The Freud Museum

Events Archive

26 September 2015
9.30am - 5.30pm

THE UNCONSCIOUS TODAY

International Interdisciplinary Conference

Celebrating the centenary of the publication of Freud’s paper ‘The Unconscious’

Freud’s insistence that ‘the mind’ is not synonymous with ‘consciousness’ was still considered radical in his day. However, decades of research conducted beyond the couch have lent overwhelming support to the notion that most of our mental activity is of a non-conscious type, making it one of the most fundamental assumptions in contemporary psychology and neuroscience.

This conference brings together various ways of thinking about the unconscious, to revisit some of Freud’s original proposals and examine their current status.

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

SESSION 1:
THE UNCONSCIOUS AND THE BRAIN
Chaired by David Tuckett

Mark Solms (psychoanalyst and neuroscientist)
The Id is Not Unconscious [Abstract]

SESSION 2: 
THE UNCONSCIOUS AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF EVERYDAY LIFE
Chaired by Katerina Fotopoulou

David Tuckett (psychoanalyst)
Conviction Narrative Theory: Bringing Modern Psychoanalysis into the Heart of Economics and Decision Science [Abstract]

SESSION 3: 
THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS REVISITED
Chairperson: TBA

Salman Akhtar (psychoanalyst and psychiatrist)
14 Proposals in Freud’s ‘The Unconscious’: Current Status [Abstract]
(pre-recorded video lecture)

Anouchka Grose (Lacanian psychoanalyst)
Language and the Unconscious [Abstract]

SESSION 4:
THE UNCONSCIOUS AND THE BODY
Chaired by Mark Solms

Katerina Fotopoulou (neuroscientist)
The Embodied Relational Unconscious [Abstract]

SPEAKERS' BIOGRAPHIES

Mark Solms is a psychoanalyst and neuropsychologist, widely reported to have first coined the term Neuro-Psychoanalysis, a rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary scholarship and research aiming to provide bridges between the neurosciences and psychoanalytic theory. He is Professor in Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), Honorary Lecturer in Neurosurgery at St Bartholomew’s and Royal London School of Medicine, Director of the Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and Chair of the Research Committee of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He is President of the South African Psychoanalytical Association, Associate Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society, Honorary Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, and Member of the South African Clinical Neuropsychology Association and of the British Neuropsychological Society. He is a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and Honorary Fellow of the American College of Psychoanalysts and of the American College of Psychiatrists. He has won many prestigious awards, including the Sigourney Award, and has authored a multitude of chapters, articles and books including A moment of Transition: Two Neuroscientific Articles by Sigmund Freud (1990), The Neuropsychology of Dreams: A Clinico-Anatomical Study. (1997), Clinical Studies in Neuro-Psychoanalysis, with (K Kaplan-Solms, 2000) and, with Oliver Turnball, The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience (2002). He was founding editor of the journal Neuropsychoanalysis.

Salman Akhtar MD, is a world-renowned psychoanalyst and psychiatrist and one of the most creative and prolific psychoanalytic writers. He was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Centre of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He has delivered many prestigious addresses and lectures and is recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, which include the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Best Paper of the Year Award (1995), the Margaret Mahler Literature Prize (1996), the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians’ Sigmund Freud Award (2000), the American College of Psychoanalysts’ Laughlin Award (2003), the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Edith Sabshin Award (2000), Columbia University’s Robert Leibert Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Psychoanalysis (2004), the American Psychiatric Association’s Kun Po Soo Award (2004), Irma Bland Award for being the Outstanding Teacher of Psychiatric Residents in the US (2005), and the Sigourney Award (2012). Dr Akhtar is an internationally sought speaker and teacher, and his books have been translated into many languages. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

