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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
How do we Work with the Pre-Symbolic?
New European perspectives

With Dr Giuseppe Civitarese, Dr Françoise Davoine and Dr Judy Gammelgaard

Saturday 7 May 2016

09.30   Registration and coffee
10:00   Dr Judy Gammelgaard

The non-symbolic level of psychic reality
Freud introduced the term 'psychic reality' at the time he abandoned his theory of seduction and the pathogenic role of infantile traumas. The concept was obviously meant to substitute what was lost with the discarding of the seduction theory but it is not easily defined and has at least two meanings: one that encompasses the whole field of subjective experiences and one that links it strictly to the unconscious. In this lecture we will focus on psychic reality at the unconscious level by examining his 1919 case A Child is Being Beaten to see how an event is transformed into an unconscious sexual phantasy. This case will be elaborated through Jean Laplanche´s theory of seduction and model of translation and with reference to Lacan's concept of the real unconscious. A discussion of the symptom will serve to illustrate how we may deal with unconscious phantasies and with unconscious remainders beyond the symbolic level.
11.30   Coffee
12.00   Dr Françoise Davoine

Pre-symbolic matters
When reading Bion's War Memoirs, the French analyst Jean-Max Gaudillière assumed that when working psychoanalytically with trauma-based psychosis we deal with "thoughts without a thinker". In this talk, we will examine how interferences in in the analyst's own story can unexpectedly arise - rifts caused by unsymbolised content evoked by the patient's story. Typically this content lies at the crossroad between unrealised content the analyst's personal narrative and a catastrophic moment in history, such as war. The analyst's task is to process his own psychic-social trauma, and to hand it back into the session to complete the symbolic chain for and with the patient. Françoise Davoine will give examples from her clinical practice to show how it works.
13.30   Lunch
14.30   Dr Giuseppe Civitarese

Reverie and the inaccessible unconscious
The treatment of patients with serious difficulties in symbolization is a riddle. How can we find a way to communicate with someone whose representational function is seriously impaired, and who cannot give a personal meaning to experience? How can we begin to build some threads of experiences, however small, and weave them with and for the patient into a fabric of thoughts? If repairing deficits in symbolization and representation depends upon intersubjective relationships and the patient is tenaciously avoiding every kind of contact, how can treatment go forward? The question I will address in this talk is how we can bring representation to the primitive traumas lost in an "inaccessible unconscious" to use Bion's term, and I will propose that the therapist's use of analytic field theory and his or her capacity for reverie provides us with the means to make necessary connections.
16.00   Tea
16.20   Panel discussion
17.00   End

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Early bird: £110 (Sold out)
Self-funded: £130 (Available)
Organisationally-funded: £220 (Available)
As part of Season Ticket: £42

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 5 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:30 Coffee
13:30 Lunch
16:00 Tea
17:00 End