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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
The Affronting Patient
How do we work effectively with patients whose behaviour disturbs us at the level of morals or values?

Saturday 2 November 2013

09.30   Registration
10.00   Dr Edward Harcourt

The boundaries between badness and madness: a philosophical perspective
The boundaries between vice and mental illness have been discussed since Plato and Aristotle first identified vice with mental illness (and virtue with mental health) 2500 years ago. There seems little doubt that psychoanalysis continues the long tradition of thought launched by Plato and Aristotle concerned with the relation between human nature and 'the good life', and making these continuities visible helps to rescue the ethical dimension of psychoanalysis from the scientific self-images which were more dominant in its early days. Nonetheless, there are many aspects of the equation of vice and mental illness that need to be questioned. Even Plato and Aristotle described cases of 'madness' which don't fit their own "vice = illness" theory. Conversely, aren't they too optimistic in thinking that all cases of badness are cases of mental illness of some kind? This lecture will explore what philosophy and psychoanalysis can teach each other about the boundary between vice and mental illness in the light of psychodynamic theory, and how this might help the practitioner negotiate the fine line of badness and illness in their daily work.
11.15   Coffee
11.45   Dr Maggie Turp

Serial sincerity
The presentation will revolve around behaviour that is generally acknowledged to be morally dubious but is nevertheless far from uncommon. I shall draw on clinical work with a male patient who came to me in a distressed state because he 'couldn't decide' between two women with whom he was sexually involved. Although he considered himself to be both sincere and well-meaning, the patient disclosed deceptive and duplicitous behaviour extending over a considerable period of time. I will outline Margaret Cohen's work on disturbances of integrity in the face of pain and loss as a context for thinking about clinical material of this nature. I shall suggest that exploring the relational meaning of such disclosures offers a way of working both within and beyond moral our judgements.
13.00   Lunch
14.00   Dr Gwen Adshead

Can we treat evil?
In this presentation, Gwen Ashead will explore what it means to 'treat' states of mind that have generated cruel and unusual intentions and deeds. Specifically, I will discuss what might be 'wrong' with those who are labelled as 'evil' or psychopaths; and what leads people to attack social bonds that connect them to others. I will discuss therapeutic issues, including counter-transferential responses. I will argue that psychotherapy is a moral endeavour in which consideration of values, and the making of judgements about values, is inevitable.
15.30   Tea
15.45   Dr Clara Mucci

Working with antisocial and severely narcissistic patients: How far can we stretch our ethics?
In working with severely antisocial or malignant narcissistic patients what is important is to try to see in the patient is "the kind of child the patient has been", what relationships they have internalised - mostly a disorganised attachment with parental figures - and the process of identification with the aggressor that is being played out. It is on that basis that we can consider if there is a chance to repair their distrust, to name their aggressiveness and fear in the encounter with the other in relationship. The essential role of empathy - and the challenge to empathy - will be considered.
17.00   End

Self-funded: £120
Organisationally-funded: £180
CPD Hours

Certificates of Attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

5th Floor Lecture Theatre
Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

Registration: 9.00
Start: 10.00
End: 17.30