Working in the Dark: Don Campbell and Rob Hale on suicide

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Organised by:

British Psychoanalytical Society (incorporating the Institute of Psychoanalysis)

04 February 2023

Time: 10:00

Price: In Person Standard £50.00 | In Person Concession £35.00 | Online Only £30.00


Hybrid event In Person at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and Online via Zoom
Byron House
112A Shirland Road
United Kingdom
W9 2BT

Map of address


The act of suicide is one that can seem so unfathomable to us that we may attempt to understand it through a variety of assumptions: that suicide is part of a depressive state, or a cry for help; suicide is means of manipulating others, or perhaps a solitary or solipsistic act in which the person rationally decides to take leave of life.

In their seminal book Working in the Dark, Rob Hale and Don Campbell state: “Although such acts may occur, they are, in our experience, extremely rare. Each of these assumptions is only partly true and, if taken as the whole truth, is misleading because they fail to recognise the complexity of the act and the centrality of the violence inherent in the suicidal act”

In the fourth and final conference in our series on Suicide, the Institute of Psychoanalysis is pleased that Don Campbell and Rob Hale will be in discussion with Rachel Gibbons about their complex understanding of suicide and pre-suicidal states of mind based on experience garnered over half a century of combined clinical experience.

Don Campbell is a training and supervising analyst, Distinguished Fellow, past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society, and former Secretary General of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He also served as Chair of the Portman Clinic in London where he worked in outpatient psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a child, adolescent and adult analyst for 30 years with violent and delinquent individuals and patients suffering from a perversion.

Rob Hale, After training in psychiatry at UCH and St Mary’s, where he held a research post he worked at the Portman Clinic since 1980. Rob spent 5 years at the Tavistock Clinic where he started the Mednet service for doctors in need of psychological help. At the Portman his interest has been in paedophilic individuals and in forensic institutions. Rob has been involved in long term consultations with twelve High and Medium Security hospitals. This work continues.

Dr Rachel Gibbons has worked in the NHS over the past 20 years in various psychiatric settings as a consultant psychiatrist and consultant medical psychotherapist. She has recently been working as the Director of Therapies for the Priory Group. She is a psychoanalyst and group analyst and current Chair of the Patient Safety Group the Working Group on the Effect of Suicide and Homicide on Psychiatrists and Vice-Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She has been working on suicide over the last 14 years.

Gearóid Fitzgerald is a Psychoanalyst in private practice, previously a Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy in Leeds.

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