Scholars’ Network: Spotlight

Dr Noreen Giffney, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, psychosocial theorist & lecturer

Dr Noreen Giffney is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and a psychosocial theorist living in County Donegal in Ireland. She is also a lecturer and a researcher at Ulster University, Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Her work concentrates on Kleinian psychoanalysis; the writings of Wilfred Bion; our emotional and unconscious encounters with cultural objects and their long-term effects on our lives; and the impact of psychosocial factors on the transference-countertransference dynamic.

Since publishing Clinical Encounters in Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory (ed. with Dr Eve Watson, Punctum Books 2017), Noreen has gone on to write a book entitled The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis: Cultural Experiences and the Clinic (Routledge 2021). The book appears in the ‘Psychoanalysis and Popular Culture’ book series, edited by BPC Scholars, Prof Caroline Bainbridge and Prof Candida Yates. The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis focuses on the formative and enduring influences of our encounters with cultural objects (film, music, art, literature) on our psyche – inside and outside the clinic. She spoke with the psychoanalyst, Dr Philip Lance (Los Angeles), about the book for the ‘New Books in Psychoanalysis’ podcast in 2021, and wrote a brief piece entitled ‘The Culture-Breast: A New Clinical Concept’ for the BPC’s New Associations magazine (2021).

Noreen is privileged to work with colleagues (including BPC Scholars, Helen Morgan, Dr Nini Fang and Dr Debbie Wright) on the editorial board of New Associations, commissioning and editing essays for the magazine. She has also collaborated with BPC Scholar, Prof Lynn Froggett, and colleagues in Australia, Prof Jill Bennett and Dr Gail Kenning, on thinking about how psychoanalysis might facilitate us reflecting on immersive and absorbing sensory experiences offered by virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. She and Lynn published a chapter about their work on culture, psychoanalysis, and experiential methodologies entitled ‘Knowing from the Inside’ in Jill Bennett, ed. The Big Anxiety: Taking Care of Mental Health in Times of Crisis (Bloomsbury 2022). Noreen has, more recently, been writing a chapter entitled ‘A New Case Study Pedagogy for Teaching Psychoanalytic Theory’, which will be published shortly in Prof Stephen Frosh, BPC Scholar Dr Marita Vyrgioti, and Dr Julie Walsh, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies. Work in psychosocial studies explores the inter-relation between the emotional and unconscious aspects of experience together with the social and cultural contexts in which we live and make our lives. Many people in the field are dual trained as practitioners and academics.

She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychosocial Studies, alongside BPC Scholars, Prof Lynn Froggett, Dr Nini Fang, Dr Lita Crociani-Windland, Dr Jacob Johanssen, Dr David Jones, Dr Lucinda Stroud, and Prof Candida Yates. Noreen is always interested in hearing from people would like to discuss potential collaborations on publications and events: n.giffney@ulster.ac.uk.

As part of our spotlight, we’ve uploaded Noreen’s lecture from PPNow 2022 which was sponsored by the Scholars’ Network. Watch her lecture below on: ‘Grappling with Uncertainty: Thoughts and Thinking about Sexuality and Gender in the Consulting Room’.

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