Events 2021 On Line

We might describe this moment we are in as the intersectional turn where deeper and more rigorous thought and dialogue around race, class, gender, privilege and racial capitalism are considered as part of the psychic and therapeutic landscape. What will future therapeutic practice, pedagogy and thought need to engage with if it is to unbuckle itself from the neoliberal project, to extend the curriculum and therapeutic practice.

This will be a series of events where intersectionality and the political turn will be considered in the company of a range of thinkers and practitioners. This programme will develop as events are organised.

The Sunday Papers

The Sunday papers is an opportunity to gather in small groups to reflect on and discuss a particular paper or chapter.

The next paper is: Attacks on linking: The unconscious pull to dissociate individuals from their social context by Lynne Layton. A pdf of the chapter will be sent out to you once you have registered for your place.

I feel strongly that clinical theory and practice have to figure out how to re-establish the links between the psychic and the social that dominant ideologies work tirelessly to unlink. Somehow we have to find a way to allow the passion for civic life to take its rightful place beside work and love in the clinic.

Lynne Layton

This paper offers us an opportunity to reflect on attacks on linking (and thinking) as we encounter them in and out of the consulting room.

Having read the chapter, we will meet to hear 3 people share their responses to the chapter before meeting in small groups to reflect on our responses to the paper. What clinical examples would you add?  How do you experience and perceive these attacks on linking from your particular location in this moment?

Abstract: Explores the way a Western cultural norm that separates the individual from the social is enacted both by the psychoanalytic profession as a whole and by patient and therapist in the clinical encounter. The chapter focuses on a vignette in which a patient discusses her political views and both therapist and patient become anxious about whether or not they are properly doing therapy. Layton suggests that the very norms that cause psychic damage in the first place are often upheld and reinforced in treatment repetition compulsions that involve both patient and therapist. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

The paper can also be found in the following books:

L. Layton, N. C. Hollander, & S. Gutwill (Eds.) (2006). Psychoanalysis, class and politics: Encounters in the clinical setting (pp. 107–117). Routledge. 

Toward a Social Psychoanalysis: Culture, Character, and Normative Unconscious Processes
By Lynne Layton, Marianna Leavy-Sperounis

Further reading:

Lynne Layton: Relational thinking from culture to couch and couch to culture.

Date & time: Sunday 28th November 2021. 4-6pm
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here ( For TRS members only):Tickets

Past Events

Screening, Reflections & Discussion: White Right: Meeting the Enemy

From the website: “When Deeyah Khan was six, her father took her to her first anti-racism rally.  A Pakistani immigrant to Norway, he promised her that things would get better and that the skinhead gangs that terrorised their family and families like them would soon find themselves relics of past prejudices, that bigotry belonged in history, that tomorrow would be a more tolerant time. Three decades on, and we’re still waiting for tomorrow.

With a US president propagating anti-Muslim propaganda, the far-right gaining ground in German elections, hate crime rising in the UK, and divisive populist rhetoric infecting political and public discourse across western democracies, Deeyah Khan’s WHITE RIGHT: MEETING THE ENEMY asks why”.

Once you have registered for your place there will be two options for viewing the film. (The film is 55 minutes long). 

  1. For those of you who want to share an embodiment near experience of watching the film together, we invite you to follow the link that you will be sent to view the film and begin watching it at 3pm.  We will then gather at 4.15pm to reflect on the film together, initially in small groups then in the larger group.
  2. The second option – you will be sent a link on October 24th to watch the film in the week leading up to the 31st of October – then you can join the Zoom meeting for discussion and reflection on Sunday 31st October at 4.15pm.

We will finish at 6pm having reflected on what this film has to offer relational thinking and practice.

Date & time: Sunday 31st of Oct for film screening, discussion and reflection. 3-6pm.
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here (For TRS members only):Tickets

Freud’s lesbian patient reconsidered 100 years on (aka Sidonie’s Freudian analyst).

Considering a book: Freud’s Famous Case of Female Homosexuality: The Story of Sidonie C by Ines Rieder & Diana Voigt

Jane Czyzselska in conversation with Judy Yellin

When Freud wrote his paper on a young lesbian patient who was sent to him by her father for what today would be termed conversion therapy, he had no idea that his patient would still desire women into her hundredth year, and that one day, she would get to tell her own story. In the decades since the paper was first published in 1920, psychoanalysts and scholars alike have wondered who the unnamed patient was. Now a new publication of the patient’s biography has solved the mystery, providing insights into her fascinating life before during and after her analysis.

In a chance meeting with the author in Vienna in 2014, TRS exec member Jane Czyzselska discovered that her grandmother was one of the patient’s lovers. Join Jane as she reflects with Judy Yellin on lesbianism, psychoanalysis, relationality, intergenerational trauma and ancestral healing.