Aikaterini (Katerina) Fotopoulou PhD is Senior Lecturer at the Psychoanalysis Unit, Psychology and Language Sciences Division, UCL and Research Affiliate at the UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her current research projects focus on body feelings, sensorimotor signals and related body representations in healthy individuals and in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders of body awareness; she is interested in psychological and neural mechanisms by which our interoceptive body feelings, as well as multimodal representations of the body, are influenced by internalised social expectations, on-line interactions with other people and by neuropeptides known to enhance social feelings. These studies point to unique neural mechanisms by which our bodies are interpersonally ‘mentalised’ and perceived to form the basis of our selves. Katerina is the Director of the London Neuropsychoanalysis Centre and runs the London Neuropsychoanalysis Group on: ‘Psychodynamic Neuroscience and Neuropsychology’. With Conway and Pfaff, she is co-editor of the volume From the Couch to the Lab: Trends in Psychodynamic Neuroscience (2012). In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious British Neuropsychological Society’s Early Career Award, The Elizabeth Warrington Prize, as well as the Clifford Yorke Prize (2006) by the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society, for Early Career Contributions to the field, and the Papanicolaou Prize in a joined meeting of the World Hellenic Biomedical Society and the Hellenic Medical Society of Britain. Katerina is also finishing her Clinical Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council and leading to eligibility for Professional Chartership.

Anouchka Grose is a Lacanian psychoanalyst and writer practising in London. She is a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, where she regularly lectures. She is the author of No More Silly Love Songs: a Realist’s Guide to Romance (Portobello, 2010) and Are you Considering Therapy? (Karnac, 2011), and is the editor of 'Hysteria Today', a collection of essays to be published by Karnac later this year. She also writes for The Guardian and teaches at Camberwell School of Art.

David Tuckett is a psychoanalyst, Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty at UCL in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, as well as a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He trained in Economics, Medical Sociology and Psychoanalysis and currently divides his time between clinical practice and research – since winning a 2006 Leverhulme Research fellowship for a "psychoanalytic study of investment markets" he has been collaborating with a range of colleagues in economics, finance, psychology, social anthropology, computer science and neuroscience to introduce psychoanalytical understanding to behaviour in the financial markets and the economy more generally. His book Minding the Markets: An Emotional Finance View of Financial Instability was published in New York and London by Palgrave Macmillan in June 2011 and a further monograph written with Professor Richard Taffler (University of Warwick School of Management) entitled “Fund Management: An Emotional Finance Perspective” was published by the Research Foundation of CFA Institute. Prior to this he received the 2007 Sigourney Award for distinguished contributions to the field of psychoanalysis. He has published books and articles in sociology, psychoanalysis, economics, and finance and is a former President of the European Psychoanalytic Federation, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Principal of the Health Education Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge.

 

ABSTRACTS:

Mark Solms - 'The Id is Not Unconscious'
Mark will present neuroscientific evidence to support his argument that the mental functions Freud called ‘id’ are not unconscious! He will discuss some implications of this argument for what psychoanalysts and psychotherapists do clinically.

PLEASE NOTE: No knowledge of neuropsychology or brain anatomy is assumed! The talk will be accessible to audience of all backgrounds and accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

Salman Akhtar - '14 Proposals in Freud’s ‘The Unconscious’: Current Status' (video lecture pre-recorded for the occasion, live discussion TBC)
Salman will revisit some of Freud’s most central claims regarding the nature of the unconscious and examine their current status within and beyond psychoanalysis.

Anouchka Grose - 'Language and the Unconscious'
Anouchka will respond to Salman’s talk from a contemporary Lacanian perspective, with a particular emphasis on the role of the language.

Katerina Fotopoulou - 'The Embodied Relational Unconscious'
The Freudian Unconscious was closely related to the mental representation of the body, and particularly the satisfaction of its biological needs. Katerina Fotopoulou will talk about 'the embodied relational unconscious', discussing certain classical and contemporary psychoanalytic insights on the unconscious that shed light on contemporary clinical and neuro-scientific findings. Among other fascinating things, we will learn about the psychological mechanisms by which body feelings are influenced by internalised social expectations and interactions; how bodies are interpersonally mentalised and perceived to form the basis of ourselves.

David Tuckett - 'Conviction Narrative Theory: Bringing Modern Psychoanalysis into the Heart of Economics and Decision Science'
David Tuckett will take us on a fascinating journey through modern psychopathology of everyday life, demonstrating the paramount importance of the unconscious processes in problem-solving and decision-making, with a particular emphasis on the psychology of financial behaviour. Arguing that the human mind was designed to make decisions under uncertainty, he will explore the compelling stories consumers and investors constantly make up, to contain a range of emotional experiences and he will explain how these narratives of 'conviction' affect the wider economy.

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