Welcome to the first edition of our Scholar’s Newsletter, dated December 2019.
If you have any questions or are interested in creating content, please email the Editors, Theodora Thomadaki (University of Roehamption) or Jacob Johanssen (St Mary's University).
We are very happy to welcome the launch of The Scholar's Study - The BPC Scholars Newsletter. The aim of the BPC Scholars newsletter is to inform about publications, events, or other news in relation to the scholars and more widely to psychoanalysis beyond the clinic. The newsletter should facilitate a home and community for the scholars where we can all share ideas, get to know each other, and learn about events, or other activities. In the future, the newsletter will also launch a blog where scholars can write short pieces which will be included in the newsletter. The blog will be called The Scholar’s Writing Pad. The blog is a space to publish short commissioned pieces, or commentaries that you as the BPC Scholars could send to us.
It is envisioned that the newsletter will be published every two months to begin with. It is shaped by the contributions of the Scholars and therefore, we as the editors encourage you to send us content that you wish to include and share with the fellow scholars. Content material could include items such as events, book reviews, art and culture exhibitions with a psychoanalytic twist and announcements that might be of interest to the Scholars community.
We look forward to welcoming you on 13 March 2020 for our next Scholars Event at the Freud Museum. This is where Scholars and clinicians can meet to network and exchange ideas.
Dr Theodora Thomadaki (University of Roehampton)
Dr Jacob Johanssen (St. Mary’s University)
Editors of BPC Scholars Newsletter
2) MEET THE COMMITTEE AND EDITORS
Brief Biographies and Recent “News and Notes” from the Scholars Committee.
Professor Caroline Bainbridge
Caroline Bainbridge is Professor of Culture and Psychoanalysis at Roehampton University, where she teaches on media and culture programmes. Her current research deals with popular media as psychological objects, and her latest publications explore this theme. She recently wrote on her experience of not being able to speak about Lars von Trier’s Melancholia for the British Journal of Psychotherapy, 35 (1). Her essay on the “girl-gang” state of mind in Celine Sciamma’s Girlhood appears in Agnieszka Piotrowska and Ben Tyrer (2019), Femininity and Psychoanalysis, and her article on the psychodynamics of binge-watching with reference to TV shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad is in Free Associations, 75. She has an essay on Sharon Horgan’s television comedy forthcoming in Deborah Jermyn et al. (2020), Love Across the Atlantic, and her analysis of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the success of the TV series, National Treasure, will be published in a special edition of Celebrity Studies in Spring, 2020. She is currently writing on Joker and, also, organising an international project on the psychic life of screen culture. Caroline’s books include The Cinema of Lars von Trier (2007), A Feminine Cinematics (2008), and the co-edited collections Television and Psychoanalysis (2013) and Media and the Inner World (2014). She edits the film section of The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and sits on the board of Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society. Between 2010-2017, she was Editor of Free Associations. Caroline collaborated extensively through numerous international partnerships with psychoanalytic organisations such as the British Institute of Psychoanalysis, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Mexican Institute of Psychoanalysis. She trained at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust as an organisational consultant, and she is an accredited coach in the Analytic-Network.
Professor Lesley Caldwell
Lesley Caldwell is Honorary Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit at University College London and a member of the British Psychoanalytic Association. Over the past two years Professor Caldwell has worked on adding 150 previously unpublished items to The Collected Works of Donald Winnicott (2016). These will be available as part of volume 12 of the on-line edition and will be freely available on the Oxford University Press website. They come from several archives that she and her colleagues had not accessed previously, with the largest number coming from that of Clifford Scott, held at the central archives in Ottawa. Linked with this work, which was wonderfully facilitated by Luisa Boada, a doctoral student at U.C.L, she has continued to research the area of analytic communication, originally basing the work on Winnicott’s 1963 paper on “Communicating and Not Communicating”. With considerable input from Chris Mawson, editor of The Complete Works of W.R. Bion, Professor Caldwell has also been exploring the links and overlaps between these two major British analysts, an initiative that grew out of the annual Regional Bion Symposium organised in Los Angeles by Joseph Aguayo and John Lundgren. She has been giving clinical seminars yearly in Beijing with Professor Dieter Burgin of Switzerland and coordinated a four-year lecture series there on the British Independents given by London analysts. The final three-day block will take place in April, 2020. Professor Caldwell continues to be committed both to university clinical links, extending them wherever possible, and to maintaining valuable connections with clinicians and academics throughout Europe.
Professor Brett Kahr
Brett Kahr serves as Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council. He has worked in the mental health profession for over forty years. Currently, he works full-time in independent practice with individuals and couples and holds several honorary posts including that of Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London, Trustee of Freud Museum London, and, also, Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, in recognition of his work in the field of media psychology. He has written or edited fourteen books and he has served as series editor for over fifty-five further titles.
During the autumn term of 2019, Professor Brett Kahr has published three new books: Bombs in the Consulting Room: Surviving Psychological Shrapnel – a clinical study of working with extremely difficult patients who threaten the safety of the working environment; Celebrity Mad: Why Otherwise Intelligent People Worship Fame – a psychoanalytical examination of popular culture; and On Practising Therapy at 1.45 A.M.: Adventures of a Clinician – an exploration of Kahr’s work as a media psychologist at the British Broadcasting Corporation and elsewhere. All three new books have been published by Routledge / Taylor and Francis Group.
Other recent publications this term include: “ ‘Slashing the Teddy Bear’s Tummy with a Carving Knife’: The Infanticidal Roots of Schizophrenia”, which appeared in the British Journal of Psychotherapy; “The First Mrs Winnicott and the Second Mrs Winnicott: Does Psychoanalysis Facilitate Healthy Marital Choice?”, published in Couple and Family Psychoanalysis; “Promiscuous Virgins and Celibate Whores: Traumatic Origins of the Erotic Tumour”, in the Journal of Psychological Therapies; “Penile Trauma and Genital Exhibitionism: From Castration Anxiety to Verbal Potency”, for The International Journal of Forensic Psychotherapy; and “John Bowlby and the Birth of Child Mental Health”, published in Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis.
