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About this event

"Thus, the shadow of the object fell upon the ego…” Freud, 1915

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Join us for the 43rd International Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy Colloquium as we take a deep dive into the theme of loss, mourning and adaptation. Delegates will hear from highly experienced psychoanalytic clinicians and researchers in a broad array of presentations over two days, encompassing diverse clinical work, rich theoretical ideas and innovative treatment approaches. 

Particular attention will be paid to individual and collective experiences of loss at the height of the pandemic and in its wake, as we begin to integrate vital clinical lessons from the shared yet unequal experience of lockdown. Q&A sessions with presenters and opportunities to reflect in small groups make this a fully interactive online event and collaborative learning experience.

This online conference is chaired by Annabel Kitson and organised by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ longstanding Child Psychotherapy Service. 

The Colloquium is a conference based around discussing psychoanalytic child psychotherapy clinical cases and has been offering a unique opportunity to network with UK and international mental health professionals for over 40 years. We bring together professionals from all over the world to think about well-established psychoanalytic practice, as well as ground-breaking adaptations to such approaches to working with children and adolescents.

Following the success of the first online Colloquium delivered in 2020, this year we will continue the remote format. 

Selected papers

Liz Allison's paper: Mourning terminable and interminable: Working through the pandemic’s impact

The pandemic has served as an abrupt and unwelcome reminder that man is at the mercy of nature, that profound social inequality persists despite our self-serving narratives to the contrary, and that the ego is not master in its own house.  This threefold blow to human narcissism presents both challenges and opportunities.  How can we bear it without either being crushed or trying to reclaim an untenable position of mastery? What would it take to live with and learn from this loss of our sense of privilege?  How can psychoanalysis help and what lessons might it need to learn?  Inspired by Freud’s ‘Analysis Terminable and Interminable’, this paper will suggest that coming to terms with such significant loss is and ought to be an ongoing labour.  I will try to illuminate the transformative potential of the work of mourning via a discussion of Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, written in the wake of both personal loss and social upheaval on a grand scale after World War One.

Helen Ritzema's paper explores the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns on young people who were already struggling at boarding school and showing symptoms of anxiety, for whom the lockdown offered a reprieve of sorts. When lockdown came to an end and they had to re-integrate back into school in September, they suffered a psychological collapse. The paper will consider the work of Freud and Winnicott on anxiety as well as looking at more recent theories around anxiety and to look at the work of Laufer and Laufer. It will also look at the work of Joy Schaverien (Boarding School Syndrome).

Viviane Green's paper will be framed with a reading of Freud’s essay on Mourning and Melancholia. It will reflect on how grief and loss have a number of guises. One guise, illustrated with clinical vignettes drawn from before and during the pandemic, will be development itself; the shedding and reassembling of a sense of self. 

Janine Sternberg's presentation will focus on the experience of the training school during lockdown - the adjustments that had to be made in teaching and looking after the trainees; awareness through the supervisory role (as well as Janine's own private practice) of the strains of working remotely, but also recognition of the splendid work that some have been able to do. Attention will also be given to the ‘lessons learned’, what we may want to carry forward from this time in terms of technique.

Who is this conference suitable for?

This conference should appeal to all mental health professionals working with children and adolescents with an interest in psychoanalytic thinking. Attendees are required to have a professional accreditation or be enrolled on a recognised training course.

Times of this event have been adjusted in order to accommodate international colleagues.  

System requirements for online training

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver this training. Prior to booking on, please ensure you meet the system requirements so you're able to join this training. 

Before the training, please test your equipment is working by going to Zoom.us/test and follow the instructions.

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