Françoise Dolto and the Other French School Conference

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Organised by:

University College London

14 October 2023

Time: 10:30 - 16:30

Price: £80 Standard online only via livestream ticket | £50 Concession online only via livestream ticket (Trainees, Students and UCL Staff/Alumni)

Location: online


*Image Copyright: Françoise Dolto, Paris, 1985 © Alécio de Andrade, ADAGP Paris, 2023

The French newspaper Le Monde announced the death of Françoise Dolto in August 1988 with an article that began: “She was France’s favourite granny, the only psychoanalyst whose language was accessible to everyone, the ‘wise granny’ everyone dreamt of.” The millions who listened to her two years of weekly broadcast on national radio and watched the special issue about her of the prestigious television show Apostrophe, felt guided by her as parents. Yet Dolto is curiously unknown in the English-speaking world and ignored by the IPA-affiliated French psychoanalytic schools. In this conference, we aim to reveal her rich conceptual developments and their multiple clinical implications, which may provide many missing links between our psychoanalytic concepts as they currently stand and help participants with the complexity of their daily practice.

About Françoise Dolto
Starting to work analytically as a Paediatrician in 1937, Dolto belongs to the second generation of French analysts, and like Winnicott, worked intensively in Paediatric liaison. From the beginning of her career, she linked psychoanalytic theory with her own ideas about the body, its functioning and its psychic representations. Her book The Unconscious Body Image espouses a completely original view of the links between physical and psychic development, providing fresh insight into our understanding of psychosomatic symptoms and child development. Using numerous case studies drawn from her decades of work with children and parents, Dolto shows both how parent-child interactions impact on the development of the unconscious body image, which forms the basis of the elaboration of thought and influences the functioning of the real body. She shows how the mind develops in relation to unconscious body images generated at each stage of development (oral, anal, genital, latency and puberty), and details how psychic castration at each developmental stage influences the child’s socialisation, thereby filling a significant gap in psychoanalytic understanding of the mental integration of social law.

Main Speakers
Françoise Dolto: The missing link between Lacan and Object Relations
Sharmini Bailly (British Psychotherapy Foundation and Essex Partnership University Trust, UK)

Bodily functioning and psychosomatics in the work of Françoise Dolto
Catalina Bronstein (British Psychoanalytical Society and University College London, UK)

Françoise Dolto and the social place of psychoanalysis
Catherine Dolto (Françoise Dolto Archives, France)

Dolto and Winnicott: where they meet
Angela Joyce (British Psychoanalytical Society, UK)

Liz Allison (British Psychoanalytical Society, University College London, UK)

Lionel Bailly (British Psychoanalytical Society, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, University College London, UK)

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