Jane’s review of the book can be found ☞ here

Date & time: Sunday 19th September 2021 4-6pm
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here (members only):Tickets


“The exploration of this alternative mode of cognition, ideologically suppressed in ourselves, yet still a living force amidst large majorities…”   Sylvia Wynter (1976)

“I concede only that I know nothing. I can only insist persistently that these fugitive musings on the Blackness of it all, the Black feminism of it all, the queerness of it all, are in the interest of saying things that have long been said but saying them differently, in hopes that some of y’all might get on board with this stuff that’s been circulating for a while”. Fred Moten

Foluke Taylor and Robert Downes will be evoking:   ‘Other-Wise’.    

There has been a significant absence of deep study when it comes to the construct of race, embodied racialised trauma and what Resmaa Menakem calls ‘white body supremacy’ in the field of psychotherapy.  So we evoke on going study as a personal and collective practice, as an ethical practice of more fully humanising and disrupting the therapeutic project.  The primary resource for much of what has been gathered for this ‘other-wise’ project comes from black feminisms.  

To deal with race, racism and the lie of whiteness is to deal with trauma, embodied racialised trauma – so we come to this day mindful of black feminist ethics and practices of care, a recognition that we are always in the problem, ‘in the wake’ as Christina Sharpe describes it.

There is much talk of decolonising the curriculum these days. So what might that talk be infused with if we are to practice and think and study ‘Other-Wise’?  If we take the technology of race and unravel from it and the ways it has shaped the landscape of psychotherapeutic thought, teaching and practice –  what might emerge if we truly engage with other modes of embodied cognition, wisdoms and practices beyond the usual suspects and traditions?  What might abolition look like in this field of thought and practice?

Drawing from their own particular carrier bags of theory and practice, (see Ursula Le Guin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Literature) Foluke and Robert will share some of what they have gathered to inform unravellings and reckonings from within the enclosure(s) of race. Working with a definition of race as ‘technology’* they introduce various other-wise technologies of thought and practice aimed at extending the reach, register, resonance, disruption and inclusivity of the therapeutic project. 

(* Taken from Black Quantum Futurism: Space Time Collapse from Congo to the Carolinas). ​​​​​​​

Key Technologies: Black feminisms, critical theory, relational psychoanalytix, poetry, art, music, philosophy, abolition, the implicated subject, poesis, trouble, somatics, empire mind, study, the undercommons, the wake, haunting. 

You will be invited to participate via a range of practices and reflective exercises following the reading of their paper:  Re-imagining the Space and Context for a Therapeutic Curriculum – A Sketch

There is also a website resource to accompany this project of practicing, thinking and imagining ‘other-wise’ that you can engage with. 

Date & time: Sunday 21 March 3-6pm GMT
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here: ☞ Tickets

Foluke Taylor –  psychotherapist, writer, teacher, and parent. She seeks to create spaces where therapy, poetics, creative writing, and activism converge as interconnected experiments in being and living otherwise. She is deeply nourished by Black feminism and tries to live her life through its ethical guidance. Currently, she teaches on trauma at NAOS Institute, and on Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) within the faculty of Applied Social and Organisational Sciences at the Metanoia Institute. Recent publications include a bio-mythography How the Hiding Seek (2018), and As Much Space as We Can Imagine: Black Presence in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2019). She has contributed a chapter to What is Normal? published by Confer in November 2020 and is currently completing a book on the development of a Black therapist’s praxis for PCCS Books.

Robert Downes – practices as a psychotherapist, supervisor,educator and student engaged in critical psychological study drawing from a range of traditions: queer theory, black studies, critical theory, intersectional feminisms, relational psychoanalysis, Marxism(s) alongside the spiritual teachings and practices of the Diamond Approach, the music of Björk & Erykah Badu accompanied by a 20 year long dialogue and extensive hedge school study with friend and colleague, Foluke Taylor.  Robert is currently chair of The Relational School.

The Sunday Papers

The Sunday papers is an opportunity to gather in small groups to reflect on and discuss a particular paper or chapter. It doesn’t necessarily need to take place on a Sunday – we want to invite self organising around this activity so that there are several options.

There might be a paper you want to read with others, think through with others. So you suggest it on the list and see if there are people who want to join you then you set a date. We can make the TRS zoom account available if need be.

