Monday, 1 January 2018

Heidegger’s Zollikon Seminars. 11. Psychoanalytic Theory of ‘Projection’. Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 245 (9 December 2018)

Heidegger’s Zollikon Seminars
(1959-1969)
A 50th-anniversary revaluation
11. Heidegger and Boss discuss Freud (4)
(Taormina, April 1963)

‘If ... it were really a question of a projection here,

then ... I myself would suddenly be a good man.’

Anthony Stadlen
conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 245
9 December 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Martin Heidegger
at home, Freiburg
Martin Heidegger  Medard Boss
Feldweg, Messkirch, 1963

      

















We are exploring the background discussions between the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the psychiatrist Medard Boss to Heidegger’s 1959-1969 seminars in Boss’s Zollikon home as reported in the book Zollikon Seminars. We have seen that, in their April 1963 conversations in TaorminaSicily, Heidegger confirms Freud’s discoveries of transference, repression, etc. – but as ecstatic-intentional world-relationship’, not as natural scientistic metapsychology’. You are cordially invited to join our discussion of Heidegger’s fundamental restatement of Freud’s concept of projection’ as just such an ecstatic-intentional world-relationship’.

Venue: ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, berries, nuts, mineral water included; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857  +44 (0) 7809 433 250
E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling. 1. Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 244 (14 October 2018)

Søren Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling
Dialectical Lyric by Johannes de silentio (1843)
1. Preliminary overview and Preface

Anthony Stadlen

conducts
Inner Circle Seminar No. 244
14 October 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
                
Søren Kierkegaard   
Abraham and Isaac
Rembrandt




















This is the first of a subseries of eight all-day seminars devoted to one short book, which is much cited and quoted, as well as misquoted, by existential and other therapists, but often with little understanding of, or even relation to, the text, let alone the Biblical text it discusses. For example, the notion of a knight of faith’, taken from this book, is often solemnly applied to a client in psychotherapy, without recognition of the comic resonances of Don Quixote in this description of Abraham, who set out on a donkey to sacrifice his son; and without awareness that in the Hebrew of the Biblical story there is no mention of ‘faith’ or ‘obedience’, but only of ‘trust’ and ‘listening’. Again, it is very rare for those who appeal to, or try to apply, the argument of the book to take account of the fact that its author insisted that its pseudonymous narrator should not be taken as representing his own position. These eight seminars are an attempt to remedy this situation.

The book is Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric, by a certain ‘Johannes de silentio’, published in Copenhagen on 16 October 1843. The first of our eight seminars, therefore, will celebrate the book’s hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary (two days early).

The actual author was, of course, Søren Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855), as he acknowledged in Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846). But Kierkegaard insisted:

... if it should occur to anyone to want to quote a particular passage from the books, it is my wish, my prayer, that he will do me the kindness of citing the respective pseudonymous author’s name, not mine.’

Johannes de silentio and the other pseudonyms are like characters in a drama by Kierkegaard. He called it ‘indirect communication’, a dialectic of different possible perspectives through which the reader is invited to work out his or her own point of view. Much commentary on Fear and Trembling and the other pseudonymous works is therefore naive and misleading, because it ignores Kierkegaard’s urgent request that their pseudonymous nature should be respected.

Kierkegaard was the thinker who introduced, sometimes through this or that pseudonym (as he said, with the left hand), and sometimes in his own name (with the right hand’), the word existential’ to convey the project of thinking with the whole of one’s being, as an ‘existing’ thinker, rather than constructing a ‘theory’ or ‘system’, which he said was like a house in which one does not live.

Feuerbach also sometimes used ‘existence’ in this sense, but his project was to secularise religious thinking, whereas Kierkegaard’s primary aim was to affirm authentic religion as irreducible to social ethics.

