CIVILIANS AT WAR - Losses, Recovery and the Experience of the Helpers - October 21 - 23 2016, Prague

Losses, Recovery and the Experience of the Helpers
October 21 - 23 2016
Prague, Czech Republic

The international conference will deal with the lot of the civil population that is caught up in the many wars and armed conflicts that are taking place all over nowadays. It will explore the ways this situation affects everyday life of people who are subjected to such continuous threatening reality as well as mental health professionals and para-professionals which are struggling to help them.

The wars in Ukraine, in Africa and in the middle east , the terror attacks in numerous countries, the aftermath of civil wars in the Balkans, all these cast a heavy shadow on the optimism that has accompanied the dismantling of totalitarian regimes and on the hopes for social flourishing and prosperity.

In view of this reality, we as psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, group-analysts and other mental health workers are likely to feel especially vulnerable when witnessing the suffering of refugees, immigrants, survivors and the countless victims of such man made violence. Many times we are faced painfully with our limited ability to offer the needed emotional support. The international conference is aimed at providing a space for sharing our experiences as persons and helpers subjected to this same reality. It enables us to process the feelings evoked, to encourage and strengthen each other in this arduous task, and turn our sharing into a mutual resource.

The international conference will also provide us with an opportunity to conceptualize our experiences in psychological, psychoanalytic and groupanalytic terms and enable professional dialogue among us.

Setting Memory - Bettina von Zwehl & Paul Coldwell: Special exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna

Special exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna
7 October 2016 – 21 January 2017
Opening: 6 October, 7 p.m.

Works by London-based artists Bettina von Zwehl and Paul Coldwell kick off the discourse about “loss, memory and reorientation” at the Sigmund Freud Museum on 7 October, 2016 – notions that today define the atmosphere of the former living and working rooms of Sigmund and Anna Freud. The exhibition SETTING MEMORY at Vienna’s Berggasse corresponds with personal shows by the artists at the Freud Museum London and thus underlines the close relationship of these two Freud institutions.

Bettina von Zwehl uses the quality of photography as a tool of memory and instrument of research, following the main principles of psychoanalytic treatment methods: criteria such as “observation”, “transference” and the “principle of confidentiality” are subjected to artistic scrutiny in a series of portraits.

Photographs from a series documenting Anna Freud’s personal belongings in London afford insights into past life-worlds – visual reminiscences returned to their place of origin that depict the setting of the early history of pedagogy and child analysis in “Red Vienna” of the 1920s. The multi-part installation Sospiri (Sighs) stages experiences of loss and mourning: inspired by Gerhard Richter’s work, the artist combines personal traces of life and memory in an unembellished photographic memory record.

Paul Coldwell picks up from those historical events that left the house at Berggasse 19 a “vestigial memory space”. By reconstructing antiques that once populated Freud’s desk, Coldwell revives the memory of the ambience of Sigmund Freud’s workplace. Exhibits rendered in white and reduced in size provide a visual counterpart to the grand narrative of loss and absence. Like the suitcase used by the Freuds while fleeing into exile in London in 1938, the containers in which the reproductions were shipped to Vienna also testify to a sense of departure and new beginnings.

As Sigmund Freud linked the methods of psychoanalysis to those employed by archaeologists, who today often make use of X-rays, the artist uses this method to scan a Freud fetish (Freud’s coat) and uncover the underlying content of meaning.

Part of the exhibition SETTING MEMORYis the artistic documentation of Paul Coldwell’s Balloon Releases action that took place in cooperation with students from the “Business Academy Donaustadt” in Vienna in June this year and that was devoted to visualising loss of home and migration.

Newly released artist books by Bettina von Zwehl and Paul Coldwell afford specific insights into the latest series of both artists.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.

Special exhibition, starting October 7, 2016

Psychoanalysis Video Award 2016-2017


IPA Video Award has just opened for entries! We challenge you to create a video that presents “Intimacy” in memorable and innovative ways, focusing on one of the following themes:

Family and Couples
Clinical Dynamics

The Award is open to Members and the general public and the deadline to submit your video is March 1st, 2017.

The winner will receive a cheque for $1,000USD which will be presented at the IPA Congress in Buenos Aires in July 2017. The prize will include all expenses paid for two nights, including return flight and accommodation. The winning video will be shown at the IPA Congress and published on the IPA website.

