Psychoanalysis for the People: Free Clinics and the Social Mission of Psychoanalysis


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24 July, 2:00 pm - 25 July, 5:00 pm

£20 – £45

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This conference takes place on 24 and 25 July, 2-5pm each day. Ticket holders automatically receive the recording of the event 24 hours after the close of the conference and have access for 30 days. All times are in British Summer Time. If you live outside the UK, please check the time difference.

In 1918 Freud placed the free clinic at the heart of psychoanalytic thought and practice, and predicted that out-patient clinics would be started where treatment would be free.

His speech resonated with many psychoanalysts of his time, who were invested in the social mission of psychoanalysis and who were the authors of significant institutional innovations, setting up free and low-cost clinics in Vienna, Berlin and Budapest.

This conference starts from the premise that the more recent progressive histories of psychoanalysis remain little known among therapeutic practitioners. They are rarely written about in the professional literature or taught on trainings. Yet there is a rich tradition of psychoanalytic theory and practice which engages with the realities of social inequality based on class, gender, poverty, racism, and other forms of marginalisation. We aim to explore and recognise these socially-minded psychoanalytic practices, drawing on the experience of psychoanalysts working in free and low cost clinics in very different contexts, from Latin America, Africa, North America and Europe, through to the UK National Health Service. We ask what “psychoanalysis for the people” might mean in our times, more than 100 years after Freud’s famous speech.

Speakers: Joanna Ryan, Lisa Baraitser, Raluca Soreanu, Barry Watt, Geraldine Ryan, Christine Diercks, Daniel Gaztambide, Peter Nevins, Graham Music, Martin Moore, Emiliano de Camargo David, Frank Lowe, Aldo Zaiden

Keynote lecture: Tales Ab’Sáber (A Social Clinic as an Immanent Development of Psychoanalytic Theory: The Open Psychoanalysis Clinic)

This is the second of two conferences exploring socially engaged psychoanalytic practice. The first part took place on 16th and 17th January 2021.


Click here for the full programme: Psychoanalysis for the People, Part II

SATURDAY 24th JULY, 2pm – 5pm


Diversity of Practices & Shared Vocabularies

Joanna Ryan, Lisa Baraitser and Raluca Soreanu
Why a conference on social clinics? Constructing a Vocabulary, Collectivising Practices 

Keynote Speech
Tales Ab’Sáber
A Social Clinic as an Immanent Development of Psychoanalytic Theory: The Open Psychoanalysis Clinic

Discussion of Tales Ab’Sáber’s paper, with a special contribution from Aldo Zaiden

The Free Clinic: Independent Practices around the World (Part 2)

Barry Watt
Psychotherapy Without Shelter: Elements of Working Psychoanalytically with the Homeless Community in East London

Geraldine Ryan
“As Long As It Doesn’t Say Therapy On The Tin…….”

Emiliano de Camargo David
The Psychoanalytic Free Clinic: An Integral Part of the Psychosocial Care Network of the Public Health System in Brazil

Workshop/roundtable discussion

SUNDAY 25th JULY, 2pm – 5.15pm

Independent Local Practices: Free Clinics in Historical Perspective and in Our Time

Christine Diercks
The Vienna Psychoanalytic Free Clinic – Wiener Psychoanalytisches Ambulatorium (1922-1938 and since 1999)

Daniel Gaztambide
Set the couch on fire: Returning to Freud’s unconscious as a new foundation for psychoanalysis

Peter Nevins
Throwing the rule book out of the window

Workshop/Roundtable discussion

Re-Thinking Psychoanalysis in an NHS Context

Graham Music
Moles in our holes? Venturing into the unknown from the safety of the consulting room.

Martin Moore
‘But it is not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers’: the National Health Service, general practice and “free” care, 1948-1966.

Frank Lowe
Taking psychotherapy to disadvantaged communities

Workshop/Roundtable discussion


A limited number of bursary tickets at £15 are available for people receiving UK benefits, users of NHS mental health services, or overseas colleagues who need financial assistance. To apply for a bursary, please contact Sarah Isherwood [email protected], If you cannot afford to pay any of the above, please let us know.


Organised by: Raluca Soreanu & Joanna Ryan

Supported by: The Waiting Times Project (Wellcome Trust, PIs Lisa Baraitser and Laura Salisbury) and Balint Groups Project (Wellcome Trust, PI Raluca Soreanu).



24 July, 2:00 pm
25 July, 5:00 pm
£20 – £45
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