But Kierkegaards idea of authentic religion differed from everybody elses. He had utter contempt for the Danish Church and for Christendom, as he called it. For him, religion meant something radically individual. But his vision of the individual was the very antithesis of an encapsulated, isolated, unsocial, worldless, reified self’. Rather, a true individual was a relation which relates itself to its own self’; it was that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self, while ‘resting in the [divine] power that established it’ and loving friends, family, spouse, children, neighbours.

Fear and Trembling is itself a foundational document for existential thinking. 

HeideggerJaspersBinswanger, and Sartre acknowledged their indebtedness to it. The meaning of Kierkegaard’s (pseudonym’s) interplay of interpretations in Fear and Trembling has also been the subject of a continuing comprehensive conversation by generations of theological, philosophical, and psychological scholars for one hundred and seventy-five years.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, himself generally regarded as one of the most profound thinkers of the 20th century, held that Kierkegaard was ‘by far the most profound thinker’ of the 19th century. However, Ernesto Spinelli, widely regarded as a leading existential therapist, has recently denounced  Kierkegaard’s ‘dangerous folly’ in apparently admiring Abraham’s ‘self-evident lunacy’ in Fear and Trembling. This is in line with traditional clinical-psychiatric thinking, for example the psychiatrist Abraham Myerson’s 1945 diagnosis that Kierkegaard was ‘a psychiatric case’, whose writing was ‘a schizoid and certainly utterly incomprehensible presentation by a mind which is quite deviate’.

Are these important demystifying insights into a pretentious and over-rated writer? Or is the existential tradition here degenerating into abject capitulation to uncomprehending psychiatric reductionism?

Fear and Trembling is a ‘dialectical lyric’ on the Akedah, the Biblical account of Abraham’s ‘binding’ of his beloved son Isaac (Genesis, 22:1-19), fundamental for all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The meaning of the Akedah has been debated and disputed for thousands of years by Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and (more recently) atheist thinkers. (The Qur’an does not name the son, and there has been debate in Islam as to whether it was Ishmael or Isaac, though today it is generally held to have been Ishmael.) Today, the Akedah is chanted from the Torah scroll in synagogues at the Jewish New Year, with great precision, though it is open to anyone to propose an interpretation of its meaning; in Christianity it is held to prefigure the crucifixion of Jesus; and in Islam animals are sacrificed round the world on Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) to commemorate Abrahams sacrifice of a ram instead of his son. The Akedah has been the basis of many great works of art, music, drama, and poetry. 

Kierkegaard emphasised that the sole purpose of his entire vast authorship, both direct and pseudonymous, was religious, though he fiercely denounced institutionalised religion (such as Danish 19th-century ‘Christendom’) as a corruption and perversion of living, existential religion. But ‘existential’ therapists in particular routinely ‘secularise’ his writings. Are they betraying them by purporting to reduce the religious to the secular-social in precisely the way that Johannes de silentio is criticising in Fear and Trembling? Or are they clearing away the religious rubble and revealing the human truth of these great works?  

One of Heidegger’s most important early courses of lectures was on The Phenomenology of Religious Life (1920-21). But existential therapists all too often disparage the religious experience of their clients and are ignorant of its phenomenology. We shall try to show that Kierkegaard’s work is, among many other things, a fundamental investigation of the existential phenomenology of individual, non-institutionalised, religious experience, indispensable for an unprejudiced understanding of our clients. But does it not also illuminate secular, non-religious experience?

We shall be greatly helped by the participation in a number of the seminars of one of the world’s authorities on Fear and Trembling, Professor John Lippitt, Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire and Honorary Professor in the European Philosophy and History of Ideas research group at Deakin University in MelbourneJohn Lippitt is the author of many books and papers on Kierkegaard, including the pellucid and comprehensive Routledge Guide to Fear and Trembling (second edition, 2016).

