The Freud Museum

Events Archive

22 November 2017
7pm, doors open 6.30pm

Class and Psychoanalysis

Joanna Ryan in discussion with Barry Watt

What does psychoanalysis have to say about the emotional landscapes of class, the hidden injuries and disavowed privileges? How does class figure in clinical work and what part does it play in psychotherapeutic trainings?

In these times of increasing inequality, Joanna Ryan will discuss aspects of her timely new book Class and Psychoanalysis: Landscapes of Inequality, exploring what can be learned about the psychic formations of class, and the class formations of psychoanalysis. Addressing some of the many challenges facing a psychoanalysis that aims to include class in its remit, she holds the tension between the radical and progressive potential of psychoanalysis, in its unique understandings of the unconscious, with its status as a mainly expensive and exclusive practice.

The aim of this evening’s discussion, part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, is to open up debate about this important but neglected subject.

“Class and Psychoanalysis is a text of great importance. Joanna Ryan writes in a clear and objective way about the neglect of social class in psychoanalysis, yet behind this objectivity is a passionate involvement that will strike a chord with all concerned psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. The book presents the best available overview of the history, theory and practice of psychoanalysis in relation to social class, combining this with interview material from the author’s own studies of psychotherapists to give a detailed and compelling picture of how class enters the consulting room. Engaging with this profound yet accessible book is essential for all who care about class injuries and how we might find ways to respond to them.” - Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

Joanna Ryan, Ph.D., is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist; she has worked widely in clinical practice, teaching and supervision; in academic research; and in the politics of psychotherapy. She is co-author (with N. O'Connor) of Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities: Lesbianism and Psychoanalysis; co-editor (with S. Cartledge) of Sex and Love: New Thoughts on Old Contradictions; author of The Politics of Mental Handicap and many other publications.

Barry Watt is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, a senior psychotherapist at the Psychosis Therapy Project, a member of The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and a social housing activist and campaigner.

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