Around the world, we are witnessing the rise of the cult of the ‘strong leader’, with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdoğan and others appearing to espouse disdain for liberal democratic institutions, diversity of opinion, culture and people.
The UK witnessed the denigration of experts in the Brexit debate. Public sector professionals and academics were undermined by a political discourse looking to silence alternative views. Politics and civic society feels more confrontational, less understanding and less inclusive, with the expression of racist and sexist views seemingly legitimised on both sides of the Atlantic.
PP Now 2017 will explore how psychoanalytic thinking can support policy makers to maintain the health of our democratic institutions, help develop services that respond effectively to real need, and push back against the rise of the authoritarian state.
The conference will bring psychoanalysts and psychotherapists together with policy makers and academics to consider these contemporary psychosocial issues, exploring the significance of understanding relationships and our inner worlds to build a more inclusive and fulfilling society.
The video recordings include:
1. Friday Evening Lecture Opening – Helen Morgan, Jessica Benjamin, Gabrielle Rifkind
2. Jessica Benjamin - Developing a Democratic Psychology: The Ethos of “More than One can Live” versus the Social Imaginary of “ Only One can Live”
3. Gabrielle Rifkind - A Traumatic Psychology of War
4. Saturday Breakout Session: Contemporary Developments in Sexuality and Gender and their Impact on the Consulting Room - David Richards & Noreen Giffney. Chaired by Juliet Newbigin
5. Saturday Plenary: Women on the Verge of a Post-Liberal World - Jessica Benjamin, Susie Orbach and Gail Lewis. Chaired by Susanna Abse
6. Saturday Breakout Session: Our Mental Health and the way we Live Now - Carey Oppenheim & Karen Newbigging. Chaired by Susanna Abse
Jessica Benjamin is a supervising faculty member of the New York University Postdoctoral Psychology program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies where she is a founder and board member. She has been part of the relational psychoanalytic movement from its inception, and is known for her integration of clinical psychoanalytic and development theory with social thought, particularly feminist theory. She is the author of The Bonds of Love (1988); Like Subjects, Love Objects (1995); and Shadow of the Other (1998). Her new book Beyond Doer and done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third has just been published by Routledge. From 2004-2010 she initiated and directed “The Acknowledgement Project” together with Dr. Eyad el Sarraj of Gaza involving Israeli and Palestinian mental health practitioners and international dialogue leaders. She participated in editing and narrating the video film (movingbeyondviolence.org) on the Israeli-Palestinian Combatants for Peace, an organization committed to opposing the Occupation and creating cooperation non-violently to establish conditions for peace. Her article on Eyad Sarraj’s ideas, “Non-Violence as the recognition of all suffering” appeared in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society last year. In 2015 she was awarded the Hans Kilian prize for meta-humanistic studies in Bochum, Germany.
Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, writer, activist and social critic. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre, London in 1976. Her first book, Fat is a Feminist Issue has been continuously in print since 1978. Her most recent In Therapy is based on the Radio 4 series of the same name heard by 3 million listeners. She lectures widely in the UK, Europe, NZ and North America, has provided consultation and social policy advice for organisations from the Government and the NHS to the World Bank. She was a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a Guardian columnist, both for 10 years and continues to work with many individuals and couples from her practice in London. She is a member of The Balint Consultancy.
Gabrielle Rifkind is the Director of the Oxford Process, which leads on preventive diplomacy work and high-level mediation. She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution. Gabrielle combines in-depth political and psychological expertise with many years’ experience in promoting serious analysis and dialogue. As a political entrepreneur, she has a deep understanding of human behaviour and motivation. Gabrielle is co-author with Gianni Picco, of Fog of Peace: How to Prevent War (I.B. Tauris, 2016).
Gabrielle has facilitated a number of Track II roundtables in the Middle East on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Iran, and is currently working on Syria. Committed to trying to understand the mind-set of the Middle East, she has both created meetings and spent time talking to the leadership in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Israel.
Susanna Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and organisational consultant. Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has worked in private practice with couples, parents and individuals since 1991. She was CEO of the charity Tavistock Relationships from 2006 until 2016 and now also works as an Executive Coach and Organisational Consultant. She is an accredited member of the British Psychoanalytic Council and serves as a member of its Executive Board. Previously, she was a member of the Department of Health’s Action for Choice in Therapy Committee, sitting as an expert advisor on many research and governmental advisory groups; most recently, the NSPCC’s project to develop an early intervention for families at risk of domestic violence. She has published widely on couple therapy, parenting, post separation conflict and family policy and how these areas need to be at the heart of progressive welfare provision, a subject on which she lectures and teaches. Her publications include writings for the New Statesman and for the Open Society European Policy Institute.
Gail Lewis is an academic in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, where until recently she was head of department, and a psychotherapist. She has worked at the Open University and Lancaster University. Her political subjectivity was formed in the intensities of black feminist and anti-racist struggle and through a socialist, anti-imperialist lens. Among her current concerns is how to bring psychoanalytic and sociological understandings of subjectivity into creative dialogue in the interests of generating 'practice against the grain'. She was a member of the Brixton Black Women's Group and one of the founder members of the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent. She has written on feminism, intersectionality, the welfare state, and racialised-gendered experience. She is an Arsenal fan.
David Richards is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice. He previously worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, both within the HIV field in the 1990s, and then for many years managing a community counselling service for older adults. He is also a senior tutor on the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy at Birkbeck. He has a long-standing interest in questions of sexuality, sexual orientation and identity, and speaks and writes on these themes; he is a member of the Advisory Group on Sexual and Gender Diversity in the BPC, where he also currently serves on the Executive.
Dr Noreen Giffney is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in private practice and a Lecturer in Counselling at the University of Ulster. She has published extensively in clinical and academic contexts. Her most recent book is Clinical Encounters in Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory (New York: Punctum Books 2017), edited with Dr Eve Watson. She is writing a book entitled Developing Clinical Insight Using Non-Clinical Case Studies in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: Visual Culture and the Transference and Countertransference Experience. She is the Director of Psychoanalysis +, an interdisciplinary initiative that brings together clinical, academic and artistic approaches to, and applications of, psychoanalysis.
Juliet Newbigin is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy member of the BPF and FPC. She works in private practice and teaches seminars on the impact of significant differences – those of gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity, for example – on the clinical relationship. Juliet’s interest in the subject of gender and sexuality goes back to her work as a trainer in self-development with young people and adults in the 1970’s when the impact of discrimination on individual identity was a hot topic.
She was involved in the working party that wrote the BPC’s Position Statement on Homosexuality and is currently chair of their Advisory Group on Sexual and Gender Diversity
Carey Oppenheim has been Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation since 2013. Her previous roles include Co-director of the Institute of Public Policy Research, Special Advisor to Tony Blair in the Number 10 Policy Unit, specialising in employment, social security, childcare and poverty. Carey has also been a senior lecturer in social policy at the South Bank University, deputy director and head of research at the Child Poverty Action Group, chaired the London Child Poverty Commission and advised the Treasury on welfare reform, and the DfE on childcare and early years strategy. She lately trained to be a teacher and taught history and politics at an inner-city London school.
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