In eight seminars, of which you may attend any or all, you are invited to explore in depth the rich variety of interpretations of both the Akedah and Fear and Trembling and their relevance for the practice of psychotherapy; and perhaps to arrive at your own interpretation.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
                  Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Being-in-the-World: My Body and I. Raymond Tallis conducts Inner Circle Seminar 243 (15 July 2018)

Being-in-the-World
My Body and I

Raymond Tallis
conducts Inner Circle Seminar No. 243
introduced by Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 15 July 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Raymond Tallis

Raymond Tallis is one of our best-loved invited speakers. Today he conducts his fifth Inner Circle Seminar (his first was on 2 December 2012).

He has shown in four profound Inner Circle Seminars that he is one of the world’s leading demystifiers of what he calls the ‘neuroscience delusion’ (‘neuromania’) and the ‘intellectual plague of biologism’ (‘animalism’). His ruthless, good-humoured exposure of reductive natural-scientism continues the tradition of Heidegger and  Szasz, for example, but is utterly his own. Psychotherapists are free to choose to go on pretending to be ‘validated’ by ‘neuroscience’; but their work, such as it is, sometimes radically transforming and helpful, sometimes best passed over in silence, speaks for itself, and no pseudo-scientific ‘validation’ can disguise this.
Raymond Tallis 
Raymond Tallis is one of the select few who affirms and advocates the devoted use of devotedly human language to depict and describe the human world and human relationships.

In his most recent book, Logos, Professor Tallis exposes the absurdity of the argument that evolutionary biology or neuroscience show that our thinking is merely a function of our bodies-as-objects-for-science and therefore can have no truth-value of its own unless it is in some way itself derived from evolutionary biology or neuroscience, which are taken to beobjectively true. But those sciences are themselves human creations, and therefore, by this argument, not ‘objectively true. Professor Tallis remarks that those who use this argument are worthy successors of the Cretan of old who said all Cretans were liars.

In todays seminar he focusses on the so-called problem of embodimentBergson, Marcel, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger in his Zollikon Seminars, have struggled with what Heidegger called the difficult quest of finding an adequate, ‘Daseinappropriate’, human language for our bodily being-in-the-world.

Professor Tallis asserts and establishes our lived body (variously termed in the literature body-for-self, subtle body, Leib), our embodied being-in-the-world, as the primary reality. This is of fundamental importance for psychotherapists of any school. The confusion between lived body and body-as-object lies at the heart, the unlived, objectified heart, of the misunderstanding about ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’, and of the attempt by psychotherapists to masquerade as some kind of profession ancillary to modern natural-scientific medicine, the admirable and appropriate science of the body-as-object.

Raymond Tallis writes about todays seminar:

That we are organisms cannot be denied: we are generated by processes common to other living creatures and die of similar causes. Between our biological beginning and our biological end, however, we live lives that are distant from the organic processes that sustain them. The seminar will explore our nature as embodied beings-in-the-world, inseparable from, and yet not identical with, our bodies, and the tension between the I am of the person and the it is of the organism.’

For an account of how Raymond Tallis writes his extraordinary books, see his article ‘My writing day: In my favourite pub, the staff turn down the speaker in my writing corner’, in The Guardian Review of 29 April 2017:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/29/my-writing-day-raymond-tallis

Raymond Tallis was a Professor of Geriatric Medicine and consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly. He has published two hundred research articles in the neurology of old age and neurological rehabilitation, as well as a novel, short stories, three volumes of poetry, and thirty books on philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art, and cultural criticism. He has received many awards and honorary degrees. In 2009, the Economist listed him as one of the world’s twenty leading polymaths.

Nicholas Fearn wrote in The Independent:

When Kirsty Young was asked to name her favourite guest on Desert Island Discs, the rock star Paul Weller was beaten into second place, for her own luxury item would be the writer Raymond Tallis.

