Freud’s 4 pm Session: Hidden Histories of British Psychoanalysis

Susanna Abse in conversation with Professor Brett Kahr. Talks are free with admission ticket.

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21 June, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Freud's Death Bed

Hidden Histories of British Psychoanalysis

A Discussion of Kahr’s latest book, Hidden Histories of British Psychoanalysis:  From Freud’s Death Bed to Laing’s Missing Tooth.


Freud Museum London and Karnac Books take great pleasure to inform you of a special “In Conversation” event to mark the publication of Professor Brett Kahr’s latest book, Hidden Histories of British Psychoanalysis:  From Freud’s Death Bed to Laing’s Missing Tooth, and to celebrate the launch of the new “Freud Museum London Series”, in which Professor Kahr’s newest title appears, alongside his previous book, Freud’s Pandemics:  Surviving Global War, Spanish Flu, and the Nazis.


Not only has Brett Kahr gifted the “Freud Museum London Series” with his book on how Sigmund Freud coped with the many pandemics of his own lifetime, ranging from anti-Semitism, two world wars, and the tragic death of his beloved middle daughter, to cancer and Nazism, but he has now completed a rich, new, beautifully-written book on various “hidden histories” of British psychoanalysis, based on his archival research and, also, on his many personal interviews with such icons as Dr. John Bowlby, Mrs. Enid Balint, Mrs. Marion Milner, Dr. Ronald Laing, and many other superstars in the field.


We are delighted to announce that Kahr will be in discussion with Susanna Abse, a Trustee of Freud Museum London and former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, to examine these “hidden histories” in more detail.


The event will be chaired by Dr. Giuseppe Albano, the Director of Freud Museum London, and by Kate Pearce, Publisher of Karnac Books, and will provide us with an opportunity to inform you of our forthcoming titles as well, including two previously unpublished memoirs by one of Sigmund Freud’s grandchildren!



Complement your visit to the Freud Museum with one of our weekly tours or talks led by staff, volunteers and guest speakers.

The talks are free with your admission ticket. Book your admission ticket now!





Susanna Abse has practised as a psychotherapist for more than thirty years, and currently works as a Consultant and Director at the Queen Anne Street Practice in Central London, specialising in couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  Between 2006-2016 she served as Chief Executive Officer of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and of Tavistock Relationships; and then, between 2018-2021, she became Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council.  She is a Trustee of both the Freud Museum London and of the Association of Infant Mental Health and, also, a Fellow of the Centre for Social Policy at Dartington and of the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, as well as the Series Co-Editor of “The Library of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis”.  Over the years, she has served on many governmental and ministerial advisory committees at the Department of Health, at the Department of Children, Schools and Families, and, also, at the Department of Work and Pensions.  She has also appeared regularly on television, promoting mental health, having presented a series about Britain on the Couch for Channel 4 News.  In 2022, she published a best-selling book, Tell Me the Truth About Love, about the art of couple psychology, now available in paperback.


Brett Kahr is Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London and, also, Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London.  Additionally, he serves as Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council and, also, as a Lifetime Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.  A trained historian as well as a clinician, he is Honorary Fellow and Honorary Director of Research at the Freud Museum London as well as Series Editor of the “Freud Museum London Series”.  A long-standing media psychologist, Professor Kahr worked for many years as Resident Psychotherapist at the British Broadcasting Corporation, and he has become a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University in recognition of his contributions to media psychoanalysis.  Professor Kahr is the author of eighteen books and the series editor of over eighty-five further titles.  His most Freud-friendly books include Life Lessons from Freud and Coffee with Freud (recently published in Chinese translation), as well as Freud’s Pandemics:  Surviving Global War, Spanish War, and the Nazis.  His next book, due for publication soon, is entitled Forensic Psychoanalysis:  From Sub-Clinical Psychopaths to Serial Killers.  A Consultant in Psychology to The Bowlby Centre and, also, a Consultant Psychotherapist at The Balint Consultancy, he works with both individuals and couples in independent practice in Holborn, in Central London.



“Based upon painstaking archival research and personal interviews with the London glitterati of psychoanalysis (e.g., John Bowlby, Enid Balint, Pearl King, R.D. Laing), Brett Kahr, the most eloquent, enlightened, and entertaining historian of psychoanalysis, offers us yet another masterpiece.  Replete with luminous and dark glimpses into the development of psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom and into the virtuosity and whims, even madnesses, of his dramatis personae, Kahr’s book is as informative as it is a pleasure to read!”


Professor Salman Akhtar, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College, and Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, whose many books include Tales of Transformation:  A Life in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and, more recently, the multi-volume Selected Papers of Salman Akhtar.


“This is a very sneaky book.  Ostensibly it is a series of tales from the history of Anglophone psychoanalysis in the twentieth century.  But, in reality, it is a readable, often funny, account by the best historian of psychoanalysis of his generation, Brett Kahr.  As much autobiography as historical account, it shows what happens when a brilliant mind meets an intractable object.  The essay on the young student Brett Kahr and R. D. Laing’s missing tooth is itself worth the price of the volume, and has the possibility of becoming the classic essay on the pitfalls of celebrity.”


Professor Sander L. Gilman, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Emory University, and author of numerous books, including Seeing the Insane:  A Cultural History of Madness and Art in the Western World and The Case of Sigmund Freud:  Medicine and Identity at the Fin de Siècle.


“Using storytelling, clinical and research tools, Brett Kahr’s sorcery brings to life several well-known personalities in the British psychoanalytic panoply – its “superstars” as well as its “bad boys”.  While profoundly respectful, Kahr’s thoughtful critique of rigorously sourced archival papers, oral history research, and personal interviews rewards the readers with much wisdom and inspiration from foundational figures of psychoanalysis.


Professor Joan Raphael-Leff, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Psychoanalysis at University College London and at the University of Essex, and Leader of the Academic Faculty of Psychoanalytic Research at the Anna Freud Centre, whose many books include Between Sessions and Beyond the Couch, and, more recently, The Marion Milner Tradition:  Lines of Development:  The Evolution of Theory and Practice Over the Decades.


“Brett Kahr has earned a reputation as the eminent narrator and in-depth analyst of the vagaries and the most protracted motifs that animate the legacy of psychoanalysis.  In an engaging and well-documented fashion, Kahr takes us back to the contingent elements that, together, gave psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom its inescapable force and necessary radiance.  Kahr’s Hidden Histories is a labour of love that in its caring attentiveness humanises the great figures on whose shoulders it stands.  Highly readable and greatly enticing, this latest addition to the Freud Museum’s and Karnac’s new promising series, will speak to professionals, historians, and the wider public alike.”


Professor Orna Ophir, Ph.D., Associate Director of The DeWitt Wallace Institute for Psychiatry, Weill-Cornell Medical College, New York, and a Member of the History of Psychoanalysis Committee of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and author of Schizophrenia:  An Unfinished History.


 The event will be held on the first floor of the Museum during regular opening hours. Unfortunately the Freud Museum does not have step-free access at this time.



21 June
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SX United Kingdom
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020 7435 2002

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