He had the privilege of inaugurating the new course on “Understanding Psychotherapy: A Social History of the Mind” at Imperial College in the University of London with two lectures on the history of psychiatry and on the life and work of Sigmund Freud.
Dr. Poul Rohleder
Dr. Poul Rohleder is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and senior lecturer at the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex. He is a board member of the British Psychoanalytic Council, and part of the task group on sexual and gender diversity within psychoanalysis. He has a private practice in central London. His research interests are in sexuality, disability and mental health. He is currently leading on a research study, with colleagues at the University of Essex, entitled “Holding Hands: The Experiences of Shame, Pride and Protest among LGBT Relationship Partners”. He contributed a chapter on homophobia, heterosexuality and shame in the recently published book Gender and Sexuality Now: Moving Beyond Heteronormativity, edited by Leezah Hertzmann and Juliet Newbigin (published by Routledge, 2020). He also has recent publications on the sexual oppression of people with disabilities in the journals Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, and Psychoanalytic Dialogues. He sits on the editorial board of various journals, including British Journal of Psychotherapy, Psychology & Sexuality, Qualitative Research in Psychology, and Psychology & Health.
Professor Neil Vickers
Neil Vickers is Professor of English Literature and the Health Humanities at King’s College London where he also co-directs the College’s Centre for the Humanities and Health. Professor Vickers is currently writing a book (with Derek Bolton) entitled Shared Life and the Experience of Illness. It is about what major illness does to our connections with others and why it matters so much. He has a longstanding interest in psychoanalysis. Much of his recent work has been in the area of psychoanalytic psychosomatics.
Professor Candida Yates
Candida Yates is Professor of Culture and Communication at Bournemouth University, UK. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and group practitioner in Psychosocial Studies and its application to politics, culture and society and she has published widely in that field. Professor Yates is currently leading a Bournemouth University project that applies insights from group analysis to examine the feelings that emerge in community group settings in a post-Brexit landscape. She is also researching the psycho-cultural dynamics of emotion and political leadership. Professor Yates sits on the Executive Boards of the UK Association for Psychosocial Studies and the Association for Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society and is an Associate of the Freud Museum. She is a Director (with Professor Caroline Bainbridge) of the research network, Media and the Inner World (funded by the AHRC 2009-2013). Professor Yates works with psychoanalytic practitioners, scholars, media companies and broadcasters to create new understandings of emotion and affect in the public sphere which includes partnerships with the Freud Museum, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, The Institute of Group Analysis, The Faction Theatre, The Dart Centre, Swedish Television and The New York Times. Her publications include: Political Leadership and the Psycho-Cultural Imagination (forthcoming); The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity (2015); Media and the Inner World: Psycho-Cultural Approaches to Emotion, Media and Popular Culture (2014); Television and Psychoanalysis (2013); Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (2009); Culture and The Unconscious (2007); and Masculine Jealousy and Contemporary Cinema (2007). She is Co-Editor of the Routledge books series Psychoanalysis and Popular Culture, and a Contributing Editor on the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, an editorial group member of the BPC New Associations and Editorial Board member of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies.
David Jefford: BPC Membership Officer
I joined the BPC in March 2019 and was very happy to be appointed Membership Officer. My role at the BPC involves being the main point of contact between our Member Institutions, our registrants and our organisation. I will also be the main point of contact for the Scholars Network on all matters ranging from registration to events. I am very much looking forward to becoming a central part of the Scholars Network project, particularly as it is greatly in line with my own interests and my previous studies at Roehampton University where I studied Cultural Studies. Contact David.
Richard English: Communicatons Manager
The BPC is currently undergoing a brand and website redesign, which will transform the way we communicate with our audiences. We will launch our new website early Spring, which will incorporate exciting and relevant content, streamlined navigation, optimised for portable devices, more attractive and accessible design and a dedicated area for our Scholars. I am also managing the redesign of our e-newsletters, so please look out for the new designs! Contact Richard.
BPC Scholars Newsletter Editors: Theodora Thomadaki and Jacob Johanssen
Dr Theodora Thomadaki is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Roehampton, a Founder Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Theodora is an expert in reality TV, lifestyle media, makeover culture, post-feminism and psychoanalytic theory and teaches widely at the Media, Culture and Identity Programme. Theodora completed her BSc (Hons) in Psychology and PhD in Cultural studies at the University of Roehampton and received her MA in Psychoanalytic Studies (M16) training from the Tavistock Clinic. Drawing on the Tavistock method and her training in psychoanalytic infant observation, Theodora’s doctoral research is exploring the cultural impact of Gok Wan’s makeover series How To Look Good Naked. That work suggests that the specific makeover framework is a culturally constructive one that offers meaningful spaces of therapeutic potential for female participants because it facilitates the emotional exploration of the self in an a creative way, enabling the development of inner self-awareness in relation to the body and enriching notions of identity. Due to her postgraduate training under the Tavistock method, Theodora teaches widely in the Therapeutic Psychology programme at the Roehampton’s Department of Psychology and Social Science.
In 2017, Theodora’s case study research work How to Look Good Naked – A postfeminist opportunity, was shortlisted for the Psychology of Women Section Prize in recognition of ‘outstanding’ feminist work. Her paper: Gok Wan ‘on the couch’ is published in the journal of Free Associations Psychoanalysis and Culture, Media, Groups, Politics and her upcoming article on ‘Getting Naked with Gok Wan’: A psychoanalytic reading of How To Look Good Naked’s transformational narratives’ is due to be published in January 2020 by Clothing Cultures Journal (Intellect). Theodora is a member of the Fashion, Costume and Visual Culture (FCVC) Network and chair of the special interest group: ‘Celebrity Cultures, Transformation and Emotion’. In June 2019, she successfully run her first symposium on New Reflections on Fashioning Identities: Lifestyle, Emotions and Celebrity Culture with keynote speaker the multi-award-winning UK presenter and fashion expert Gok Wan which facilitates collaborations between academia and creative media, to signal how popular media and processes of cultural engagement enable audiences to reflect on the body, self, sexuality and identity.