Raymond Tallis, whose fifth Inner Circle Seminar this will be, kindly confirms that our seminar structure, in which dialogue is of the essence, enables him to communicate and reflect on his ideas. He wrote, after his first Inner Circle Seminar, The Intellectual Plague of Biologism, on 2 December 2012:

The seminar was for me an incredible experience. I have never previously had the opportunity to discuss the topics we covered in such depth with a group of people who came at it from such different angles but in a way that I found illuminating. I learned a lot. It was a tremendous privilege.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Laing & Esterson. 10. The Kings. 50 years on. Hilary Mantel and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 242 (13 May 2018)

Laing and Esterson
Sanity, Madness and the Family
50 Years On
Family 10: The Kings

Dame Hilary Mantel   Anthony Stadlen
conduct
Inner Circle Seminar No. 242
Sunday 13 May 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hilary Mantel
Aaron Esterson
R. D. Laing


This utterly straightforward book is still not understood today, especially by ‘professionals’. But Hilary Mantel, who gained courage to become a novelist through reading it when she was nearly twenty-one, understood it. She urged readers: ‘Just read the simple words the people speak.’ In this seminar you will have a unique opportunity to discuss with Hilary Mantel and living members of the King’ family ‘the simple words the people speak’, both in their conversations with Esterson in the early 1960s as reported in the book, and today, in the seminar itself, half a century later.

In her first Reith lecture Hilary Mantel discusses the relation between the historical novelist and the historian.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/03/hilary-mantel-why-i-became-a-historical-novelist

She brings to our seminars the unique genius of an historical novelist who sees far more profoundly than the rest of us the implications of the known historical facts but does not present invention as history. Each of our seminars begins with her wonderful reflections on what is given in the text of the book. She has no privileged access to the case. She learns what I have discovered as an historian only as do the other seminar participants, when I report my interviews with the surviving members of the family half a century later.

Nine of the original eleven women diagnosed schizophrenic are now dead; but Mantel recalls Auden:

... the crack in the teacup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

She could have also have quoted Eliot:

And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

In this tenth of the eleven families, however, while her father and mother are dead, Hazel herself and a significant number of her relatives who know her are still alive and agreed to be interviewed.

Why is this nowadays rarely read or even referenced book of 1964 so important? It is, after all, absent from almost all discussions either of the family or of schizophreniaThe extremely rare discussions of it patronise it, as if they had long passed beyond it; but without having begun to understand it, let alone catch up with it.

And yet it is so simple.

It is true that R. D. Laing and Aaron Estersons research, reported in this masterpiece of 1964 and continued by Esterson in his profound The Leaves of Spring: A Study in the Dialectics of Madness (1970), was a concrete embodiment of the complex theoretical work of their most advanced and radical contemporaries of the 1960s: Jean-Paul SartreCritique of Dialectical Reason and The Question of MethodThomas SzaszThe Myth of Mental Illness; and Martin Heidegger and Medard BossZollikon Seminars.

Sartre highly esteemed Laing and Esterson’s work on families. Szasz had enormous respect for Esterson; he thought this book was on a higher level than Laing’s other books; he also thought Stadlens research following up the eleven families important. Heidegger would surely have loved the book, though it is unlikely he knew it; it embodies that straightforward openness and humanity he tried to convey in his Zollikon seminars, though he might well have asked: Why drag in Sartre? Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann of FreiburgHeidegger’s personal assistant whom he entrusted with editing posthumously his 102-volume Collected Works, and his wife Frau Dr. Veronika von Herrmann, particularly admire Laing and Esterson’s work. But almost all Daseinsanalysts, existential therapists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists  and of course psychiatrists – ignore it.

But the book is essentially simple. What did Laing and Esterson say that was so simple: too simple for ‘professionals’ to understand?

We believe that the shift of point of view that these descriptions both embody and demand has an historical significance no less radical than the shift from a demonological to a clinical viewpoint three hundred years ago.

