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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
How do we Work with the Pre-Symbolic?
New European perspectives

With Dr Giuseppe Civitarese, Dr Françoise Davoine and Dr Judy Gammelgaard

Saturday 7 May 2016

A persistent question in psychotherapy is how we bring about therapeutic change. One contemporary answer to this question is that transformation lies in the subliminal depths of the embodied mind, where therapist and patient connect via a pre-symbolic sense of relatedness informed by the patient's early infancy. This approach leads to non-interpretative techniques in psychotherapy, which require an ability to work with implicit relational knowledge.

Such an encounter relies upon the therapist's openness to intersubjective moments that, in themselves, reorganise the inner sense of their self and others. But what happens if the patient cannot tolerate this intimacy? Importantly, in lending oneself to this process, the therapist's mind is re-shaped too. What do we do when the therapist is led into their own pre-symbolic states of consciousness?

This is demanding work: the therapist must take the risk of feeling the other's trauma and potentially have it mixed with one's own. The rewards, however, are deep. Once felt, we can then bring that experience into symbolic domain and begin to work towards therapeutic resolution.


Dr Giuseppe Civitarese
Giuseppe Civitarese is a training and supervising analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI), and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) and of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). He lives, and is in private practice, in Pavia, Italy. Currently he is the editor of the Rivista di Psicoanalisi, the official journal of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society. He has published several books, which include: The Intimate Room: Theory and Technique of the Analytic Field, London, 2010; The Violence of Emotions: Bion and Post-Bionian Psychoanalysis, London, 2012; The Necessary Dream: New Theories and Techniques of Interpretation in Psychoanalysis, London, 2014; Truth and the Unconscious, London 2016, in press; Losing Your Head: Abjection, Aesthetic Conflict and Psychoanalytic Criticism, Lanham, MD 2015; The Analytic Field and its Transformations (with A. Ferro), London 2015. He has also co-edited L'ipocondria e il dubbio: L'approccio psicoanalitico (Hypochondria and doubt: the psychoanalytic approach), Milano, 2011; The Bion Tradition: Lines of Development-Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades, London 2015. More >>

Dr Françoise Davoine
Dr Françoise Davoine has worked as a psychoanalyst at a French psychiatric hospital for over thirty years. She also works in private practice as a supervisor and training analyst. She is currently professor at the École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales in Paris. She has an advanced degree in classics (French, Latin and Greek literature) and a doctorate in sociology. With her late husband Jean-Max Gaudillière, Françoise Davoine was a member of the École Freudienne de Paris until the death of Jacques Lacan (1981). She is a member of the International Symposium for the Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia (US branch) created by Gaetano Benedetti. More >>

Dr Judy Gammelgaard
Judy Gammelgaard PhD is a training analyst and a member of the Danish Psychoanalytic Society and of the International Psychoanalytical Association. She is Professor and Head of the Centre of Psychoanalysis at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen and lectures widely throughout Scandinavia. Her book Betweenity: A Discussion of the Concept of Borderline was published in 2010 (Routledge). More >>


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CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 5 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:30 Coffee
13:30 Lunch
16:00 Tea
17:00 End