Dr Jacob Johanssen is Senior Lecturer in Communications at St. Mary’s University in London. He is the author of Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture: Audiences, Social Media, and Big Data (2019, Routledge). Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture offers a comprehensive account of our contemporary media environment—digital culture and audiences in particular—by drawing on psychoanalysis and media studies frameworks. It provides an introduction to the psychoanalytic affect theories of Sigmund Freud and Didier Anzieu and applies them theoretically and methodologically in a number of case studies (such as television viewing, Twitter use, affective labour on social media, and data mining). Jacob generally researches how individuals are (un)consciously shaped by and in turn shape digital media. His research interests include audience research, social media, digital labour, psychoanalysis and the media, sexuality and digital media, affect theory, psychosocial studies, critical theory, as well as digital culture. He is currently working on a research project on online misogyny and the so-called Manosphere. His next book on those themes will be published by Routledge in 2020. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychosocial Studies (APS), and Co-Editor of the CounterSpace section of the Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society journal.
3) AN INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR BRETT KAHR
Professor Brett Kahr is Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council.
1) How did you first encounter psychoanalysis?
As a schoolboy, I spent quite a lot of time browsing the shelves of my local library. On one occasion, I stumbled upon a text, bound, unusually, in yellow cloth, entitled One Hundred Years of Psychiatry, and written by a man called Emil Kraepelin. The cover intrigued me as I had never seen a yellow book previously in the grown-up section, and I began to leaf through the pages. Being such a youngster, with absolutely no knowledge of psychology or psychiatry, I understood very little of this turgid tome, translated from the German, but I did comprehend enough to know that, during previous centuries, physicians treated their “lunatic” patients with immense cruelty: chaining them to the walls of their asylums, beating them, and so forth. I found this quite shocking, but, also, rather intriguing. Alas, in those days, long before the internet, I could not unearth any further information about Kraepelin – the king of German biological psychiatry – but I soon came to discover that this man shared a birth year with another German-speaking chap called Sigmund Freud, each born in 1856! Before long, I gravitated towards some well-worn paperback copies of Freud and although I understood little of his writings, I found him much warmer and much more engaging than Kraepelin, and, as time progressed, I became rather obsessed. I then proceeded to read psychology as an undergraduate. To my great surprise, my lecturers advised me strongly to avoid the works of Sigmund Freud at all cost, lambasting him as “a sheer waste of time” and as “the man who set psychology back by fifty years”. Fortunately, I failed to heed their advice. Little did I suspect that I would spend the next forty years teaching Freud and benefiting from his genius while seated in the consulting room every single day of my working life.
2) Why did you decide to become a clinician / scholar who draws on psychoanalysis?
As a young trainee, I began to work with patients diagnosed as schizophrenic, many of whom had spent decades and decades on the back wards of battered, bedraggled psychiatric hospitals. Most of them languished in catatonic states, dosed with massive amounts of chlorpromazine. Having read Sigmund Freud’s monograph on Daniel Paul Schreber, as well as other key works on the psychoanalytical approach to schizophrenia, I came to appreciate that such individuals might, in fact, make sense, if, and only if, one sat down and took the time to talk to these troubled people and attempt to unravel the complex layers of their ostensibly crazy speech. One of my first patients used to scream out loud that someone had nailed his feet to the floor of the ward. The psychiatrist in charge – a kindly man, but one who lacked psychoanalytical training – insisted that this “delusion” of having nails in the feet provided us with proof-positive of the man’s madness. On one occasion, the patient confessed to me, “Everyone thinks I’m crazy because I have nails in my feet. But these psychiatrists don’t understand a bloody thing. Of course I have nails in my feet. I’ve been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and I can’t leave the fucking building!” This patient clearly understood quite a lot about metaphor whereas many of the members of staff did not. At that moment, I knew that I would have to devote myself to learning more and more about the psychoanalytical approach. Having now worked with patients for nearly half a century, I can report with pride that slow, careful, thoughtful, sustained, and long-term Freudian-style treatment really does make a difference. I know that, collectively, my many colleagues and I have prevented a lot of people from killing themselves, and we have, I hope, contributed to their enrichment and enlivenment.
3) What is the role of psychoanalysis in the clinical sphere and beyond, both today and in the future?
I remain quite hopeful about the future of psychoanalysis. When, in the 1970s, I began to work in the mental health profession, many people raised their eyebrows rather suspiciously at the very mention of any psychodynamic concepts, such as the unconscious. So many of my fellow psychology trainees would dismiss Freudian psychotherapy as little more than “navel-gazing” for the rich and entitled of Hampstead or Park Avenue. Most of my colleagues went on to practise behavioural therapy. But as the decades unfolded, I have found that people have become increasingly sympathetic to the old-fashioned Freudian talking therapies. The fact that numerous young members of the British Royal Family have begun to endorse the conversational therapies – likewise Michelle Obama and His Holiness the Pope – represents an enormous paradigm shift in attitudes. Moreover, in recent years, so many distinguished scholars worldwide have drawn upon, and have contributed to, psychoanalytical studies; and this embrace will certainly help us to appreciate Freud’s insights even more fully.
I must confess, however, that, in spite of this wonderful growth of Freudian clinical practice and Freudian scholarship, we still have some challenges ahead, not least the fact that the clinical field remains rather fragmented on the institutional level. The United Kingdom alone boasts far too many registration bodies and far too many sub-groupings: Freudians, Jungians, Kleinians, Winnicottians, Bowlbians, Fairbairnians, Lacanians, relationalists, and so on and so on – many of whom loathe one another. I regard this divisiveness as far too reminiscent of medieval guilds than of a modern, integrated profession. Thankfully, the current leadership of the British Psychoanalytic Council and, happily, many of our new distinguished Scholars, have an appetite to integrate the profession more fully, which pleases me tremendously.
4) How did the idea of the BPC Scholars develop?