The exec will organise a first one to get us started. The first paper is:

Who’s Responsible? Our Mutual Implication in Each Other’s Suffering by Lynne Layton

Abstract: In this paper, I examine the social and psychological roots of what I call neoliberal subjectivity, a version of contemporary subjectivity marked by a repudiation of vulnerability that has arisen from the social, economic, and political milieu of the past 30 years. The defense mechanisms involved in such a repudiation cause a decline in empathic capacities and in the capacity to experience ourselves as re- sponsible and accountable for the suffering of others. I look at the way conflicts in the area of accountability and responsibility are lived both within our patients and within the interaction between patient and analyst. I argue that contemporary definitions of empathy normalize the repudiation of vulnerability and thereby foster an experience of empathy in which one can sustain a safe distance from the suffering other and not hold oneself accountable. A two-way version of empathy that counters neoliberal trends requires that we examine the ways we seek refuge in identifications that distance us from vulnerability, and it requires us to recognize the harm we inflict when we do so.

Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19:105–120, 2009 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1048-1885 print / 1940-9222 online DOI: 10.1080/10481880902779695.

Date & time: 28 February 2021 5-7pm
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here (TRS members only):Tickets

Write Into This Moment

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature. What we have been forced to leave behind we needed to leave behind. What is getting us through is what we will need to take forward, all the rest is up to us. DREAM. While [you] have so much time. DREAM of the life you want. DREAM of the world you desire to exist in. Look for the places in your new dreams that have parts of the old world and remove them. What is the dream then? From there we can add to the collective weaving of whatever it is that is next. If we are gonna heal, let it be glorious.”

Sonya Renee Taylor

“My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

In the last year the world as we knew it was radically altered. This invites us to reconsider, to think about what we do, why we do it and how. This gathering on zoom will be an opportunity to come together and make a connection with the TRS membership through sharing pieces of writing: prose, poetry, lists, whatever takes your fancy – there is no formal requirement.

You can bring either your words or words of others that speak to you and this moment, a moment that is made up of a complexity of interwoven human realities that are impacting on our lives, our practice and our discourse regarding relational perspectives and practices.

The idea for this event was inspired by the LA Review of Books Quarantine Files. A group of thinkers were invited by Brad Evans to write into this COVID19 moment. Evans writes in the intro:

‘I therefore had the simple intuition there were probably others who wanted to respond, but also not simply in isolation. What I have also discovered is that they too had doubts. Some initially committed and then withdrew for reasons all too understandable. What was the point of saying anything right now? Should we not spend more time reflecting on the significance? Might we not simply reaffirm our own privileged positions? Worse still, might our interventions come across as parasitic to the virus?’

I couldn’t find the words to do justice to this unfolding tragedy, except to repeat the warnings from history and the need to be vigilant to its political effects. I now see my inertia was revealing of a deeper fear and a sense of foreboding: that of being alone, writing alone.

Brad Evans, LARB

The gathering will provide an opportunity to bear witness to this complex moment that we are in as a practice of recognition – a key component of relational thought that Jessica Benjamin speaks to in her paper: Intersubjectivity, Thirdness, and Mutual Recognition.

In her 1976 essay “Why I Write” Joan Didion writes: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. … What is going on in these pictures in my mind?

If you feel to write as a practice of thinking and sharing, then please do so and we will gather to share and listen and take up Sonja Renee Taylor’s invitation to ‘stitch a new garment’.

Some recent pieces that might inspire:

Dionne Brand: On narrative, reckoning and the calculus of living and dying

Sinead Gleeson: Postcards from the Pandemic

Susie Orbach: Patterns of pain: what Covid-19 can teach us about how to be human.

David Graeber: After the Pandemic, We Can’t Go Back to Sleep

Arundhati Roy: The pandemic is a portal

Hannah Black: New World Disorder

Room: A Sketchbook for Analytic Action

Nicola De Martini Ugolotti:  We are in this together: COVID-19, The Politics of Emotions  and the Borders of Humanity.

Talks Andrew Samuels has given during this COVID season:☞  Ranting During The Pandemic

If you would like to read on April 25th please let know so that we can schedule the time.  

Date & time: 25th April 2021 3-6pm
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here (TRS members only):Tickets

Conspiracy Theories in the Consulting Room: Some Relational Thought and Perspectives

An opportunity for school members to think together about conspiracy theories in the context of relational therapeutic thought and practice.

Some reading suggestions – more to be added:

It’s only fake-believe: how to deal with a conspiracy theorist

If your friends or family have fallen for an internet conspiracy cult, here’s what you should do

Ideas as Opiates: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories – Sue Cowan-Jenssen

Date & time: TBC
Venue: Zoom – a link will be sent the day of the event.
Reserve your place here:Tickets

The Intersectional Relational: Interrogating Gender Beyond the Binary

As part of our intersectional relational project, we have invited Meg-John Barker and Ellis Johnson to reflect on the relational as we explore gender beyond the binary and its racialised construction. 

Date & time: Sunday July 4th 2021 3-6pm on Zoom

More details: ☞ here

Reserve your place: ☞ here