Past Events

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):

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):

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”.  Marquis Bey

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: ☞ 

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

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

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 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 to reserve your place. There will be no cost for this session


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.


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.


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.