Susanna Abse, our incumbent Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, had, some years ago, kindly invited me to join the organisation’s Future Strategy Working Group, designed to help the BPC to flourish more fully in the twenty-first century. Although I have had the privilege of serving on various committees over the course of my career, I had never before participated in such a lively, creative, and engaging set of discussions. Susanna really knows how to chair a meeting and how to extract the very best thinking from her colleagues. During one of our discussions, as we talked about the relative isolation of our ageing clinical membership, I mentioned the really forward-thinking work of Professor Caroline Bainbridge and Professor Candida Yates, two distinguished academics and psychoanalytical scholars who, in 2009, established “Media and the Inner World”, an organisation which would host regular events for scholars, clinicians, and cultural practitioners, all collaborating in close harmony. My fellow members of the Future Strategy Working Group, including our Chief Executive, Gary Fereday, became very interested in the potential for scholars such as Bainbridge and Yates to help develop and expand the intellectual life of the British Psychoanalytic Council. From these discussions, we eventually conceived a more formal invitation process and it pleases me to report that we now have over fifty creative and erudite Scholars in our midst, who sit alongside our talented clinical registrants, many of whom have made important contributions to scholarship in their own right.
5) What would you like the BPC Scholars community to be like?
I really hope that the Scholars themselves will contribute hugely to shaping the identity of this new community. We now boast so many terrifically intelligent and convivial Scholars; therefore, I have great confidence that much creativity will emerge. Ideally, I would love for our Scholars to spend more time with our clinicians and vice versa, whether as co-researchers of projects, as co-presenters at panels and conferences, or as co-members of committees. The BPC has recently launched a working party chaired by Maureen Boerma – a long-standing clinical colleague from Tavistock Relationships – and Professor Barry Richards – one of our star academics (who had trained previously as a clinical psychologist). With the collaboration of Eva De Marchi – our Public Affairs and Policy Manager from the BPC office – this new group has begun to examine the ways in which scholars and clinicians can collaborate to forge a richer understanding of the psychodynamics of politics and the ways in which the political landscape has penetrated the consulting room. I hope that the Scholars will become increasingly well-attached to one another and will function as a more coherent community, and, moreover, will share their copious knowledge with our clinical registrants. This wonderful e-newsletter, generously edited by Scholars Dr. Jacob Johanssen and Dr. Theodora Thomadaki, will play a significant role in this respect. Back in old Vienna, Freud took great pains to invite not only fellow physicians to his famous Wednesday-night meetings, but, also, literary scholars, publishers, academics, and even musicologists. We can do no better than draw inspiration from his great capacity to host the most intellectually robust of parties.
4) SPEECHES AT THE BPC FOUNDER SCHOLAR'S LAUNCH EVENT AT THE FREUD MUSEUM
Both speeches appeared originally in New Associations, the newsletter of the British Psychoanalytic Council.
SIGMUND FREUD AND PSYCHOANALYTICAL SCHOLARSHIP: THE SCHOLARS SCHEME OF THE BRITISH PSYCHOANALYTIC COUNCIL
by Professor Brett Kahr
Copyright © 2019, by Professor Brett Kahr. Please do not quote without the permission of the author.
Sigmund Freud loved scholarship.
His mother, Amalia Nathansohn Freud, reminisced that, from early childhood, her son used to lie on his belly in the family apartment with his head stuck in the pages of a book (Freud, 1967). Indeed, the young boy spent most of his time in a little cabinet, crammed with bookcases, immersing himself in history and literature. And when the eldest of his five sisters began to practise the piano, the young Wunderkind became so outraged by the noise that he threatened to leave home in protest. Consequently, Amalia Freud rid the home of the offending musical instrument (Bernays, 1940).
The future father of psychoanalysis devoted so much time to reading that he evoked concern, most especially from his sister, Anna Freud, who lamented, “During his ‘teens he did not join us at our evening meals, but took them alone in the room where he pored endlessly over his books. Indeed, his friends were not play-mates but study-mates.” (Bernays, 1940, p. 336).
Unsurprisingly, this intellectual prodigy soon earned a place at the Leopoldstädter Communal-Real-Gymnasium in Vienna, where he studied ancient Greek and Latin, as well as the German language, in addition to geography, history, mathematics, religious studies and, even, handwriting. During his studentship, he devoured the Metamorphoseon by Ovid, the history of Rome by Titus Livius (especially those sections concerning the founding of the city as well as the account of the Punic Wars); moreover, he absorbed the writings of Cicero, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Homer, Horace, Plato, Sallust, Tacitus, Xenophon, and, of course, those of Sophocles (Sterba, 1974).
With such scholarly foundations in place, Sigmund Freud became the very first member of his family to attend university when, in 1873, he matriculated to the Medizinische Fakultät [Medical Faculty] of the Universität zu Wien [University of Vienna] and soon distinguished himself as a promising young researcher in the fields of physiology, histology, and neuroanatomy. Freud’s love of learning became so unrelenting and so profound that he eventually developed a new field of study, namely, the art and science and profession of psychoanalysis.
One need but glance at the titles of Freud’s psychoanalytical publications or, indeed, at his bibliographies to appreciate the range and breadth of his scholarly interests, which he investigated from a depth-psychological lens, whether the secret meaning of the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci (Freud, 1910), or the sculptures of Michelangelo Buonarroti (Anonymous [Sigmund Freud], 1914), or the origins of religious belief (Freud, 1927), or the very state of civilisation itself (Freud, 1930). In this respect, Freud became a true student not only of medicine but, also, of the humanities and of cultural studies. It may be that his greatest contribution to the world might well be what we may refer to as “clinical scholarship”, namely, the application of his learned temperament to the study of the neurotic patient. As we know, Freud examined each of his analysands with the same scholarly care and detail and seriousness that a historian will devote to the study of an archive or a literary scholar will apply to the examination of a text.
