Why Knowing About The Brain Can Help You…

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Organised by:

The British Psychotherapy Foundation

31 January 2024 - 21 January 2024

Time: 19:30 - 20:30

Price: Free

Location: online


Clearly, our minds are powerfully shaped by the minds who we land with during our first 1000 days. We know this as therapists and, now excitingly, the neuroscience is backing up this fundamental tenet of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Modern Neuroscience and Psychology are increasingly supporting the Freudian assertion that huge amounts of what happens in our brain is unconscious eg. Kahneman’s findings on thinking fast and slow, the findings on vision showing just 10% of inputs from our visual cortex are used in constructing what we ‘see’, or Libet’s experiments on free will showing how our conscious mind is half a second behind the command to our motor cortex to move our hand.

What about the way the mind is in continual feedback with other minds in its environment as an adult? How does this come about at a biochemical level? The new field of affective neuroscience has plenty to say about what is actually happening in our brain when we listen to a patient and why does how we listen and what we say in response change them for the better.

In 1898, Freud wrote in a frenzy of creativity his dense, early paper, Two Principles of Mental Functioning. He later rejected it as lacking relevance to the elaborate metapsychology of his later years but what this paper of Freud’s attempts is to link up what happens in the brain with how the person experiences their own mind. Freud did not live in an age which supported the technology to answer these questions. Now we do. Would we be Freudians in the real sense of the word if we choose not to know?

This webinar explores all this and more by presenting the key findings from the now 20-year old integrative discipline of Neuropsychoanalysis. Divided into three parts, Part 1 is a whistle-stop tour of how and where emotions are generated in the brain (derived from Jaak Panksaap’s 7 Affective Systems). Part 2 looks at neurotransmitters in more detail, especially as they pertain to drug and alcohol use and the effect of traumatic attachment on brain development. Part 3 describes the rich perspective on clinical encounters that Neurospsychoanalysis offers and how to use its fascinating findings in the consulting room.

About the speaker

Annie Pesskin qualified with the BPF in 2014 and has worked in private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in Oxford and London since then. She has had a long-standing interest in Neuropsychoanalysis since she attended the Rome Congress on The Right Hemisphere in 2004 and has taught the topic to the BPF’s Psychotherapy Today course for many years. Since 2017, she has worked as a reflective practitioner for Oxford Health NHS in Forensic Services. In 2022, she became Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Forensic Psychotherapy. She has edited psychoanalytic works by Hanna Segal, Jean Arundale and Marcus Evans and in 2023, she published her own book, The Kids Are Crying Again: Emergency Communication Skills for Parents and Partners (Amazon, 2023).

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