Building over four days, the course provides an insight into the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and the French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), both pioneers in the field of psychoanalysis, and the application of their concepts to contemporary clinical practice. Each day will be divided into seminar-style talks that will focus on key aspects of theory set out below, which will be underpinned by case studies and clinical exemplars. The emphasis will be on discussion and on participation.
Psychoanalysis offers mental health practitioners another mode of technique and practice that they may wish to add and integrate into their clinical work. There are several hundred psychoanalysts working throughout Ireland in a variety of health, education and social care sectors. Far from being an obscure school of thought, psychoanalysis continues to offer a particular approach to working with mental health, psychopathology, and modern life that emerges out of philosophy, the sciences, linguistics, literature, and discourse theory. This short course illustrates what psychoanalysis offers in its approach to mental life and human subjectivity.
Day 1: Introduction to Freud’s Innovations and How the Analyst Works.
This day introduces the course participants to the context to Freud’s invention of psychoanalysis and then explores language and the unconscious, dreams, the drives, the Oedipus complex and introduction to psychoanalytic listening and technique. This day sets out how psychoanalysis is distinguished from other therapeutic approaches.
Day 2: Freud on Group Psychology, Sexuality, Religion and Culture.
Building on Day 1, this day will explore Freud’s conceptions of sexuality, group psychology and his analysis of the role of religion and culture in modern life, and their usefulness and application in clinical practice. This is some of Freud’s most innovative work and offers radical perspectives on the social world, sexuality and culture.
Day 3: Lacan on Desire and the Speaking Subject.
Augmented by the Freudian foundation developed over the first two days, this day will explore Lacan’s re-assessment of the Freudian subject as the “speaking subject,” the question of desire, the three orders of the symbolic, imaginary and real, and clinical diagnosis as “structure.” This day, in addition to day 4, will unpack some of Lacan key concepts and show their clinical and practical relevance.
Day 4: Lacan on Diagnosis and the Clinical Structures.
The Lacanian diagnostic structures of hysteria, obsessional neurosis, psychosis and perversion and their clinical applications are explored in detail. A variety of case studies and exemplars, including modern symptoms described as “borderline,” will set out and illustrate these different clinical categories and how they also encapsulate modern symptoms and syndromes.