Thus they introduced their great phenomenological descriptions of eleven families of ‘schizophrenics’. But, more than fifty years on, the ‘clinical viewpoint’ still reigns supreme. ‘Existential’, ‘Lacanian’, ‘Laingian’, ‘humanist’, ‘person-centred’ therapists and a galaxy of similarly impressively titled psychoanalysts and psychotherapists love to call themselves ‘clinicians’.

The great and the good, including younger members of our royal family, seek ‘parity’ for ‘physical’ and ‘mental health’. This is well-intentioned but confusing. Indeed ‘it is good to talk’ – but not in this mystifying, pseudo-scientific language. 

Have Laing and Esterson been proved wrong? They wrote:

Nobody can deny us the right to disbelieve in schizophrenia.’

Why, then, do most psychiatrists and psychotherapists claim Laing and Esterson said ‘families cause schizophrenia’? They can not have understood, if they have ever remembered, if they have ever read, the first sentences of the second edition (1970) of the book:

There have been many studies of mental illness and the family. This book is not of them, at least in our opinion.’

Hilary Mantel wrote that ‘the simple words the people speak’ in Laing and Esterson’s book gave her, when twenty years old, the courage to write her own books, which have been internationally acclaimed. Her introductions to the seminars in this series have enthralled participants with their sensitive understanding of, and deeply perceptive insight into, each family in turn.

As she has written:

Some of us need a little push, before we recognise we have the right to pick up a pen. In my case it came from a book by the psychiatrists R. D. Laing and Aaron EstersonSanity, Madness and the Family... The people in it seemed close enough to touch... Each interview is a novel or play in miniature. So many of these family conversations seemed familiar to me: their swerves and evasions, their doubleness... For most of my life I had been told that I didn't know how the world worked. That afternoon I decided I did know, after all. In the course of my twenty-one years I'd noticed quite a lot. If I wanted to be a writer, I didn't have to worry about inventing material, I'd already got it. The next stage was just to find some words.

Hilary Mantelat least, had no difficulty understanding what Laing and Esterson were talking about:

All the patients profiled in the book are young women. I know their names are pseudonyms, but over the years I've wondered desperately what happened to them, and if there's anyone alive who knows, and whether any of them ever cut free from the choking knotweed of miscommunication and flourished on ground of their own: Ruth, who was thought odd because she wore coloured stockings; Jean, who wanted a baby though her whole family told her she didn't; and Sarah, whose breakdown, according to her family, was caused by too much thinking.

(http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/06/1)

Anthony Stadlen, through his historical research, is able to answer some of Hilary Mantels questions.

Laing and Esterson wrote:

Surely, if we are wrong, it would be easy to show that we are, by studying a few families and revealing that schizophrenics really are talking a lot of nonsense after all.

Anthony Stadlen accepted this challenge by studying the very same eleven families they had studiedToday, you can meet and question living members of her family. In this way, you can collaborate in the project of deciding whether these eleven women were ‘really talking a lot of nonsense after all’.

This is the only chapter of the eleven that Stadlens research shows to be seriously inaccurate in one respect. We shall discuss whether this inaccuracy affects Laing and Esterson’s general argument about the social intelligibility of Hazel’s alleged ‘illness’.

Your contribution to the discussion will be greatly welcomed.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, mineral water, Durrants rock included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857  +44 (0) 7809 433 250
E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Heidegger's Zollikon Seminars. 10. The Psychoanalytic Life History. Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 241 (21 January 2018)

Heidegger’s Zollikon Seminars
(1959-1969)
A 50th-anniversary revaluation
10. Heidegger and Boss discuss Freud (3)
(Taormina, April 1963)
‘... the psychoanalytic life history is not a history at all, rather a causal chain’

Anthony Stadlen
conducts Inner Circle Seminar No. 241
Sunday 21 January 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Martin Heidegger
at home, Freiburg
Martin Heidegger   Medard Boss
on the Feldweg south of Messkirch


                                                                                                                                                   
      







