TRS Events 2020…….draft stuff

Relational Spaces-Intersectional Lenses

I have become convinced over time that what primarily keeps alive the claim in our field that psychic reality can be understood without reference to social location is precisely the race and class privilege enjoyed by the dominant social groups to which our theory makers generally belong.

Lynne Layton

Below you will find a range of events where we will consider a range of thought that addresses the political turn of relational theory and practice, what Lynne Layton calls a Social Psychoanalyis. This will be a series of events where intersectionality and the relational will be considered via a range of thinkers and practitioners.

The rationale behind this particular offering of events is born of the reality that for many of us a deeper exploration of the social context of trauma and the role of psychotherapies in a neo-liberal context did not happen in our intital training. This COVID-19 moment offers another opporuntity to reflect on a range of ideas and issues pertainiing to:

  • the political turn
  • social psychoanalysis
  • therapeutic activism – political therapeutics – relational activism
  • critiqueing psychotherapy – is it part of the problem? How do we use it to be part of the solution or resistance or disruption?
  • the place of critical theory, black feminisms, queer theory in relational thought and practice

Ethics of care

“On the most general level, we suggest that caring be viewed as a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web.”
Fisher, Bernice, and Joan C. Tronto. “Toward a Feminist Theory of Care.” In Circles of Care: Work and Identity in Women’s Lives, edited by Emily K. Abel and Margaret K. Nelson. State University of New York Press, 1990.

“Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Gathering: Thinking Together Relationally About COVID19.

“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

An Ethics of care

This gathering on zoom will be an opportunity to reflect on the impact of COVID19, its wider impact and meanings alongside how we might think about it relationally and through various intersectional lenses. If we are only focussing on the transition to working on line we are forgetting the opportunity to review the place of therapeutic practice and thought as a component part of resistance, recovery and disruption to the neo-liberal paradigm that is the ground of psychological harm.

We will have a few brief presentations followed by opportunities to reflect together in break out rooms.

If we are challening and challenged by the return to normal, what might our work need to look like? What might we need to prepare for?

Date & time: TBC (2.5 hours ?) Venue: Zoom

Reserve your place here: TBC

Book Launch and Discussion:  Lynne Layton and Marianna Leavy-Sperounis will be talking about Towards a Social Psychoanalysis. The book is part of the Relational Perspectives Book Series from Routeledge and spans 20 years of Lynne’s work addressing the psychological as a political landscape.

Lynne and Marianna will be in conversation with TRS Chair Robert Downes (and another of the exec or membership ?- possibly Gail Lewis) followed by audience reflections and questions.

The book is available here ☞ Routeledge

Date & time: TBC (? hours ?)

Venue: Zoom

Reserve your place here: TBC

Study Group: There are 9 chapters within this collection of papers on intersectionality and relational psychoanalysis edited by Max Belkin and Cleonie White.

Over 9 sessions we will reflect on and bring to life each chapter. You will need to purchase the book. You can do so here ☞ Routledge.

Bring your notes, reflections, questions and thoughts to each session which will begin with an opportunity to reflect on the text in small groups.

Dates: TBC ( Sunday afternoons? ) (Thurs eves?) Venue: Zoom

Reserve your place here:

A Carrier Bag of Intersectional Relational Theory and Practice

Ursula Le Guin’s notion of the carrier bag theory of fiction offers us a metaphor for considering our relationship to relational theory and practice. In her essay Le Guin offers that the first tool was a container.

We each take up the relational paradigm differently and carry around elements of it in our own carrier bag. This series of seminars will be an opportunity to hear a range of voices speak to the contents of their particular carrier bag.

Gail Lewis and Foluke Taylor will have a conversation about black feminisms – theme?

Aaron Balick – will share his particular overview of relational theory and thought.

Karen Minikin –

Helena Hargaden (recent relational supervision book)

Andrew Samuels

Susie Orbach

Shoshis Asheri in conversation with

Dates: TBC ( Sunday afternoons? ) (Thurs eves?) Venue: Zoom

Reserve your place here:

“Philosophically, we have failed to think beyond false narratives of ourselves discrete, atomic, hermetically sealed and “safe.” We have failed, as Judith Butler might say, to face “the way in which we are constituted in relationality: implicated, beholden, derived, sustained by a social world that is beyond us and before us.” Similarly, James Baldwin reminds us that any real change implies the loss of safety. In short, Baldwin is critical of forms of “safety” that are really manifestations of self-preservation at the expense of the lives of others. He is critical of our failure to recognize and take responsibility for the fact that we are fundamentally relational beings, corporally intertwined bodies without edges and thereby fundamentally precarious or dependent, and sustained by others”. – George Yancy

Writing Workshop:

This workshop is inspired by the LA Review of Books Quarantine Files. A group of thinkers were invited to write brief pieces about this COVID19 moment and the responses expressed a multiplicity of subjectivities and meanings.

The workshop will provide an opportunity to write into this 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

We will begin with some examples of writing that have been produced in this time, drawing from a range of writers that address the complexity and realities of being “fundamentally relational beings, corporally intertwined bodies without edges”.

Some suggestions:

Susie Orbach’s recent piece in the Guardian:

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

And Sinead Gleeson’s

Postcards from the Pandemic


Venue: Zoom & your room

Reserve your place here:

Writing into the Wake

You can read the introduction to the text here ☞ Dukes Press

You can read Kehinde Andrew’s text on white psychosis here ☞ White Psychosis

Psychotherapist and writer Foluke Taylor will facilitate the workshop with TRS chair Robert Downes.

Dates: TBC ( Sunday afternoons? )(Thurs eves?) Venue: Zoom

Reserve your place here: tbc


Black Feminist Therapeutics:

Foluke Taylor and Gail Lewis

Venue: Starts with Zoom

Reserve your place here: tbc