Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy NOW 2017 Programme

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The Inner World and Rebuilding the State We're In
Developing a psychoanalytic discourse that can contribute to the renewal of our democracy in challenging times

Hosted by The British Psychoanalytic Council
In Association with The Institute of Psychoanalysis

For the PP NOW 2017 Award Winners, please click here

For the PP NOW Film Footage, please click here


Full programme of the event can be seen below:

Friday Evening: 3 November 2017, *SOLD OUT*
Imperial College London
Professor Jessica Benjamin

Internationally renowned American psychoanalyst, author, feminist, and political activist.
Developing a Democratic Psychology: The Ethos of “More than One can Live” versus the Social Imaginary of “ Only One can Live”

Jessica Benjamin addresses the intersection of Politics and Psyche in a period of political struggle between those who follow and those who challenge the unconscious presumption that individual survival depends on ruthless accumulation. Benjamin argues that at the core of much current political debate is a tension between acknowledgment and denial of harming, historically and in the present. Her theme is that psychotherapeutic experience with acknowledgment is relevant to overcoming the rationalization of harming as one group or nation to survive at the expense of another and facing our responsibilities to the earth and to one another.

Gabrielle Rifkind
Political entrepreneur, senior consultant to the Middle East programme at the Oxford Research Group, group analyst, psychotherapist, and a specialist in conflict resolution

A Traumatic Psychology of War 
A more democratic psychology not driven by the neo liberal spirit  would  encourage a more benign collaborative engagement in our communities.  But this may be  only possible in more stable societies  .  A democratic psychology may be an essential part of  encouraging people to live side by side , creating a spirit of tolerance which can help prevent wars. But when human behaviour is broken because of the horrors of war we may also need a  psychology that understands the trauma of conflict and how this affects our ability to make peace. Psychoanalytic insight may have much to contribute here and we may need both a democratic psychology of peace and trauma psychology of war .

Chaired by Helen Morgan, BPC Chair

Jessica Benjamin is a supervising faculty member of the New York University Postdoctoral Psychology program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies where she is a founder and board member.  She has been part of the relational psychoanalytic movement from its inception, and is known for her integration of clinical psychoanalytic and development theory with social thought, particularly feminist theory. She is the author of  The Bonds of Love (1988); Like Subjects, Love Objects (1995); and Shadow of the Other (1998).  Her new book  Beyond Doer and done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third has just been published by Routledge.  From 2004-2010 she initiated and directed  “The Acknowledgement Project” together with Dr. Eyad el Sarraj of Gaza involving Israeli and Palestinian mental health practitioners and international dialogue leaders.  She participated in editing and narrating the video film (  on the Israeli-Palestinian Combatants for Peace, an organization committed to opposing the Occupation and creating cooperation non-violently to establish conditions for peace. Her article on Eyad Sarraj’s ideas, “Non-Violence as the recognition of all suffering”  appeared in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society last year.  In 2015 she was awarded the Hans Kilian prize for meta-humanistic studies in Bochum, Germany.

Gabrielle Rifkind is the Director of the Oxford Process, which leads on preventive diplomacy work and high-level mediation. She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution. Gabrielle combines in-depth political and psychological expertise with many years’ experience in promoting serious analysis and dialogue. As a political entrepreneur, she has a deep understanding of human behaviour and motivation. Gabrielle is co-author with Gianni Picco, of Fog of Peace: How to Prevent War (I.B. Tauris, 2016).
Gabrielle has facilitated a number of Track II roundtables in the Middle East on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Iran, and is currently working on Syria. Committed to trying to understand the mind-set of the Middle East, she has both created meetings and spent time talking to the leadership in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Israel.


Saturday Full Day Conference: 4 November 2017, *SOLD OUT *
Imperial College London 

Around the world, we are witnessing the rise of the cult of the ‘strong leader’, with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdoğan and others appearing to espouse disdain for liberal democratic institutions, diversity of opinion, culture and people.

The UK witnessed the denigration of experts in the Brexit debate. Public sector professionals and academics were undermined by a political discourse looking to silence alternative views. Politics and civic society feels more confrontational, less understanding and less inclusive, with the expression of racist and sexist views seemingly legitimised on both sides of the Atlantic.

PP Now 2017 will explore how psychoanalytic thinking can support policy makers to maintain the health of our democratic institutions, help develop services that respond effectively to real need, and push back against the rise of the authoritarian state.

The conference will bring psychoanalysts and psychotherapists together with policy makers and academics to consider these contemporary psychosocial issues, exploring the significance of understanding relationships and our inner worlds to build a more inclusive and fulfilling society.

