The Freud Museum

Events Archive

8 February 2014
9.30am - 5.00pm


Psychoanalytic Perspectives

This conference is a bid to answer the question “What can psychoanalysis offer in the understanding and treatment of Dementia?” and is addressed to people with dementia, their carers, psychotherapists of all orientations and other health professionals. We will explore a broad range of topics, connected to theory, research and therapeutic interventions, as well as discuss the stigma and apparent collective repression surrounding the subject.

Themes include:

Psychoanalytic theories of memory, emotion and mental fragmentation
Self-awareness? The nature of the unconscious processes in dementia
Safety blankets and containers? Carers’ emotional roller-coaster
Psychoanalytically-informed therapeutic interventions and programmes
Delusions, confabulations, persecutory anxiety, projective identification, etc.
Psychosomatic defences against pain and despair
The stigma surrounding dementia – collective repression?

We hope that the audience will be inspired by the experience of psychoanalysts who spend hours every day listening attentively to other people – immersed in thoughts and emotions, and attuned to the intra- and inter-psychic dynamics that they manage to interpret and work through. We believe that psychoanalytically informed ideas can offer an important framework for understanding the experience of dementia, and that the progressive character of the condition means that making sense of the unconscious processes, powerful emotions and interpersonal dynamics becomes the most important aspect of coping with it.




ANDREW BALFOUR is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Director of Clinical Services at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, a centre of excellence for psychodynamic relationship therapy. He originally studied English Literature before training as a clinical psychologist at University College London, and then as an adult psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and as a couple psychotherapist at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) where he currently works. He worked for many years in the adult department of the Tavistock Clinic where he specialised in old age. He has published a number of papers and has taught and lectured widely both in Britain and abroad. Having been working for some time with Professor Peter Hobson and Dr Jessica Hobson from the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust and UCL, he is currently leading an innovative project at TCCR, with funding from Camden Council's 'Innovation Fund', to develop and trial a new intervention for couples where one person has had a diagnosis of dementia. The project's focus is upon increasing the carer's sense of understanding, emotional contact and communication with their partner, to improve the life experience and mental health of spouse carers and people with dementia, and to transform the psychological health provision available to older couples living with dementia. With Mary Morgan, he edited a book How Couple Relationships Shape our World: Clinical Practice, Research, and Policy Perspective (2012) and was a contributing author to Looking Into Later Life: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Depression and Dementia in Old Age (2007), edited by Rachel Davenhill, both books were published by Karnac.

RACHAEL DAVENHILL is a psychoanalyst, Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Director of Age Matters. She was formerly Head of the Old Age Unit at the Tavistock Clinic where she founded and ran the 2 year CPD course 'Psychodynamic Approaches to Old Age'. She developed 'Telling It Like It Is', a psychoanalytically informed psychotherapeutic support service for people with dementia, couples and families as part of the Age Matters Clinic. Until 2012, she was Visiting Clinical Psychologist, Dementia Research Centre, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. She is Consultant/Visiting Clinician, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. Publications include: Looking Into Later Life: A Psychodynamic Approach to Depression and Dementia in Old Age (2007, Karnac) and, with Matthew Patrick, Rethinking Clinical Audit: The Case of Psychotherapy Services in the NHS (1998.).

SANDRA EVANS is a Consultant Psychiatrist MHCOP, East London NHS Foundation Trust, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Chair of the Older Adults Section of the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the NHS; Senior Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry and Mental Health Care for Older People and Associate Dean for Psychiatry at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London; She is also an IGA-trained group analyst, a Member of the Group Analytic Network in East London. Dr Evans is a leading expert and advocate for psychodynamic approaches in old age psychiatry and has written extensively on dementia from both theoretical and clinical perspectives, underscoring the relevance of psychoanalytic ideas to the condition, as well as to the various problems faced by the mental health and caring organizations faced with the problem of dementia. She co-edited Talking Over the Years: A Handbook of Dynamic Psychotherapy with Older Adults (2004), published by Routledge.

DR JANE GARNER is a Consultant Psychiatrist with years of experience in old age psychiatry and founding member and Secretary of the Older Adults Section of the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the NHS and former Secretary of the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She is currently Non-excutive Director at Innovations in Dementia community interest company based in Exeter and working nationally with people with dementia, partner organisations and professionals, with the aim of developing and testing projects that will enhance the lives of people with dementia. Her psychoanalytically-informed moving and compassionate papers on dementia illustrate the complexity of the processes involved in the condition.

PENNY GARNER is Founder and Clinical Director at Contented Dementia Trust. Penny’s work began as a direct result of her earlier experience gained whilst caring for her mother Dorothy, who was suffering from dementia. She then launched SPECAL as an independent charity based in the old community hospital in 2002, with the aim of promoting lifelong well-being for people with dementia. Penny has developed and refined a dedicated method of managing dementia called SPECAL, underpinned by the Photograph Album – an accessible tool to explain how memory works, the impact of ageing and a significant change introduced by dementia. It is described in detail in Contented Dementia, the best-selling book by Oliver James. Penny now lectures both at home and abroad and is currently developing a full Practitioner Training Programme to ensure her knowledge, skills and experience are passed onto others for the future.

OLIVER TURNBULL is a neuropsychologist and a clinical psychologist, Professor at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, and Pro Vice-Chancellor at Bangor University. He is the immediate past Editor of the Journal Neuropsychoanalysis, as well as Secretary of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society, founded with the aim of reconciling psychoanalytic and neuroscientific perspectives on the mind. He was the recipient of the Clifford Yorke Prize in 2004. With Mark Solms, he wrote a book The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience (2002) published by Karnac and was a contributing editor to From the Couch to the Lab: Trends in Psychodynamic Neuroscience (2012) published by Oxford University Press.

His wide-ranging research interests revolve around emotion and its many consequences for mental life, in particular the role of emotion in shaping cognition; emotion-based learning, and emotional aspects of memory and false beliefs. Among other things, he wrote about preserved emotion-based learning in Alzheimer’s disease.

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