The Question of Hue in Psychoanalysis: Training, Institutions and Practice.

Saturday 29th February 2020 – 10.00am – 4.00pm

VENUE: The Guild of Psychotherapists, 47 Nelson Square, London SE1 0QA

Entry: SOLD OUT!

Lunch: A light lunch will be provided   Tel +44(0)20 74013260


Guest Speakers: Narendra Keval and Dr Shona Hunter

Narendra Keval Exploring the Use and Misuse of Race in the Clinical Encounter

Preoccupations about difference in the form of ethnicity, race or racism and their lived experience are always present in subtle ways in the privacy of our daily thoughts and feelings, imagination and dreams. Our clinical encounters are no exception but they need close and sensitive scrutiny to capture the nuances of what is being grappled with and communicated by our patients and to enable clinicians to respond with affective understanding of the unconscious processes present. These deep structures of thought and feeling are universally present in contemporary culture, institutional life as well as the consulting room, where they may come to constitute the passions of the transference.

They can signal a wish to explore the self in relation to others where curiosity and imagination are allowed to prevail or take refuge in the wish to thwart and damage the self and others, closing down any possibilities for intimacy with and learning from others. These preoccupations and their particular use at any given moment tell us something about the quality of thinking present and the particular kinds of predicaments and challenges of engaging with them when the emotional pressures that they exert can risk unhelpful enactments.  I will consider how some of these dynamics in the clinical situation has resonance with challenges of engaging with diversity and difference in institutional life.

Dr Shona Hunter The power of whiteness as a mythology of the good

Amidst increasing mainstream recognition that whiteness is an identity position which implies an orientation to power and privilege the way this orientation manifests is highly contested and often misunderstood. One commonly recognised affective mode of whiteness is the fragility and defensiveness through which whiteness protects itself against interrogation. This is largely a defensiveness driven by the desire to resist seeing the white self as violent and violating of others, to resist seeing the ‘darker’ side of the self. It is a defence against the discomfort of recognising whiteness as a manifestation of fear, shame, guilt. When we begin to understand whiteness as a master signifier which works as a form of general protection against the human experience of difference, uncertainty and related anxiety, we have starting point from which to see how it sutures into everyday meanings and practices such as ideals of good professionalism. How whiteness is smuggled into other meanings and practices outside of our everyday awareness.

As people working with emotion, those working with psychoanalytic ideas have an opportunity here to enter into the debate on fragility and defensiveness to help societal understandings of power and its relationship to affect and material reality and personal and social discomfort. And yet, there is evidence of white defence here too in the shape and profile of the psychoanalytic body of ideas, its professional profile and ways of practicing. So; the questions remain what should be done? What can be done? How can community be reinvented? What does that reinvention mean and what shape could it take?

Please refer to attached flyer for speakers’ details and abstract.