s Female Homosexual Revisited (Routledge, 1999), pp. 115-129 (scan available)
Worthington, Anne (2011) Female homosexuality:
psychoanalysis and queer theory. PhD thesis, Middlesex University [Thesis], especially chapter 1 https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/7222/1/Worthington_PhD.pdf
Freud, ‘Three Essays …’
Freud, ‘Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria’, S. E. vol. 7, pp. 7-111 http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=se.007.0001a
Levy, D., Real Estate, chapter 2
For those of you wanting to read further:
Butler, J., Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1990)
De Lauretis, T., ‘Letter to an Unknown Woman’, in
R.C. Lesser and E. Schoenberg (eds), That Obscure Object of Desire: Freud’s Female Homosexual Revisited (Routledge, 1999), pp.37-53
Forrester, J., Thinking in Cases (Polity, 2017) Harris, A., ‘Gender as Contradiction’, in R.C. Lesser and E. Schoenberg (eds), That Obscure Object of Desire: Freud’s Female Homosexual Revisited (Routledge, 1999), pp. 156-179
O’Connor N. and Ryan, J., Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities: Lesbianism and Psychoanalysis (Virago, 1993)
Stoller, R., Splitting: A Case of Female Masculinity (Quadrangle/NewYork Times Book Co, 1973) Stoller, R., ‘Patients responses to their own case reports’, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 36 (1988), 371-391
December 1, 8
Eric Harper Developing a Practice (Details to follow)
12, 19, 26 Jan, 2 & 9 Feb
Contemporary Psychoanalysis: a masquerade or critical engagement?
Are we dressing up old concepts in new words or claiming what is already out there in an analytic voice and therefore claiming it has credibility? And when we think of critical engagement, what are we engaging with? What is the critique and where is the need for a critique coming from?
Theory led or practice led?
What is the unconscious and does our conception of it influence how we listen to client?
A short introduction to psychoanalysis by Civitarese and Ferro.
In groups or 2 or 3 please create a 10 to 15 min presentation on what you think the unconscious looks like. Creativity is invited and welcomed. You could do a montage, picture, create a video, play music, do a drama performance. You could use an existing theorists or come up with your own version.
What questions might a contemporary perspective of the analytic frame include.
Please look at any of the chapters from Moguillansky and Levine book called Psychoanalysis of the psychoanalytic Frame revisited; A new look at Jose Blegers classic work.
If you don’t want to purchase the book I can lend you mine to scan. I will also send you additional optional reading.
Is it still useful to make a distinction between pure and applied psychoanalysis?
Pure psychoanalysis, applied psychoanalysis and psychtherapy by JA Miller
Task: Three to four presentations from the group, highlighting situations where psychoanalysis has been applied.
In search of intersectionality, the shadow of psychoanalysis.
Reading: In the wake: On Blackness and Being. Christina Sharpe.
Task: please watch moonlight before the lecture. We will look at the film from a psychoanalytic and intersectional perspective. The question to consider is the need to include intersectionality in our thinking and practice and why psychoanalysis has avoided this engagement.
A topic of your choice, or if you don’t want to come up with one we will think about the non anthropomorphic Freud.
16 & 23 Feb
“The Sublime in Everyday Life: Psychoanalytic and Aesthetic Perspectives”
Notions of the sublime are most often associated with the extraordinary, and include the intrapsychic, high-cultural, and exceptional occurrences of elation and exaltation as part of its experience.
In this series of seminars, I will use ordinary encounters and case presentations in order to make a plea that the existing philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives on the sublime acknowledge their rootedness in the same world that we all engage in our everyday lives. For all their theoretical and clinical refinements, the various philosophical and psychoanalytic explanations of the sublime remain an expression of, and hence must be guided by, the world of our common human experience.
I will begin by turning to the emergence and development of the notion of the sublime in philosophy and psychoanalysis in order to show how we can take up this legacy and transform it in a manner that could endow us with a particular power and relevance for the personal, interpersonal, therapeutic, cultural and political questions that confront us in the 21st century. By proposing a more ‘grounding’, ‘ordinary’ way of speaking and thinking about the sublime, I hope that we will be able to reinvigorate the sensuous and mysterious ways we experience our everyday encounters with the world, therapy, and each other.
This lecture will be an opportunity to substantiate the existing psychoanalytic and aesthetic, theoretical and clinical knowledge of the sublime by placing it within the context of everyday life using examples of it in art, film, theatre, literature as well as in work, education, relationships, and the clinic.
The main resource for this series of seminars will be my co-edited book Gaitanidis, A. and Curk, P. (2021) The Sublime in Everyday Life: Psychoanalytic and Aesthetic Perspectives. London: Routledge. The seminar titles correspond to specific chapters in this book. I recommend that trainees carefully read each chapter and then select relevant references from the extended reading list, if they want to expand their knowledge on a specific aspect/argument in the chapter.
Seminar 1: Introduction to the Philosophical/Aesthetic Theories of the Sublime
Adorno, T. W. (1997) Aesthetic Theory. Trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor. London: The Athlone Press.
Burke, E. (1990) A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. Ed. Adam Phillips. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Eagleton, T. (1990) The Ideology of the Aesthetic. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kant, I. (1914) The Critique of Judgement. Trans. J. H. Bernard. London: Macmillan.
