Forgiveness in Mental Health

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Organised by:

Tavistock Relationships

17 May 2024

Time: 15:00 - 17:30

Price: £80.00 (£68 Trainee/NHS)

Location: online


Forgiveness in Mental Health: Forgiving and Being Forgiven

With Francis Grier & Aleksandra Novakovic

This workshop is inspired by the recently published book Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health co-edited by Aleksandra Novakovic and Ron Britton. Our speakers include Aleksandra Novakovic and contributor Francis Grier. The focus for this event will be the importance of forgiveness in mental life as well as in couple relationships. Our speakers will offer analytic understandings of the challenges in forgiving and the developmental processes of being able to forgive. Weaving in music from The Marriage of Figaro and Mozart’s Don Giovanni in to their presentations Francis and Aleksandra will offer a visceral and intellectual discussion on the impact of forgiveness.

“The experience of anyone practicing psychotherapy or psychoanalysis is that mental health is seriously affected by feeling unforgiven or being unable to forgive if the people involved are close and important figures in their life. In everyday life in marriage, work, or love, forgiveness is part of the daily traffic of our relationships, if we find that relatively easy we are fortunate. For some it is fraught in general and for some others the particular issues concerned may be very large or emotionally disturbing. To forgive is natural but like many things that are natural, such as childbirth, it can be difficult and it can go wrong.

What the practice of analysis demonstrates is that feeling forgiven and being forgiving is crucial in mental life. Yet little seems to have been written in the analytic literature specifically on forgiveness and how it relates to familiar psychoanalytic concepts such as guilt, reparation, mourning, obsessional-compulsive disorder, or depression.” (Britton, R. & Novakovic, A. (2024). Introduction. In: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health. London: Routledge.)

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