By excavating and curating a comprehensive biography for each of his patients, Freud deconstructed the superficiality of nineteenth-century psychiatry, which, for the most part, ignored the importance of an individual’s infantile and childhood experiences and traumata. As the Galician-born psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Abraham Arden Brill recalled, psychiatric institutions at that time paid very little attention to the individual patient. Brill (1944, pp. 17-18) summarised a typical case file thus: ‘ “John Doe, 26, single, laborer, was admitted on January 15, 1884. He was excitable, delusional, shouting and screaming.” About a year or so later, the second note read: “The patient is stupid, dull and demented.” Some years later, there was a note by another physician which read: “Patient continues as above.” A year or so later: “Patient is stupid, dull and demented.” Four or five years later: “Patient is demented, dull and stupid.” If the patient continued to live twenty or more years, the various doctors in charge vied with one another in making new permutations and combinations of the original “dull, stupid and demented” note. Then there was the final note: “Patient died suddenly.” ’
Freud challenged the cruel treatments so prevalent during the nineteenth century, which ranged from neglect to castration to clitoridectomy (Brown, 1866; Israel, 1880; Church, 1893; cf. Kahr, 2018b), and he applied his scholarly temperament to the study of the patient with great care. Unlike the aforementioned physicians described above, Freud wrote about his analysands at great length and in exquisite detail – as a significant scholar would – examining every nuance, every twist and turn, every symptom, every dream, and every slip of the tongue – a true revolution in the historical development of the clinical gaze.
But Sigmund Freud loved not only scholarship, he also loved scholars. And although the very first members of his Wednesday-night study group, at which he expounded upon the foundations of psychoanalysis, shared a background in medicine, Freud soon began to invite non-physicians – men from the humanities who shared his Gymnasium education – to participate in these early discussions. In 1902, the noted Viennese publisher and man of letters, Hugo Heller, joined Freud’s clinical and scientific meetings and sat alongside the physicians Dr. Alfred Adler, Dr. Paul Federn, Dr. Max Kahane, Dr. Rudolf Reitler, and Dr. Wilhelm Stekel. Hugo Heller would eventually come to publish Freud’s works, including, for instance, Der Wahn und die Träume in W. Jensens “Gradiva” (Freud, 1907a), known in English as Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (Freud, 1907b).
In 1904, a musicologist, Max Graf, devoid of any training in medicine or in the clinical sciences, became an early participant in Freud’s psychoanalytical gatherings. Freud knew Herr Graf, having psychoanalysed his wife, Olga Hönig Graf (e.g., Wakefield, 2007). In 1908, Max Graf became distressed as his young son had begun to express a fear of horses, and so, this forward-thinking musicologist took the little boy, Herbert Graf, to Freud’s office on Vienna’s Berggasse for a consultation. Needless to say, as a result of Freud’s (1909) discussions with both father and child, and based upon his knowledge of the mother, he eventually enshrined this young phobic lad as the famous “Little Hans”. One might thus argue that through an unusual and pioneering collaboration with a musicological scholar, Freud helped to give birth to child psychotherapy.
By 1908, Freud had founded the Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung [Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society] – the very first psychoanalytical membership organisation in world history – and, although two-thirds of its members prior to the Second World War had, like Freud, trained as medical practitioners, one-third of these enlightened men and women had specialised in other branches of endeavour. For instance, among the early adherents, Hanns Sachs had received a doctorate in law, as had Franz Freiherr Hye von Glunek; Carl Furtmüller had completed a doctorate in German studies; Theodor Reik, had earned a degree in philosophy, having undertaken a dissertation on the work of Gustave Flaubert from a psychoanalytical perspective; and Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth, the pioneer of child psychoanalysis (long before Anna Freud or Melanie Klein), had completed a doctorate in physics. In due time, a whole range of impressive intellectuals from divergent backgrounds entered the fold, such as the great woman of letters Lou Andreas-Salomé; the historian Edith Buxbaum; the teacher Erik Homburger Erikson; the art historian Ernst Kris; and, of course, the teacher Anna Freud who, unlike her father, never attended a university (Mühlleitner and Reichmayr, 1992; Bronner, 2008, 2011; cf. Nunberg and Federn, 1962, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981).
One of the early members of the Viennese psychoanalytical community, the aristocrat Alfred Freiherr von Winterstein, had received a doctorate in philosophy. In an essay published in the applied psychoanalysis journal Imago, von Winterstein (1912) argued that Freudian ideas must be deployed not only in the consulting room but, also, in such fields as art, criminology, linguistics, morality, mythology, pedagogy, religion, and sociology. In many respects, this clarion call might serve as a veritable manifesto for the integration of clinicians and scholars.
This early model of integrating scholars alongside clinicians became gold-standard in psychoanalytical institutions across the globe; and many early enthusiasts eventually qualified as clinical practitioners in their own right, such as the impoverished Viennese student Otto Rank (1909, 1924, 1926) and, also, the French princess Marie Bonaparte (1927, 1933a, 1933b), each of whom would make profound contributions to psychoanalytical studies.
In the early days, scholars and clinicians would often collaborate on research projects. Most impactfully, the Hungarian-born and German-trained psychoanalyst, Dr. Franz Alexander, joined forces with the Berlin-based criminologist, Dr. Hugo Staub, to campaign against the cruel punishments inflicted upon prisoners, lobbying for the creation of psychoanalytical criminology (Alexander and Staub, 1929a, 1929b), the forerunner of the field of forensic psychotherapy (Kahr, 2018a). It soon became quite clear that collaboration between clinical practitioners and academicians and scholars could yield rich discoveries.
Although some of our more conservative colleagues might argue that psychoanalytical knowledge belongs exclusively to clinical practitioners, such a position can no longer be justified, as literally tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of scholars worldwide have embraced the study of Freudian texts with extreme seriousness. And in view of the fact that anthropologists, archaeologists, biographers, economists, film scholars, genderologists, historians, lawyers, literary critics, medical humanists, psychologists, religious studies scholars, sociologists, and theatre scholars, not to mention nurses, osteopaths, physiotherapists, social workers, and innumerable healthcare specialists, have become increasingly appreciative of psychoanalysis and of its fruits, we now have a rich opportunity to forge further collaborations. In this respect, we find ourselves following in the footsteps of such visionary organisations as the Freud Museum London, founded in 1986, which has long brought clinicians and scholars together, as has Media and the Inner World, launched in 2009, as well as The Association for Psychosocial Studies, created in 2013, to mention only a few landmark interdisciplinary institutions and projects.
