Psychoanalytic Theory: further info

The module is taught as a mixture of lectures and reading seminars, and aims to enable students to explore the development of key psychoanalytic concepts through the study of a range of texts from different periods. The course begins with an overview and exploration of the concept of the unconscious and the idea of an internal world. Then we will be looking at a number of related core concepts, including: projection, identification, transference and countertransference, the Oedipus complex, and the work of mourning. The course will explore the links between the psychoanalytic ideas within the theory module and other components of the course, such as child development research and what students are discovering in their work discussion and infant observation groups, as well as making links with contemporary issues such as diversity and difference.

The focus is on exploring the primary texts set for each week: There are a number of prescribed texts (required reading) for each seminar which all students prepare, and in addition a number of additional texts (recommended reading and reference reading), which provide further related material on the theme under discussion. Most Saturdays a lecture on a given topic will be followed by further exploration of the ideas in a reading seminar The seminars are conducted as group discussions of the detail of the textual material. 

We will explore the relationship between clinical experience and theory-building in psychoanalysis. We will look at the (historical, intellectual and scientific) context in which the ideas were formed and evolved. 

At the same time the course is intended to involve a critical reading of the literature. We can bring both a contemporary perspective and personal reaction to bear, as well as coming at ideas historically, in order to understand how these ideas evolved to their mature form.