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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
The Psychic Impact of War and Terrorism on our Mental Health
What is our therapeutic approach to the pervasive social phenomenon of bloodshed?

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2016

Friday 9 December 2016

19.00   Registration and drinks
19.30   Jon Blend and Roz Carroll

Refugee stories then & now: fleeing from war and violence
An experiential event led by Jon Blend and Roz Carroll

Starting with a presentation from Sheila Melzak, Consultant Community Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist & Clinical Director of Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile.

A psychic wounding happens when people are confronted with the violence of war and forced to flee. The aim of this evening will be to feel into the experience of being displaced by war, becoming a refugee, and travelling with fear and uncertainty. We will facilitate an improvisation of an emergency diaspora journey. Participants can choose between taking on the role of refugee or that of witness. We will be working with movement, poetry and music, with time to draw or write and to reflect on the process. Our intention is to create an imaginal space and narrative through drama which can hold and support the piecing together of stories and a valuing of fragments of memory. Participants will be invited to draw on their own personal, clinical, and transgenerational experiences, as well their responses to news and history.

Roz Carroll is a Chiron-trained body psychotherapist. She teaches ‘Contemporary Theories of Psychotherapy’ on the MA in Integrative Psychotherapy at The Minster Centre. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters, including: ‘The Blood-dimmed Tide: Witnessing war and working with the collective body in Authentic Movement’ in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Politics International. She and Jon Blend have been exploring the themes of war and intergenerational trauma in a series of workshops.

Jon Blend is a relational gestalt /integrative child and adult psychotherapist and Lifemusic practitioner with a background in psychiatry. He works in private practice and teaches at The Gestalt and Minster Centres and internationally. He has co-led dialogue groups with descendants of Holocaust survivors. Jon performs with Playback South , a ‘communitas’ oriented theatre company and is the son of a Viennese Kindertransportee.

There is a £5 charge for those attending the Friday evening only. Confer is covering the venue, refreshments and admin costs, and the presenters are waiving their fee. We hope you will instead make a donation to a refugee charity, for example:, or

21.30   End of evening
Saturday 10 December 2016

08.30   Social Dreaming Matrix led by Laurie Slade
09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Jelena Watkins

Cataclysmic events and the opportunity for collective growth
While there are many therapeutic methods for working with trauma on an individual level, there is much less available in terms of collective trauma that a terror attack represents. Cataclysmic events on a large scale create wounds that are hard to heal, yet they may also represent an opportunity for collective growth. How can psychotherapists hold a broader context of social trauma whilst working with individuals directly affected by terrorism? A new model for working with the interplay of individual and collective trauma will be presented.
11.15   Coffee
11.45   Dr Françoise Davoine

Historical war trauma in the onset of madness
Using the concept of the "timequake" from Kurt Vonnegut's last novel, tells us something important about transference in the psychoanalysis: it helps us to understand the potency of historical war trauma in the onset of madness, and the value of inscribing what had been thrown into the "garbage of history" - held in a time warp of repressed narratives. By paying attention to themes of war, particularly in past generations, the analyst is open to ways in which these have been deeply impressed on the psyche of the living like a lost manuscript waiting to be discovered. With reference to Don Quixote, Bion's War Memoirs and Kurt Vonnegut's novel, we will consider the necessity to produce an Other - the analyst - to absorb these discarded matters in the course of classical psychoanalysis and to bring them to consciousness.
13.00   Lunch (Included)
14:15   Dr Neil Altman

Hidden legacies of oppression and war
Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to decode the hidden legacies of oppression and war. An emerging literature on trans-generational transmission of trauma signals recognition that unthinkable and nearly unthinkable experiences of violence haunt survivors and their offspring for generations in dissociated and enigmatic form. The descendants of perpetrators and victims, and of those who were both perpetrators and victims, may develop patterns of guilt allocation and guilt avoidance that profoundly shape images of self and other on conscious and unconscious levels. As these emerge in psychotherapy, therapists have an opportunity to bring to light the unburied ghosts, the demons and angels, that remain after the violence subsides, along with the personally and socially corrosive effects they set in motion.
15.30   Tea
15:45   Professor Andrew Samuels

Political Violence: depth psychological reflections on a political, social, cultural, religious (and personal) problem
Andrew Samuels will consider carefully the circumstances in which political violence might be regarded as rational and valuable. He will do so from a depth psychological perspective, building on his previous work at the interface of therapy thinking and political problematics. Via an act of imagination, he will try to construct a list of political desires held by those in deprived areas of Western cities who might support political violence when carried out by extremist organisations such as Islamic State/Daesh. Andrew will not propose an absolutist adherence to non-violence, yet similarly rejects the glorification of violence in (for example) some anarchist writings. He will turn to Islamic social philosophy for ideas about the meaning and purpose of political violence. The talk will be illustrated by clinical material (including from clients with a close relationship to the carrying out of political violence), and by visual images.
17.00   End

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Please read our booking conditions before making your booking

Friday evening only: £5
Self-funded: £130
Self-funded x 2: £190
Organisationally-funded: £220

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

19:00 Registration and drinks
19:30 Start
21:30 End

08:30 Social Dreaming Matrix
09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea
17:00 End