Aware of the creative potentiality of clinicians and scholars working side by side, the Future Strategy Working Group of the British Psychoanalytic Council (B.P.C.) – a committee founded by our former Chair, Helen Morgan, and subsequently coordinated by our current Chair, Susanna Abse, with the support of our Chief Executive, Gary Fereday, explored the possibility of welcoming academicians and cultural practitioners into our midst as “Founding Scholars”. In 2018, the Board of Trustees of the British Psychoanalytic Council approved this scheme, and on 21st February, 2019, approximately one hundred clinical registrants and distinguished scholars gathered at the Freud Museum London to launch this new endeavour.
To date, some forty-one individuals have joined the B.P.C. as “Founding Scholars”, each of whom has made a significant contribution to psychoanalytical scholarship through the publication of books, through the teaching of courses in universities, or through other forms of advancing the field of psychoanalysis. Many of the new scholars hold eminent positions in academia, such as endowed professorships; others serve or have served as directors of postgraduate degree programmes in psychoanalytical studies or as heads of departments; and still others have founded periodicals or have edited respected journals and monograph series. And in terms of the links to the history of our profession, our new scholars include Caroline Zilboorg, the daughter of the pioneering Freudian psychoanalyst Dr. Gregory Zilboorg, and, also, Ilonka Venier Alexander, the granddaughter of the aforementioned Dr. Franz Alexander. Caroline Zilboorg, a Life Member of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge, will soon publish a biography of her productive father; while Ilonka Alexander (2015, 2017), an independent scholar, has already written two books about her grandfather, the uomo universale of psychoanalysis.
We welcome these scholars warmly into our midst as a small but distinguished grouping within the wider family of the B.P.C. Unlike qualified clinicians, who have the obligation to refer to ourselves as “Registrants”, these new members of the B.P.C. community have now received permission to style themselves publicly as “Scholars” and, as part of their joining fee, they will receive copies of New Associations and will be invited to participate in events and conferences. Above all, we hope that the new scholars will propose ideas for collaborations with our registrants and will also make further contributions to the advancement of psychoanalytical knowledge across numerous disciplines.
The Board of Trustees has also approved the formation of an Academic Membership Committee, on which I have the privilege to participate, alongside distinguished colleagues Professor Caroline Bainbridge, Professor Lesley Caldwell, Dr. Poul Rohleder, Professor Neil Vickers, and Professor Candida Yates. The committee will continue to accept applications from academicians and independent scholars and cultural practitioners for consideration of “Scholar” status, subject to a transparent selection process, the details of which will be published on our website in due course.
We extend our warmest appreciation to those academic colleagues who have accepted our invitation and we congratulate them on their excellent achievements in the advancement of psychoanalytical knowledge. Thus far, scholars from the United Kingdom, France and, also, from the United States of America have joined, and we look forward to establishing closer links with distinguished colleagues from other countries as well. We welcome suggestions and proposals from our scholars and from our clinical registrants (many of whom have made important academic contributions in their own right) for how we might expand upon this new scheme within our organisation.
In an increasingly Brexit-ish world of splitting and exclusionism, the Academic Membership Committee, which works closely with the Chair, the Chief Executive, the Board of Trustees, and our committed office staff, very much hopes to bring the best people into the B.P.C. community in an effort to stimulate rewarding interchanges. In doing so, we hope to continue in the extremely welcoming and open-minded tradition of Sigmund Freud and his early medical and musical colleagues. Such intercourse has already given birth to both child psychotherapy and to forensic psychotherapy. We can only begin to imagine what other bountiful creations might lie in store.
Professor Brett Kahr,
Chair, Academic Membership Committee, British Psychoanalytic Council.
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Alexander, Franz, and Staub, Hugo (1929b). Der Kampf ums Recht. Die psychoanalytische Bewegung, 1, 117-122.
Alexander, Ilonka Venier (2015). The Life and Times of Franz Alexander: From Budapest to California. London: Karnac Books.
Alexander, Ilonka Venier (2017). Growing Up Alexander: My Life with a Psychoanalytic Pioneer. London: Karnac Books.
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Bronner, Andrea (Ed.). (2008). Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: The First 100 Years. Vienna: Christian Brandstätter Verlag.
Bronner, Andrea (2011). The Three Histories of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. In Peter Loewenberg and Nellie L. Thompson (Eds.). 100 Years of the IPA: The Centenary History of the International Psychoanalytical Association. 1910-2010. Evolution and Change, pp. 9-24. London: International Psychoanalytical Association.
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Freud, Sigmund (1907b). Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva. James Strachey (Transl.). In Sigmund Freud (1959). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: Volume IX. (1906-1908). Jensen’s ‘Gradiva’ and Other Works. James Strachey, Anna Freud, Alix Strachey, and Alan Tyson (Eds. and Transls.), pp. 7-93. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.
Freud, Sigmund (1909). Analyse der Phobie eines 5jährigen Knaben. Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, 1, 1-109.
Freud, Sigmund (1910). Eine Kindheitserinnerung des Leonardo da Vinci. Vienna: Franz Deuticke.
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Israel, James (1880). Ein Beitrag zur Würdigung des Werthes der Castration bei hysterischen Frauen: (Vortrag, gehalten in der Berliner medicinischen Gesellschaft am 14. Januar 1880). Berliner Klinische Wochenschrift. 26th April, pp. 242-245.
Kahr, Brett (2018a). “No Intolerable Persons” or “Lewd Pregnant Women”: Towards a History of Forensic Psychoanalysis. In Brett Kahr (Ed.). New Horizons in Forensic Psychotherapy: Exploring the Work of Estela V. Welldon, pp. 17-87. London: Karnac Books.
