The Freud Museum


Can we do an 'Archaeology of Conflict' Project at our school or college?

Yes! And there are many reasons why you should...

We hope other schools and colleges will recognise the benefit of running such a project and that more A-level and GCSE students will have the opportunity to actively engage with the topics and techniques the project deals with. The workshops in the attached teachers’ pack were specifically designed for A-level Psychology students; however, they could be easily adapted to explore similar themes within other subjects such as Theatre Studies or English Literature. Along with the background information, these worksheets will enable an A-level Psychology teacher to run part one of this project.

The main function of these workshops is to learn about psychoanalytic tools of inquiry and the psychological effects of conflict. Understanding trauma and psychological injury and overcoming the fear of talking openly about this and with sufferers was a profound attitudinal and behavioural advancement for the students and one not to be overlooked due to the pressures of curricular learning. We found that running this project at South Camden Community School increased the interest of the students in pursuing psychology at University.

Although psychoanalysis began as a tool for alleviating emotional suffering, it is not only a therapy. It is, in addition, a method for learning about the mind, and also a theory, a way of understanding the processes of normal everyday mental functioning and the stages of development from infancy to old age. With this in mind, the process of studying the life of someone with psychological injury and understanding the traumas and events in the context of an entire psychological development from childhood, is an eye-opening experience.

The project also makes Freud, a founding figure in psychological exploration, a more intriguing and complex character. It introduces students to the cultural relevance of his work on ‘War Neurosis’ as well as the ongoing challenges in this area, currently understood and misunderstood as ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’.

Although these workshops can stand alone without the recording of psychoanalytically influenced interviews with war veterans suffering from psychological injury, the learning result would be less experiential, and therefore less profound. We recommend taking the time to contact veterans and set up real interviews. Our experience has shown that those veterans who will volunteer for a project like this are pleased to talk about their experiences and touched by the interest and sensitivity of young people, who many of the veterans more generally believe are ignorant or disinterested. Also attached is a copy of the museum’s ‘letter to the veterans’ which explains the situation for which they are volunteering. 

“There are many challenges involved in running a project like this, however they are all overcome by the benefits. This project not only makes Psychology real for students, it also endows them with a perspective of their responsibility for the psychological wellbeing of others and the tools to sensitively engage with others across generational and cultural barriers." Project Officer

Letter to veterans


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