Events and Lectures

The Political Mind: The role of the unconscious in political and social life.

@ The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Centre for the Advancement of Psychoanalytic Studies

A series of 10 seminars on psychoanalysis and politics in the summer term at the BPAS. May12th-July13th 2015


Seminar Leader and Organiser.
David Morgan psychoanalyst

Introduction - Psychoanalysis and Politics

Freud's contribution to political thinking cannot be underestimated. He questioned the origin and structure of society in "Totem and Taboo" , exposed illusions and dogmas in"The Future of an Illusion" and "Civilization and its Discontents" and wrote about Bolshevism in the "New Introductory Lecture on Psychoanalysis" and described the foundation of a people, in "Moses andMonotheism."

He challenged "civilised sexual morality" as the origin of "the nervous and mental illness of modern times." In Mass Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego" he analysis the concepts of leader, crowd, and power.

In the superego, Freud ascribed values, ideals, and imperatives associated with morality and society to the psyche.

The sexual drive and death drive, coupled with the instinct for mastery is a determining factor of existence, in society, politics and the individual.

Political thought as in Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx, Weber, and others—intersect and illustrate many of Freud's ideas. e.g. the radical rejection of all forms of illusion, the will to lucidity based on a flexible rationality, the dismantling of connections within communities, the emphasis on the autonomy and responsibility of the individual subject.

These seminars will explore Psychoanalysis and Politics in the light of contemporary issues such as racism, terrorism, totalitarian thinking, NHS ,the market economy, ecology, gender and sexuality, whistleblowing and power.


May 12 David Morgan ; "Whistleblowers and Dissent: Moral Good Or Self Interest ? what are the psychological dimensions of defying a perverse or corrupt authority? "

May 19. John Alderdice : "Devoted Actors - the psychology of fundamentalism and terrorism"

May 26 Sally Weintrobe : "Climate change and the culture of uncare"

June 2nd Phil Stokoe : “The Impact of Power on the Mind of the Politician"

June 9th Josh Cohen "Psychoanalysis and the Politics of Idleness."

June 16 . Bob Hinshelwood - "Reflection or action: Never the twain shall meet"

June 23rd David Bell.  " All thats solid melts into air: psychoanalytic reflections on the socio-economic crisis"

June 30 Ruth McCall  : " The Psychoanalysis of Exclusion."

July 6 Edgard Sanchez : "Power and the manipulation of the masses. Third world perspectives."

July 13 Michael Rustin "The Psychology of Neoliberalism"

 (Distinguished Contributors)

Lord John Alderdice

Academic, politician and retired consultant psychiatrist in psychoanalytical psychotherapy, he was also until very recently the Convenor of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. He has applied his psychological understanding to analyzing and dealing with terrorism and violent political conflict in various parts of the world, but especially in the Middle East and in his native Northern Ireland where he was one of the negotiators of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Currently he isChairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building , based in Belfast, and Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, and Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. He is a former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, a former Commissioner with the Independent Monitoring Commission (monitoring paramilitary and security force activity in Ireland) and the former President of Liberal International, the global family of some 120 liberal political parties.

David Bell Psychoanalyst

Fellow BPAS
Consultant Psychiatrist ,Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Former President British Psychoanalytic Society ; 2012-3 Professorial Fellow, Birkbeck College London
Books: 'Psychoanalysis and Culture: a kleinian perspective' , 'Reason and Passion' ,'Paranoia', 'Living on the Border'
Papers include: "Primitive Mind of State ", (a psychoanalytic critique of the attacks on welfare) "Mental illness and its treatment today", "Is Truth an illusion"
Other contributions on a wide range of subjects including psychoanalytic theory and technique, NHS , socio-political theory , literature.
One of the UKs leading psychiatric experts in Asylum/Human Rights

Prof Josh Cohen Psychoanalyst Fellow BPAS

Professor of Modern Literary Theory, Goldsmiths University of London. Author of many articles and books on psychoanalysis, literature and cultural theory, including How to Read Freud and most recently, " The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark.’

Prof Bob Hinshelwood PsychoanalystFellow BPAS
is Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, and previously Director of the Cassel Hospital. He has written extensively on psychoanalytic practice and theory, including A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought (1989), Clinical Klein (1993), and more recently, Research on the Couch (2013), and Bion’s Sources (2013, edited with Nuno Torres). He has also written on the application of psychoanalysis to social science (Observing Organisations, edited with Wilhelm Skogstad 2000); and on racism.

Ruth McCall Psychoanalyst

Fellow BPAS
Was a producer of television documentaries and she subsequently founded and ran her own film company before training in psychoanalysis. Taught psychoanalytic theory extensively for 10 years with a special interest in Freud, Hysteria, Psychosomatics and psychoanalytic politics at UCL. Her early interest in social disadvantage and feminism now joins with her psychoanalytic perspective.

David Morgan Psychoanalyst

Formerly Consultant Psychotherapist Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Now in private practice. Consultant in several settings with a political and social remit. Editor and author of a book and papers.

Prof Michael Rustin Hon Member BPAS

Michael Rustin is a Professor of Sociology at the University of East London, a Visiting Professor at the Tavistock Clinic, and an Associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He is a founding editor of Soundingsand of the Kilburn Manifesto. His books include The Good Society and the Inner World (1991) , Reason and Unreason: ;Psychoanalysis, Science, Politics (2001) The Inner World of Doctor Who (with Iain MacRury) (2013) , and (forthcoming 2014) Social Defences against Anxiety: Explorations in the Paradigm (co-edited with David Armstrong) .

Dr Edgard Sanchez Psychoanalyst

Fellow BPAS
Consultant Psychiatrist Kings College. London.Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy at Kings College,London/ South London & MaudsleyNHS Foundation Trust
Lecturer at UCL MA Psychoanalytic Studies.

Philip Stokoe Psychoanalyst

Fellow BPAS
Organisational Consultant.
Honorary Visiting Professor, Mental Health at City University.
Ex Consultant Social Worker. Tavistock & Portman NHS and ex-Clinical Director of the Adult Department. Author of many papers on the application of psychoanalysis.

Sally Weintrobe Psychoanalyst Fellow BPAS.

Edited and contributed to "Engaging with Climate Change:" psychoanalytic and interdisciplinary perspectives (Routledge 2012). She has written and lectured widely on climate change, particularly on how to understand current levels of denial. In this seminar she will explore the question how do we express our care about climate change in a culture of uncare?