Kahr, Brett (2018b). Sigmund Freud’s Revolution in Psychiatry. Friends News. Freud Museum London, pp. 14-16.
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NEW ASSOCIATIONS. TOWARDS THE FUTURE OF PSYCHOANALYTICAL SCHOLARSHIP
Professor Candida Yates, Bournemouth University
As a Founding Scholar and member of the BPC Academic Membership Committee, I have been asked to write a few words about this new initiative, which aims to create a space for psychoanalytical scholars to meet and communicate with one another and also with BPC clinical registrants to exchange ideas and develop further the scholarly field of psychoanalytical and psychodynamic research.
There is a long tradition of applying psychoanalytical theories of the unconscious to social and cultural phenomena outside the consulting room that today include a range of academic disciplines such as history, philosophy, sociology, literature and the arts, film and television studies, media and cultural studies, psychosocial studies, politics and postcolonial studies. For many of us who have been engaging with psychoanalysis through our teaching, publishing and research and also through artistic and cultural practice, this new community of BPC Scholars provides a potential space for us to come together to think creatively about the ways in which we can develop the psychoanalytical field through our various disciplines. In a neoliberal climate, where traditional ‘hard’ scientific subjects are often promoted in universities because of their association with measurable outcomes, psychoanalytical scholarship nonetheless continues to flourish. The latter can be seen as a response to the ‘emotional’ or ‘affective’ turn within the humanities and social sciences, where the scholarly focus on affective experience and the seemingly irrational forces of the unconscious can be seen to constitute a response to the complexities of the late modern world and a need to understand the inter-relationships between subjectivity, culture, and society in that context. We hope that this new Scholars initiative will enhance the work of the BPC and the communication of psychoanalysis and its meanings – both as a practice and as a body of ideas to colleagues and students within universities and beyond, capturing the imagination of those who, as the next generation of thinkers, may also perhaps, become future trainees.
Setting up a visible list of BPC Scholars will enable them to forge relationships with BPC clinical registrants in order to work together on research projects and other related activities - from conference panels and workshops, to publishing and teaching opportunities. Some BPC registrants and scholars already know each other as colleagues and friends and work collaboratively across the boundaries of analytic and academic practice in different settings. One can cite many instances past and present of such collaborations, including for example, Psychoanalysis and the Public Sphere conferences, The Squiggle Foundation public lectures, The Tavistock Policy Seminars, and The Media and Inner World research network. We aim to continue in that tradition by hosting an annual research event on themes that enable the psychoanalytic analysis of different aspects of history, culture and society.
In the past, many of these shared gatherings between clinicians and academics have taken place in the Freud Museum and so it was fitting that we hosted the launch of the BPC Founding Scholars in that setting. Most who were present, agreed that the atmosphere of that gathering was very positive and the evening provided an enjoyable and stimulating opportunity for scholars and analysts to come together as a community at a time when throughout the UK and beyond, the mood is one of uncertainty and risk. A wider sense of foreboding is felt and articulated in different contexts – from the narratives of patients on the couch who are anxious about Brexit, through to the anxieties of university students and academic staff who are both in their own ways under pressure to succeed in a world riven by precarity. At the time of writing, for example, there are numerous pressing social and political issues such as climate change, the international plight of refugees, the ongoing fallout about Brexit and a widespread crisis of political leadership. New Associations will continue to provide a home for the discussion of such topics, and these themes can also potentially provide a focus for the research activity of both BPC scholars and clinicians who can share insights into the affective dimensions of such phenomena and the psychic drivers that underpin them.
Hence, there is a sense of urgency regarding the wider socio-political and cultural scene that constitutes a backdrop for the work of BPC scholars who can together and individually draw on their research in order to shed light on the unconscious dynamics of issues and events within the wider socio-political and cultural context. Hannah Arendt’s work is often cited as being relevant for the psycho-political dilemmas that we face today and contemporary analytic scholars have turned to her writing for inspiration (Rose, 2014; Stonebridge, 2018). In Arendt’s 1968 essay, ‘Men in Dark Times’, she said: ‘Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination’. In that spirit, we hope that the new community of BPC scholars will use their psychoanalytic scholarship to contribute to that process of illumination today.
Arendt, H. (1968) ‘Men in dark times’, In: The Portable Hannah Arendt. London: Penguin Classics .
Rose, J. (2014) Women in Dark Times. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Stonebridge, L. (2018) Placeless People: Writings, Rights and Refugees. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5) NEWS FROM THE SCHOLARS
BPC Scholar Dr Felicitas Rost receives Award for Outstanding Professional Leadership
This award recognises an individual in a position of leadership who has developed their role to make a significant and outstanding contribution to psychoanalytic/ psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling in the wider world. Felicitas Rost is a senior researcher specialising in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies, based at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the past two years in relation to two key areas: firstly, as President of the UK Society of Psychotherapy Research and secondly in relation to her work on the NICE guidelines for depression. In the past two and a half years Felicitas has brought together a large coalition of prominent stakeholders to campaign for a revision of the NICE guidelines on Depression. Her work has resulted in NICE having to revise their draft guidelines and they are currently in the process of conducting a further consultation, which has never happened for any NICE guideline previously. This is an outstanding achievement.
Dr Caroline Zilboorg, a Founding Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council, is currently completing a major biography of the famous psychoanalyst Dr. Gregory Zilboorg, which will draw upon extensive unpublished documentation, entitled, Gregory Zilboorg: Mind, Medicine, and Man. Dr. Zilboorg has written: This meticulously researched biography recounts the life of the charismatic Russian-American psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg from his birth as a Jew in Russia in 1890 through his death in New York in 1959. Analysed by Franz Alexander in Berlin, by the 1930s Zilboorg had become a controversial figure. His patients ranged from wealthy and artistic figures to inmates at Sing Sing prison. He joined the Society of Friends in 1922, but converted to Catholicism in 1954. He is known for his histories of psychiatry as well as his work on psychiatry and the law and on psychoanalysis and religion.
