Forest of Fantasy with Conor McCormack

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08 July 2023

Time: 10:00 - 11:30

Price: General Admission £30

Location: online


This event will be delivered via Zoom and will not be recorded due to the confidential nature of the clinical material.

The notion of Fantasy is key to psychoanalysis. It is used in multiple ways – as a protective shield to block out trauma, a map to help navigate relationships, a formula for desire. The invention of psychoanalysis coincides with Freud’s abandonment of his ‘seduction theory’. When Freud relinquishes the belief that neurotic symptoms are necessarily caused by real events, he opens a space for the theory of the unconscious – structured around the Greek tragedy of Oedipus. Henceforth, growing up in the nexus of unfathomable desire we call ‘a family’ will be seen as cause enough for psychological disturbance.

Are you interested in understanding more about fantasy in psychoanalysis?
Are you working with clients who are suffering from anxiety?
What is fantasy and what is reality?

In the paradoxical domain of the unconscious, fantasy and reality are not opposed – fantasy is part of reality – and can determine life as much as any ‘real’ event.

This talk will be a ramble through what Jacques Lacan called ‘the forest of fantasy’ – the off-beat terrain of psychoanalysis, where fantasy and reality can never be fully unravelled.

Fantasy is not so much a question of what I want and why I want it – but an attempt to answer the question of what others might want from me. The talk will explore identity formation in the light of Lacanian ideas of fantasy.


This lecture will give you:

  • An overview of the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy, taking a trajectory from Freud to Lacan.
  • An exploration of the clinical approach to fantasy.
  • An understanding of when fantasy breaks down – so can reality, and how to deal with fantasy’s relation to anxiety and enjoyment.


Following a trajectory from Freud to Lacan, this will be a talk about the elegantly theorised psychoanalytic concept of fantasy – always of great clinical relevance. The speaker will use a visual presentation and clinical examples to elaborate a Lacanian approach to working with fantasy.

Conor McCormack is a Bristol based Lacanian psychoanalyst in full-time private practice. He is a member of The College of Psychoanalysts and The Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research. Conor has extensive experience working as a psychotherapist in the NHS and gives regular lectures in a number of psychoanalytic and psychotherapy training institutions.

Target Audience
This event should be interesting and accessible for anyone interested in the topic, including qualified counsellors and psychotherapists and the general public. This event is open to all.

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