Unconscious Phantasy Today

Unconscious Phantasy Today
Friday 7 December – Sunday 9 December

UCL Psychoanalysis Unit’s 2012 December conference will focus on Unconscious Phantasy. This is the first of several planned meetings that will explore core psychoanalytic ideas and how they are used today. Meetings in 2013, 2014 and 2015 will follow up with topics including Free Association, Transference and Enactment, and Interpretation and Therapeutic Action.

Few psychoanalytic concepts are as important as Unconscious Phantasy. It has played a central role in psychoanalytic thinking for many years, and was first used as a term in any detailed written exposition in Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams (1953 in translation by Strachey on page 570) and then by Melanie Klein in her papers on The Oedipus Complex in the Light of Early Anxieties (1945) and Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms (1946). Klein’s use of the concept had certainly been around before that – for example Sylvia Payne proposed that how to interpret it and understand its implications for ordinary transference interpretation should be a core subject for what were to become the Controversial Discussions. When the Discussions began Susan Isaacs’ classic paper on the concept was the first presentation.

Today, nearly 70 years after the term was debated in the controversial discussions, how do we define unconscious phantasy, how do we use it and how is it recognised and interpreted (if at all)?

To discuss our views it is likely that we will need to think not only about what we mean by the concept when applied to daily sessions with patients, but also about the precise meaning of the two component terms during these sessions.

What do we really mean by unconscious, what is it that is unconscious in a psychoanalytic session and how do we recognise it?

These and other questions will be addressed by David Bell, Michael Brearley and Catalina Bronstein, as well as by others who submit papers in the coming months. David Tuckett will take a large-group clinical seminar early on Friday afternoon and Cathy Bronstein, Chris Mawson, Claire Cripwell, Dana Birksted Breen, David Millar, David Taylor, Edna O’Shaughnessy and Jane Milton will take small group clinical seminars in the early evening. Offers to present material should be sent to sabina.hussain@ucl.ac.uk.

 Call for Papers

Parallel paper sessions in smaller groups will be held on Saturday afternoon. If you are interested in submitting a parallel paper please contact sabina.hussain@ucl.ac.uk. Please submit abstracts to sabina.hussain@ucl.ac.uk by 1st October 2012.

Innovation for 2012!

Following feedback from last year’s conference sandwiches, soft drinks and tea and coffee will be available between 12.30 – 14.30 on Saturday 8 December, providing an extended opportunity to meet other colleagues, browse the book store and meet distinguished psychoanalytic authors who will be doing a ‘book signing’.


To register your place at this conference, please complete and return the form

Click Here for the Registration Form:

Sabina Hussain

Conference and Events Coordinator

Psychoanalysis Unit

Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, UCL

1-19 Torrington Place

London WC1E 7HB


Tel: (+44) 020 7679 5997 (Internal 45997)
Fax: (+44) 020 7916 8502

Email: sabina.hussain@ucl.ac.uk

Explore posts in the same categories: Announcements

Comments are closed.

Recent Posts