Free Associations? Psychoanalytic History, Democracy, and the State we are In
Professor Daniel Pick, Keynote Speaker

Chaired by Jan McGregor Hepburn

AM Breakout Sessions:

The Inner World of Children and Young People, in association with ACP
How do we support their mental health in the midst of complex current events
Tam Baillie & Katie Argent
Chaired by Julia Mikardo

How can the Psychoanalytic Professions and Criminal Justice services Collaborate?
Michael Spurr

Chaired by Nick Benefield

Europe's Identity Post Brexit in partnership with the EFPP
Anne-Marie Schlosser, Catherine Fieschi & Lene Auestad

Chaired by Julian Lousada

How Is Class Relevant?
Lynsey Hanley & Joanna Ryan
Chaired by Gary Fereday

Contemporary Developments in Sexuality and Gender and their Impact on the Consulting Room
David Richards & Noreen Giffney

Chaired by Juliet Newbigin

Afternoon Plenary:
Women on the Verge of a Post-Liberal World
Jessica Benjamin, Susie Orbach and Gail Lewis
Chaired by Susanna Abse

By its very name populism cannot be thought about as simply a problem of patriarchy, but what draws women towards right wing and anti-feminist ideologies?  53% of white women voted for Trump and nearly half of those who voted for Brexit were women.  Are women inclined to vote against their own interests and if so, what is it about women’s psychology that leads to this state of affairs?  This plenary will examine the phenomenon of “internalised misogyny” alongside racism and xenophobia and explore what role a feminist perspective has in understanding the current shift away from a liberal politics.

Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, writer, activist and social critic. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre, London in 1976. Her first book, Fat is a Feminist Issue has been continuously in print since 1978. Her most recent In Therapy is based on the Radio 4 series of the same name heard by 3 million listeners. She lectures widely in the UK, Europe, NZ and North America, has provided consultation and social policy advice for organisations from the Government and the NHS to the World Bank. She was a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a Guardian columnist, both for 10 years and continues to work with many individuals and couples from her practice in London. She is a member of The Balint Consultancy.

Susanna Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and organisational consultant. Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has worked in private practice with couples, parents and individuals since 1991. She was CEO of the charity Tavistock Relationships from 2006 until 2016 and now also works as an Executive Coach and Organisational Consultant. She is an accredited member of the British Psychoanalytic Council and serves as a member of its Executive Board. Previously, she was a member of the Department of Health’s Action for Choice in Therapy Committee, sitting as an expert advisor on many research and governmental advisory groups; most recently, the NSPCC’s project to develop an early intervention for families at risk of domestic violence. She has published widely on couple therapy, parenting, post separation conflict and family policy and how these areas need to be at the heart of progressive welfare provision, a subject on which she lectures and teaches. Her publications include writings for the New Statesman and for the Open Society European Policy Institute.

Gail Lewis is an academic in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, where until recently she was head of department, and a psychotherapist. She has worked at the Open University and Lancaster University. Her political subjectivity was formed in the intensities of black feminist and anti-racist struggle and through a socialist, anti-imperialist lens. Among her current concerns is how to bring psychoanalytic and sociological understandings of subjectivity into creative dialogue in the interests of generating 'practice against the grain'.  She was a member of the Brixton Black Women's Group and one of the founder members of the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent. She has written on feminism, intersectionality, the welfare state, and racialised-gendered experience. She is an Arsenal fan.

PM Breakout Sessions:

Our Mental Health and the way we Live Now
Carey Oppenheim & Karen Newbigging
Chaired by Susanna Abse

Political Engagement
Andrew Samuels, Lene Auestad
haired by Alan Colam

Social Work
John Simmonds & Sharon Shoesmith
Chaired by Andrew Cooper

Climate Change: The Need for a New Narrative
Paul Hoggett & Nick Crane
Chaired by Sally Weintrobe

Fakhry Davids & Pragna Patel
Chaired by Maxine Dennis

Concluding Conference Plenary

PP NOW 2017 Awards

For full details of all Breakout Sessions - please follow this link.

Exhibitors included: The Institute of Group Analysis (IGA)
                                Tavistock Relationships
                                Scottish Association of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapists (SAPP)
                                British Psychotherapy Foundation (BPF)
                                The Institute of Psychoanalysis
                                WPF Therapy
                                The Tavistock and Portman
                                The West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy (WMIP)
                                KARNAC Books
                                Psychotherapy Excellence

PP NOW always proves to be a stimulating and popular conference and the highlight of the BPC events calendar.