Past Events

Book Launch: Toward A Social Psychoanalysis

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

Book Launch and Conversation: 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 and the therapeutic as political landscapes. Layton draws on relational and other analytic theories and practices to deepen our understanding of the conscious and unconscous psychic effects of neo-liberalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and much more.

Lynne and Marianna will be in conversation with TRS Chair Robert Downes and Foluke Taylor.

The book is available here ☞ Routeledge If you subscribe to Psychoanalytic Dialogues via IARPP you can access papers via the IARPP portal.

Date & time: – Sunday June 2020 28th 3-5pm on Zoom.


White Psychosis and The Wake

You are invited to a screening of Eugene Nulman’s documentary, The Psychosis of Whiteness. The documentary is based on Kehinde Andrew’s paper The Psychosis of Whiteness and narrated by the author. 

This will be  followed by a panel response and time for collective reflection, drawing from the work of Christina Sharpe:  In the Wake – On Blackness and Being. 

The film sheds light on society’s perceptions of race and racism by exploring cinematic representations of the slave trade. This documentary takes an in-depth look at big budget films that focus on the transatlantic slave trade and, using a wealth of sources and interviews, it argues that these depictions are metaphoric hallucinations about race. Rather than blaming the powerful institutions that are responsible for slavery, these films rewrite history by praising those same institutions for abolishing the slave trade. Christina Sharpe states that ‘to be in the wake is to occupy and to be occupied by the continuous and changing present of slavery’s as yet unresolved unfolding’. This unresolved unfolding alongside metaphoric hallucinations about race continue to be neglected in our field and our practice as a whole.

The panel will respond to the issues raised by the film and the text as we consider the wake, racism and white psychosis in therapeutic practice, thinking and teaching.

The panelists:

Foluke Taylor – Counsellor/Psychotherapist and Writer

Dr Gail Lewis – Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Sociologist, previous Programme Director of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck.

Robert Downes – TRS Chair, Psychotherapist.

Date: 16th Feb 2020.    Time: 2-5.30pm
 
Venue: Stillpoint Spaces London.
 

Reserving a place: please contact Jane at therelationalschool@gmail.com to reserve your place and to access instructions for making payment. £45 TRS members. £50 non-members. £35 students of counselling and psychotherapy.

There will be refreshments and some snacks.

Links to the pre-reading and videos are below.

Open Access version of  Kehinde Andrews article The Psychosis of Whiteness: the celluloid hallucinations of Amazing Graze and Belle (published in the Journal of Black Studies in 2016). The article inspired the making of the documentary.

Chapter of Christina Sharpe’s In The Wake On Blackness and Being. This first chapter describes the notion of the wake.

Christina Sharpe reading an excerpt from In The Wake No.1.

Christina Sharpe reading an excerpt from In The Wake No.2African American

African American philosopher, George Yancy, breaks down what is required of whiteness to unravel from the psychosis of whiteness.


Complicating the White Therapist 

an introductory study day

29 February 2020 at Stillpoint Spaces, London. 10-5pm

“White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviours such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviours, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium”   Robin DiAngelo

“We must prepare ourselves for—and even seek—difficult, threatening, unsettling, awkward and shame-inducing conversations”.   Anton Hart

The focus in many psychotherapy and counselling trainings has traditionally been on diversity and multicultural approaches to the therapeutic project.  The criticism of these approaches is that they make racism a little more palatable as something for people of colour to overcome rather than something for white people to deconstruct as part of a psychological and broader socio-political project. In this workshop the problem of racism and whiteness is returned to white therapeutic practitioners to deal with.  

In keeping the company of Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Frantz Fanon, Reni Eddo-Lodge,  Edward Said, Christina Sharpe, George Yancy, Sara Ahmed, Lynne Jacobs, Robin DiAngelo and many others we begin to disrupt and re-inform clinical thinking and practice in relation to the matrix of race in the therapeutic relationship with consideration to relational themes and theory. 

Students, clients and therapists of colour frequently encounter white fragility and its formidable defensiveness.  Whiteness has not been placed on  the ’couch’ for a thorough enough analysis thus limiting the therapeutic potential for personal and collective transformation whilst potentially harming the people who seek our support . Our trainings rarely equipped us with rigorous thinking and practices around race and whiteness, hence the need to develop the capacity to ‘mentalise whilst white’.  

I became interested in the kind of awkward conversations and explorations that white practitioners need to navigate the arena of race, the trauma of racism and the structures of whiteness as they manifest in the consulting room, classroom and beyond. One of the struggles I have noticed is the reluctance in many white practitioners is to be constructed as a ‘bad white object’. I think white fragility provides an entry point into unravelling from counter transference reactions that are informed by whiteness as an egoic structure that we are usually practiced in defending and propping up rather than undoing.  