Lyotard, J-F. (1994) Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime. Trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Seminar 2: Wisdom Through Desire: When Truth Meets Love as a Sublime Event
Adorno, T.W. (1939). “On Kierkegaard’s Doctrine of Love”. Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung / Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 413–429.
Berger, J. (1984). And our Faces, my Heart, Brief as Photos. London: Bloomsbury, 2005.
Carson, A. (1998). Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Fairbairn, W.R.D. (1944). ‘Endopsychic Structure Considered in Terms of Object-Relationships’. In Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality. London: Kegan Paul, 1952, pp. 82–132.
Freud, S. (1920). “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XVIII. London: Hogarth Press.
Goytisolo, J. (2003). The Blind Rider. Trans. Peter Bush. London: Serpent’s Tail, 2005.
Heidegger, M (1954). “Who is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?” Trans. Bernd Magnus. The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 411–431, 1967.
Kierkegaard, S. (1847). Kierkegaard’s Writings, XVI: Works of Love. Ed. Hong Howard V. and Hong Edna H. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017.
Maier-Katkin, D. (2010). Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Marquez, G. C. (1994). Of Love and Other Demons. Trans. Edith Grossman. London: Penguin Books, 1996.
Mitchell, S. A. (2003). Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Nelson, M. (2009). Bluets. London: Jonathan Cape.
Ogden, T. H. (2012). Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works. London and New York, NY: Routledge.
Plato (1989). The Symposium. Greek text with trans. by Tom Griffith. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press,
Pound, E. (1913). “In a Station of the Metro”. In Selected Poems. Ed. T.S. Eliot. London: Faber and Faber, 1928, p. 113.
Tennyson, A. L. (1842). The Lady of Shalott. London: Lulu, 2011.
Wittgenstein, L. (1977). Remarks on Colour. Ed. G. E. M Anscombe and Trans. Linda Schättle. Oxford: Blackwell.
2, 9, 16 Mar
More details to follow
22 & 23 April
With: Dorothee Bonnigal-Katz, Kate Gilbert, Francesca Joseph, Angela Kreeger, Peter Nevins, Adam Phillips, Barry Watt
“What is it I think I am doing when I’m doing psychoanalysis?”
For this year’s Training Weekend, we are inviting experienced psychoanalysts, representing a range of different approaches, to speak about their work.
The conversations will focus around different questions, including:
- How do you approach the beginning of the work?
- Is there a role for diagnosis in your approach?
- Is there a goal or aim to the analysis?
- Is there a ‘direction of the treatment’?
- Is there any kind of ‘technique’ at play?
- What defines a psychoanalytic approach?
- How do you hold in mind theory when you are listening to a patient?
- Which psychoanalytic concepts, texts or theorists do you most frequently find yourself drawing on in your work?
- How does the setting you work in inform the way you work?
The Site Training Weekend brings together both the Thursday and Saturday training groups. Each day will run from 10.00 – 16.30 at the HCC building in Finsbury Park.
No reading necessary, bring your questions!
27 Apr, 4, 11, 18 & 25 May
We will be looking at the life and work of Sandor Ferenczi. The Hungarian Psychoanalyst was a close intimate of Freud but later became estranged from Freud as his ideas diverged from those of Freud. His work and he himself were dismissed for many years despite his influence on Klein, Winnicott, the Balints and others. There was a revival of his ideas in the 70s and his significant contribution to a more inclusive psychoanalysis will inform our discussion
Week 1 – 27th April
Martin Stanton: Sandor Ferenczi: Reconsidering Active Intervention, chapters1, 2 and 3, free association books, London, 1990 ISBN 1-85343-137-0
Week 2 – 4th May
The clinical diary of Sandor Ferenczi: edited by Judith Dupont: 7th January – 24th February pg 1-45 Harvard University Press 1995: ISBN 0-674-13526-x
Week 3 – 11th May
The clinical diary of Sandor Ferenczi: 3rd March -5th May pg 46 – 100
Week 4 – 18th May
The clinical diary of Sandor Ferenczi: 8th May – 6th July pg 100 – 157
Week 5 – 25th May
The clinical diary of Sandor Ferenczi: 7th July – 2nd oct pg 157 – 214
8, 15, 22 & 29 June & 6 July
Creativity and its Origins, Lying Fallow, and Negative Capabilities: Donald Winnicott, Masud Khan, Marion Milner, Adam Phillips
We will be discussing what might be meant by creativity in the consulting room. In relation to this we’ll consider Winnicott, Marion Milner, Masud Khan, and your responses to Adam Phillips’s essay, Negative Capabilities, in which he relates Keats’s concept of negative capability to psychoanalysis.
The key material is listed below, any more will be sent in the New Year as will a week by week outline.
- Winnicott: Creativity and its Origins / Playing and Reality / Collected Papers /Mind and its Relation to the Psyche-Soma 1949
- Adam Phillips: Negative Capabilities / On Balance 2011
- Masud Khan: On Lying Fallow / Hidden Selves 1983
- The Florida Project 2017 movie directed by Sean Baker
- Please familiarise yourselves with Marion Milner’s On Not Being Able to Paint, and Winnicott’s concept of the state of integration by finding an essay you enjoy or that has meaning for you in relation to this, in either Winnicott’s Playing and Reality or The Maturation Processes and The Facilitating Environment.