Freud’s Pandemics

Freud’s Pandemics: A Traumatological Biography

Friday 1 October 2021

With Dr Doris Brothers and Professor Brett Kahr, and with discussants Dr Valerie Sinason and Professor Neil Vickers

  • Includes a recording of the event with access for a year (14 days post the event)
  • Bookings close at 9:00am BST Tuesday 28 September

Sigmund Freud devoted much of his professional life to the treatment and cure of many severely traumatised patients. But it may well be that Freud actually endured far more trauma in his own private life than most of his analysands.




14.00 BST (09.00 EDT)

Prof Brett Kahr
Freud’s Private Traumata: Surviving Horrifying Explosions

Shortly after the death of Sigmund Freud in 1939, his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, exclaimed that anyone else who had lived such a burdened life would have committed suicide. But Freud, full of robustness, managed to persevere until the age of eighty-three. How did he survive his innumerable pandemics? In this introductory session, Brett Khar will explore the range of traumata experienced by Freud throughout his lifetime and will investigate what sorts of coping strategies kept him alive and creative and capable of inventing the “talking cure”. Brett will also consider how Freud might have handled the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-2021, and how his invention of psychoanalysis might well form the basis of a “psychological vaccination”.

Dr Doris Brothers
Secrets Freud Kept From Himself

Our traumatic experiences alone do not mark our lives; it is what we do to recapture a sense of certainty about surviving in their aftermath that changes us. In her presentation, Doris Brothers will try to show how aspects of Freudian theory itself might reveal the possibility that Freud sustained life-changing traumas. Doris will draw on insights by Stolorow and Atwood in Faces in a Cloud, to show how the lives of theorists influence their personality theories. She will explain Freud’s dramatic repudiation of his original trauma theory in these terms as well as his tendency to rely on binaries such as conscious-unconscious, ego instincts-libidinal instincts, and narcissistic-object libido.



Prof Brett Kahr
Interview with Prof Neil Vickers on Freud’s Pandemics: Surviving Global War, Spanish Flu, and the Nazis.

Prof Brett Kahr
Conversation with Dr Valerie Sinason linking this traumatologically-orientated biography of Freud to the current state of thinking about global trauma.

Q&A with Prof Brett Kahr & Dr Doris Brothers



Includes handouts and a recording

Bookings close at 9:00am BST Tuesday 28 September

Live Webinar £60 (Member £48):
(Click here to become a member)


Certificates of attendance for 3.5 hours will be provided


This is a live online webinar using Zoom software. Zoom is free to download and use.

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To download Zoom free of charge click here.


14.00 BST (09.00 EDT) Introductions
14.10 Prof Brett Kahr
15.00 Dr Doris Brothers
15.45 Q&A
16.00 Break
16.15 Prof Brett Kahr
16.45 Prof Brett Kahr
17.15 Q&A with Prof Brett K