Read more at:

You can keep up to date with the contest via: #ExploreIntimacy
and the Congress via #IPABuenosAires2017

Get involved and spread the word!

Freud's response to a request to name 10 good books

"I think that a particular stress falls on the word 'good' in your phrase, and that with this predicate you intend to designate books to which one stands in rather the same relationship as to 'good' friends, to whom one owes a part of one's knowledge of life and view of the world - books which one has enjoyed oneself and gladly comments to others, but in connection with which the elements of timid reverence, the feeling of one's own smallness in relation to their greatness, is not particularly prominent.
I will therefore name ten such 'good' books for you which have come to my mind without a great deal of reflection.

- Multatuli, Letters and Works.
- Kipling, Jungle Book.
- Anatole France, Sur la pierre blanche.
- Zola, Fécondité.
- Merezhkovsky, Leonardo da Vinci.
- G. Keller, Leute von Seldwyla.
- C. F. Meyer, Huttens letzte Tage.
- Macaulay, Essays.
- Gomperz, Griechische Denker.
- Mark Twain, Sketches"

Wilfred Bion, one of the most original and intriguing psychoanalysts after Freud

Wilfred Bion (8 September 1897 – 8 November 1979) has been twinned with Jacques Lacan as "inspired bizarre analysts...who demand not that their patients get better but that they pursue Truth". 'Bion's ideas are highly unique', so that he 'remained larger than life to almost all who encountered him'. He has been considered by Neville Symington as possibly "the greatest psychoanalytic thinker...after Freud".

Born in India in 1897, W. R. Bion first came to England at the age of eight to receive his schooling. During the First World War he served in France as a tank commander and was awarded the DSO and the Legion of Honour. After reading history at Queen's College, Oxford, he studied medicine at University College, London, before a growing interest in psychoanalysis led him to undergo training analyses with John Rickman and, later, Melanie Klein. During the 1940s his attention was directed to the study of group processes, his researches culminating in the publication of a series of influential papers later produced in book-form as Experiences in Groups. Abandoning his work in this field in favour of psychoanalytic practice, he subsequently rose to the position of Director of the London Clinic of Psycho-Analysis (1956-1962) and President of the British Psycho-Analytical Society (1962-1965). From 1968 he worked in Los Angeles, returning to England two months before his death in 1979.

The unfinished film of Bion's Memoir of the Future

The unfinished movie, “A Memoir of the Future”, is based on Wilfred R. Bion’s autobiographical works, particularly A Memoir of the Future, which was a fictional portrayal of psychoanalytic experience, a dream of psychoanalysis, a psychoanalytic dream.

Meaning is revealed by the pattern formed and the light thus trapped - 
not by the structure, the carved work itself.

W.R. Bion , A Memoir of the Future, Book I.

"For Bion, the psychoanalytic encounter was itself a site of turbulence, 'a mental space for further ideas which may yet be developed'." In his unorthodox quest to maintain such "mental space", Bion "spent the final years of his long and distinguished professional life...[writing] a futuristic trilogy in which he is answerable to no one but himself. A Memoir of the Future."

Video footage of Bion's seminar at the Tavistock Centre, dating back to the mid- to late-1970s.

If we accept that "Bion introduced a new form of pedagogy in his writings...[via] the density and non-linearity of his prose", it comes perhaps to a peak here in what he himself termed "a fictitious account of psychoanalysis including an artificially constructed fiction". We may conclude at least that he achieved his stated goal therein:

"To prevent someone who KNOWS from filling the empty space".

‘Comparing my own personal experience with the history of psychoanalysis, and even the history of human thought, it does seem to be rather ridiculous that one finds oneself in a position of being supposed to be in that line of succession, instead of just one of the units in it. It is still more ridiculous that one is expected to participate in a sort of competition for precedence as to who is top. Top of what? Where does it come in this history? Where does psychoanalysis itself come? What is the dispute about? What is this dispute in which one is supposed to be interested? I am always hearing – as I always have done – that I am a Kleinian, that I am crazy; or that I am not a Kleinian, or not a psychoanalyst. Is it possible to be interested in that sort of dispute? I find it very difficult to see how this could possibly be relevant against the background of the struggle of the human being to emerge from barbarism and a purely animal existence, to something one could call a civilised society’.

Shortly before his death, reported by Francsca Bion

Selected books by W. R. Bion

Selected books on W. R. Bion

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