Between 1959 and 1969 the philosopher Martin Heidegger gave seminars, now renowned as the ‘Zollikon seminars’, for psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the home of the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Medard Boss in Zollikon, near Zurich. In April 1963 Heidegger and Boss had a holiday in Taormina, Sicily, during which they intensively discussed the foundations of human relationships and psychotherapy. Heidegger tried to show how Daseinsanalysis could demystify psychoanalysis. He did not throw Freud’s phenomenological insights out with the ‘metapsychological’ bathwater, but understood them as ‘ecstatic world-relationship’ rather than as ‘psychic mechanism’. Today we focus on Heidegger’s critique of ‘the psychoanalytic life-history’ (‘Lebensgeschichte’, mistranslated in the standard translation as case-history), which he claimed to Boss ‘is not a history at all, rather a causal chain...’.

Heidegger is not reported in the book Zollikon Seminars as mentioning, far less examining, any actual psychoanalytic ‘life-histories’ (or case-histories). Nor do I know of any place in his 102-volume collected works where he does so. Boss reports showing Heidegger, first, some of Freud’s ‘metapsychological’ papers; they apparently made Heidegger feel ‘physically ill’. Next Boss offered some of Freud’s papers on so-called ‘technique’, to which Heidegger was more open. But why did not Boss show Heidegger some of Freud’s remarkable case-studies, with their detailed, flawed, fascinating human accounts of human relationships? Indeed, why should Heidegger need to be seduced into reading Freud at all, and especially in this back-to-front way, rather than simply reading him himself, if he was going to comment on him?

In fact, the term ‘psychoanalytic life-history’ (‘psychoanalytische Lebensgeschichte’) occurs nowhere in Freud’s collected works, although ‘Lebensgeschichte’ itself occurs fifty-one times. We shall explore how Freud actually uses it, for example in Studies on Hysteria,  the ‘Dora’ case, his essay on Leonardo, and his paper On Beginning the Treatment. We shall see that, while Freud does want to be seen as a natural-scientist in his theorising, in his great case-histories he is explicitly writing in the very advanced German Novelle tradition. He discusses in detail his task of creating his own narrative of narrative of how he helped his patient create from his or her initial narrative a deepening and clarifying passion narrative or suffering history (Leidensgeschichte). This is far from the presumption of a mechanistic linear causality. Yet so-called existential therapists often do not see this existential and phenomenological Freud because they have been taught not to see it and rewarded for not seeing it. This is a disaster.  

We shall ask whether Heidegger’s critique is nevertheless to some extent justified. If so, then what can be salvaged daseinsanalytically from such psychoanalytic ‘histories’, and how might they be modified, to meet his criteria of authentic ‘history’? Or does his critique itself need to be modified?

Is there some kind of authentic ‘daseinsanalytic life-history’ somewhere, perhaps in Boss’s or Condrau’s works? If so, can it simply ignore the insights of psychoanalysis? Or should it, as in Sartre’s biographies of Baudelaire, Genet, and Flaubert, include a more accurate, more specific, ‘existential-psychoanalytic’ investigation of each person's unique childhood?

Sartre thought Freud was not interested enough in the past. He thought Freud too readily settled for certain stereotypical constellations of childhood: the Oedipus complex, primal scene, castration, and so on. Sartre sought the original and unique project, freely chosen, by which each child responds to his or her unique family situation. What would Heidegger think of this? Presumably he would criticise Sartreexistential psychoanalysis as itself settling for the existentiell. But has Bossor Condrau, or any other Daseinsanalyst, written life-histories or case-histories that are, in Heideggers sense, existential

The above are some of the issues we shall explore in this seminar.


Anthony Stadlen is the only UK Daseinsanalyst, an existential, psychoanalytic and family psychotherapist; he has also researched for decades the case-histories of Freud and other great pioneers of psychotherapy. He is a former Research Fellow of the Freud Museum, London, and convenor of the Inner Circle Seminars.

Venue: ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, berries, nuts, mineral water included; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.