The Freud Museum

Events Archive

3 December 2011
9.30am - 5pm


Day Conference

A podcast is available for this event on our iTunes page.


At the Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA

This conference investigates adult love by bringing together the worlds of psychoanalysis, literature, and performance. The most sublime, exhilarating and painful of emotions, love puzzles the intellect and almost defies description. It motivates the best and worst of us, overwhelming us with the ferocity of its demands, while thwarted love and perverse love are at the heart of much violent behaviour and neurotic suffering.

Psychoanalysis unlocks the mystery of love by tracing its roots to childhood. The conference will be of interest to anyone involved in adult psychotherapy or counselling, and anyone who has ever been in love.


Lisa Appignanesi (Chair)
All About Love: Introductory Remarks

Bernard Barnett
Psychoanalytic Love, Real Love and Love in Anna Karenina (abstract)

David Morgan
Destroying the Knowledge of the Need for Love: The Perverse and Addictive Transference (abstract)

Anna Furse
When I touch the keys my flesh melts: On writing Don Juan.Who? (abstract)

Estela Welldon
The Dangers of First Love (abstract)


Lisa Appignanesi was born in Poland and grew up in France and Canada. A novelist and writer, she is chair of the Freud Museum and a former deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. She is the author of many books, fiction and non-fiction, including The things we do for love (a novel, 1997), Freud’s Women (with John Forrester, 1992) and Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present (2008). Her most recent book is All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion (2011).

Bernard Barnett is now at a stage of semi-retirement after a long career as an adult and child analyst during which he was deeply immersed in psychoanalytic training and administration. He has enjoyed a career-long interest in Winnicott and five years as Director of the Squiggle Foundation. Of his current preoccupations he writes: ‘In this, the twilight of my career, I find myself returning to my earlier love of reading and teaching literature. I also having fun trying to integrate psychoanalytic and literary ideas’.

David Morgan is a Psychoanalyst in private practice and Consultant Psychotherapist at the Portman Clinic. David teaches and runs workshops in the UK and Internationally. His publications include: Violence, Perversion and Delinquency, co-edited with Stanley Ruszczynsky (Karnac) and Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Perverse and Addictive Transference.

Anna Furse is a writer and theatre director whose works have frequently returned to themes of the body. Her award-winning Augustine (Big Hysteria) in 1991 explored an imagined triangle between Freud, Charcot and his celebrated patient, Augustine. An early pioneer of feminist performance, her controversial Dirt in 1993 explored ' the theatre of sex and the sex of theatre', comparing the sex industry performer to the actress. She has also created a range of projects on reproduction technologies in a cycle of live and radio works The Art of A.R.T. Her doctorate thesis Her Body Spectacular, contextualises a range of her research in the context of the clinical gaze and its prosthetic extension through photography, cinema and imaging technologies. She is Reader at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is Head of the Department of Theatre and Performance and directs the MA in Performance Making. She is founder and Artistic Director of Athletes of the Heart

Estela Welldon is a psychotherapist who worked for many years at the Portman Clinic and in private practice. She is the founder of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She is the author of Mother, Madonna Whore, the Idealization and Denigration of Motherhood (1988); Sadomasochism (2002) and main editor of A Practical Guide to Forensic Psychotherapy (1997). Her latest publication is Playing with Dynamite: A Personal Approach to the Understanding of Perversions, Violence and Criminality (2011)



Bernard Barnett
In my paper I will discuss the nature of love (and to a lesser extent of hate) and take a fresh look at the psychoanalytic relationship and especially the the paradox of psychoanalytic love. I will draw on the work of Freud, Winnicott, Shakespeare, Hardy and especially Tolstoy and with the use of material from one of my own patients, I will explore a few of the many different kinds of love and arrive at some tentative conclusions.

David Morgan
In my paper I will look at the issues of patients who avoid true intimacy and loving relationships for the certainties of perverse or addictive behaviours or relationships. The struggle to move from these ancien regimes to more democratic and human ways of relating will be explored. There will be reference to political and social manifestations of this dynamic as well as the clinical setting.

Anna Furse
The theatre production Don Juan.Who?/Don Juan.Kdo? (Athletes of the Heart with Mladinsko, Ljubljana and Riverside Studios 2008) was created in an especially assembled private 'cyberstudio' where geographically dispersed collaborators wrote confessionally and anonymously for 18 months to produce a performance text on the Don Juan archetype. An online masquerade, the project aimed to get under the skin of PC and reveal how the nomadic, priapic, irresponsible seducer lurks in women - and men's - minds. As the company met weekly to write on this theme, the actual erotic of the writing process began to reveal itself, as well the pleasure in cross-dressing at will, being interrupted, merging with others, and getting lost in the 'ballroom' of cyberspace.

Estela Welldon
The first love between mother and baby will forever mark future encounters and relationships. Mother-baby love has a unique characteristic in that both parties are involved not only psychologically but also biologically. The possibility exists of a mutual and reciprocal experience of blissful and satisfying union. The expectation is of ‘unconditional love’. This is the situation in the perfect world, however things are not that simple and uncomplicated. In this talk we shall be addressing failures of that 1st love leading to violent relationships and escalating to forensic cases. Using clinical examples from both forensic and non-forensic psychotherapy this paper will show how the first experiences of love mark people for future love encounters, and how new patterns of loving can be established.




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