Robin DiAngelo speaks to developing stamina and resilience for these awkward conversations and explorations.  George Yancy speaks to white people needing to ‘un-suture whiteness’ to become undone.   In this workshop we will look at a series of practices and understandings that will serve to complicate whiteness in the service of being more consciously anti-racist in our practice, thinking and being in the world. 

Who is this workshop for? 

This workshop will provide an experiential opportunity for white practitioners  to examine whiteness as an embodied phenomena that requires a rigorous exploration if we are to do less harm and practice more ethically.  There will be some preparatory reading and reflective practices to engage with prior to the day.   


Race Relational

This afternoon will be an opportunity for TRS members to come together to form a working group that will think about the kind of environment, activities, structures and practices we want to develop to address the matrix of race: racism, whiteness, blackness, white supremacy, misogynoir, colonial legacies and their impact on our relational thinking, teaching and practice.  If you wish to attend, we invite you to bring something along that you have read or been informed by that will begin to contribute to the beginning of making a space and a curriculum that will resource this work.

Though an imaginative exercise we will begin to create some kind of map of the what and the how, taking into consideration the kind of environment that this work will require and the nature of the curriculum and practices we could engage in.

Date: Sunday 8th of December 2019 2pm-5.30pm

Venue: Stillpoint Spaces London.

Reserving a place: please contact Jane at therelationalschool@gmail.com to reserve your place. There will be no cost for this session

2018

Workshop: Starting with Ourselves: Addressing the Challenges of Diversity Through Openness and Curiosity Instead of Competence. With Anton Hart in partnership with BAATN.
Sunday November 25th 10-5pm Effra Space, Brixton.

This day-long workshop offers the opportunity to think and talk–with both familiar and unfamiliar colleagues– about issues of diversity and otherness, focusing on the cultivation of curiosity and openness within the therapeutic dyad. We will consider the ways that increasingly open communication across the borders of difference can be facilitated, and the obstacles to such openness surmounted. The aspiration for the workshop is to free up dialogue concerning how we are different, particularly when such differences intersect with socially charged, historically laden forms of difference that involve prejudice and “othering,” such as race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and other important diversities. Aiming for such open dialogue, we can prepare ourselves for the emergence of difficult, anxiety-evoking, unsettling, awkward and possibly shame-inducing conversations. Sometimes, even, we should seek these difficulties for the crucial opportunities they offer.

This workshop attempts to encourage participants to move toward such challenging conversations in their clinical work and professional relationships, and to risk unconventional forms of openness and inquiry. Through the presentation of a conceptual overview featuring a hermeneutic orientation to dialogue, followed by the presentation for discussion of case material where issues of diversity figure prominently, and through structured, dialogic experiential exercises, we will attempt to increase our tolerance for the challenges to our personal senses of knowing who our dialogic others are, and who we ourselves become, as we enter into conversation across the borders of human difference.

Workshop: A Relational Study Day with Michael Soth at Stillpoint Spaces, London.  Sunday May 13th 2018  10 – 4.30 pm.  Stillpoint Spaces, London.

Michael is a TRS member and has drawn from Martha Stark’s seminal 1999 book ‘Modes of Therapeutic Action’, Lavinia Gomez’s work on object relations and the tension between humanistic and psychoanalytic traditions as well as Petruska Clarkson’s 5 modalities of therapeutic relating to develop a broad-spectrum integration of therapeutic traditions as part of the relational project. For this study day Michael will present and explore with us his particular journey since his own experience of a ‘relational turn’ in the mid-1990’s. There is some preparatory reading.

2017

Film Screening & Discussion: I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck).
Sunday, 1 October 2017 from 14:00 to 17:30  Venue: Stillpoint Spaces London, Clerkenwell.

Film Screening & Discussion: Hidden Figures
Sunday, 3 December 2017 from 14:00 to 17:30 Venue: Stillpoint Spaces,Clerkenwell.

Talk & Discussion: Archeytypes and the Intersubjective – Expanding Analytic Attention of the Embodied and the Imagined.  By Sherry Salman Ph.D.
Click on this LINK to see Sherry’s talk.
Sunday, 3 December 2017 from 14:00 to 17:30 Venue: Stillpoint Spaces, Clerkenwell.

2016

AGM: Sun, 21 February 2016 – Minster Centre, Queens Park.
The TRS annual general meeting will start off with a presentation and discussion addressing the topic of ‘Terrorisms’. How does terror and terrorism enter or impact on the clinical setting? How do we meet it and think about it relationally? How do geopolitical realties enter the space? Are they already there? Please bring your own lines of inquiry to inform the discussion.