Journal for Psychosocial Studies now published with Policy Press
The newly adopted journal is going to be published in three volumes every year. It will be available free to members of the Association for Psychosocial Studies.
We are now very keen to hear from people who want to publish work that falls in the broad terrain of Psychosocial Studies. We are interested in publishing papers that bring a psychosocial perspective that might help us understand a range of contemporary social phenomena. This might be work on family life, welfare practices, criminal justice issues, youth work, cultural products (such as film, art and literature).
Psychosocial Studies draws on a range of disciplines to explore the interactive relationships between self, culture and society. Whilst often focusing on affect and emotion it explores the complexities of subjectivity and experience as it is lived and shaped in different contexts and settings. This approach is defined by a commitment to exploration of the links between the internal and external worlds; both the deeply personal and profoundly social.
Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society Conference Report
From 25-26 October 2019, the annual conference from the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) was held at Rutgers University, New Brunswick (NJ, USA). Founded in 1994, APCS has a long tradition of promoting greater understanding of how cultural and social phenomena affect human subjectivity in ways that are socially significant and to promote new, more socially beneficial ways of applying psychoanalysis to social problems.
The conference was attended by a large number of academics, clinicians, artists and other practicioners. This year's theme was Displacement: Precarity & Community.
The conference organisers, Marilyn Charles (Austen Riggs Center, US) and Lita Crociani-Windland (University of the West of England, UK) were particularly interested in exploring ways in which trauma and distress are displacing meanings, feelings, and persons, resulting in a destabilization of self, meaning, home, safety, and community. How might we constructively address these issues through a psychoanalytic lens that might promote greater understanding of what is being displaced and greater stability and safety for those being displaced? How might a psychoanalytic lens help to inform our conceptions and interventions?
Many different sessions explored such themes and several BPC Scholars presented at the conference: Angie Voela (University of East London), Candida Yates (Bournemouth University), Elizabeth Frost (University of the West of England), Michael O'Loughlin (Adelphi University), Jacob Johanssen (St. Mary's University). APCS also hosts the academic journal Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. The journal, edited by Angie Voela and Michael O'Loughlin, is open to submissions that explore themes around psychoanalysis and the socio-cultural.
Dr Vassilis Maoutsos has recently published the book Metapsychology’ Volume II. He has worked in various psychiatric, academic and psychotherapeutic appointments in Great Britain and Greece. He is currently working as psychoanalyst privately in Athens. He also teaches at the Institute of Classical Psychoanalysis (Athens) and lectures widely.
Language: Greek. Year of Publication: 2019.
In Volume II Freud’s constantly developing metapsychological thinking becomes even more profound compared to what we discussed in Volume I. With the passage of time we witness through his writings the construction of the mind as a system composed of a series of fantasies rather than actualities. In fact, as the former are carrying immense amounts of libido they gradually are acquiring more and more real-like characteristics to the extent that they seem to have become integral part of the biological body. Thus, condensed emotional states like, for example, ‘transference’ or ‘counter-transference’ reach the point of getting a most decisive role for the ego development and ultimately for the survival of the subject whose instinctual life has fundamentally been transformed into a libidinal one. Similarly, many other less stable cathexes of daily use - like ‘civilisation’ or ‘jokes’ – also help in shaping endless series of fantasies by raising suitable ‘defenses’. The underline metapsychological force of this overall uniquely human phenomenon which is described in scattered thoughts in the examined Freudian texts of this Volume is surfacing step by step. In fact, this is destined to become in future Freudian works the inescapable oedipal presence for the analysis of ‘Neuroses’. In addition, with more careful reading we may recognize how tentative ego extensions when fail to get synthesized (e.g in Dora’s case) end up in borderline syndromes or even states of ‘psychosis’. To the degree that Freud’s admittedly rather obscure metapsychological thinking of these studies is followed through consistently - under a new reading approach which is unfolded here - then therapy is experienced by the patient and the analyst alike as the route to a most contemporary and effective analytic procedure. This is in contradistinction to seeing Freudian texts and psychoanalysis as a clinical method of the past.
Associate Professor Daniel Burston’s forthcoming book Psychoanalysis, Politics and the Postmodern University will be published by Palgrave in 2020. Critical theory draws on Marxism, psychoanalysis, postmodern and poststructuralist theorists. Marxism and psychoanalysis are rooted in the Enlightenment project, while postmodernism and poststructuralism are more indebted to Nietzsche, whose philosophy is rooted in anti-Enlightenment ideas and ideals. Marxism and psychoanalysis contributed mightily to our understanding of fascism and authoritarianism, but were distorted and disfigured by authoritarian tendencies and practices in turn. This book, written for clinicians and social scientists, explores these overarching themes, focusing on the reception of Freud in America, the authoritarian personality and American politics, Lacan’s “return to Freud”, Jordan Peterson and the Crisis of the Liberal Arts, and the anti-psychiatry movement.
If one of the BPC Scholar’s would like to review the book, please contact the Editors and your email will be forwarded to Dr Burston.
12th January 2020, 10-5pm, PROJECTIONS: David Lynch – Cinema’s Uncanny Master, Freud Museum London. Details here.
16th January 2020, 7-8.30pm, Why some forms of technology give us the creeps. Talk by Dr. Aaron Balick. Part of 'The Uncanny: A Centenary' events series, Freud Museum London. Details here.
3 March 2020, 7-8.30pm, Bodies: Susie Orbach in conversation with Lisa Appignanesi, Freud Museum London. Details here.
13th March 2020, 6pm, BPC Scholars Event, Freud Museum London. We will host a social event at the Freud Museum London for Scholars and clinicians to meet network and exchange ideas. We have booked the Museum for Friday 13th March, 2020 at 6.30 pm. Please keep this date reserved in your diaries. We are also actively considering an annual Scholars’ Lecture and hope to announce more details in due course.
2-3 July 2020, Association for Psychosocial Studies annual conference: Psychosocial Bodies. Call for papers and more information here.