The Need to Forget: The Capacity to Remember

Saturday 13 July 2019 - London

With speakers Richard Curen, Dr Ronald Doctor and Katya Orrell

At this seminar we will consider two possible relationships to past traumatic events: remembering, and working-through on the one hand; repressing, disavowal and acting-out on the other, and how the tension between these can be skilfully managed in the therapy relationship.

Memories are core to our accumulating experience of life, providing a sense of an ongoing self and meaningful continuity. They can make us feel comfortable with the familiar, and securely connected to the past, while providing a framework for the future; it is our collection of conscious and unconscious memories that, in part, makes us who we are.




Registration and coffee

Dr Ronald Doctor
Forensic Patients: Acting out as a resistance to repressed memories
In Remembering, Repeating and Working Through (Freud 1914), acting-out is defined in opposition to remembering, as a compelling and urgent need to repeat the forgotten past, not only reliving the emotional experiences transferred to the analyst, but transferring the entire scope of the situation to the present. The patient does not remember anything of what has been forgotten and repressed, but acts it out instead without, of course, knowing that this is a repetition. Acting-out is understood as replacing the desire to remember, as a function of resistance; the greater the resistance, the more extensive the acting out will be. Therapeutic work will be considered.


Katya Orrell
Tabula rasa: The attempt to forget what cannot be remembered
Using the Belgian television series ‘Tabula Rasa’ and the phrase “why can’t I forget what I can’t remember” (Hale 2015), Katya will explore how destructive aggression becomes the forensic patient’s method of not remembering something too overwhelming to face. If what they are attempting to forget is too painful to remember and is acted-out instead, then it is the task of the therapist to help the patient remember. Through Freud and Winnicott’s concepts of repetition compulsion and fear of breakdown, she will look at how this happens both individually and on a societal level when we unwittingly collude with the patient’s mindset through our criminal justice system.

Richard Curen
Mind the gap: Repressed memories and perverse solutions for the forensic patient
This presentation will explore a number of interventions with forensic patients who appear to employ perverse solutions as a means to avoid the realisation of repressed memories. Using clinical material, Richard will illustrate how some forensic patient’s repressed memories are at the roots of their psychopathology and offending behaviours. The talk will draw on psychoanalytic theories around repression, dissociation and perversion to demonstrate the analysis of perverse enactments, both inside and outside the consulting room.


Live Supervision
Participants are invited to bring cases for our speakers’ consideration

  1. Dr Ronald Doctor
  2. Katya Orrell
  3. Richard Curen


Panel discussion bringing together live supervision experiences



Handouts and lunch included
Early bird:
£100 (Available until 11 May)


Self-funded x 2:


Psychotherapy trainee:
£80 (Limited to 10 places)

This event + the online module Trauma and Dissociation:


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


The Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane


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


Regrettably, refunds cannot be given in any circumstances except as follows:

  • You cancel in writing to 60 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 100% refund.
  • You cancel in writing to 30 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 50% refund.

This does not apply to parts of an event such as a seminar within a series but only to a whole event or complete series. You may give your place to another person if you let us know that person's name at least 24 hours before the event begins.

We reserve the right to change a speaker at one of our conferences without offering a refund. However, if a solo presenter cancels we will offer a full refund OR transfer of your fee to another Confer event. If the entire event is cancelled we will offer you a full refund.

We reserve the right to change our prices at any time. Regrettably, discounts offered after you made your booking cannot be claimed or applied retrospectively.