Sunday 1 January 2012

Rachel Blass conducts: ‘Neuropsychoanalysis’ – and how it perverts the essence of psychoanalysis. Inner Circle Seminar 183 (4 November 2012)

‘Normal brain’ MRI scan
Rachel Blass

and how it perverts the essence of psychoanalysis

Rachel Blass
Inner Circle Seminar No. 183
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 4 November 2012
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the Inner Circle Seminars we have seen how other disciplines can throw light on psychotherapy. But, in two seminars, we study how a reductive, inauthentically ‘interdisciplinary’ approach can throw darkness rather than light. Next month, Raymond Tallis will discuss how biologism in general aspires to turn the ‘humanities’, including psychotherapy, into ‘animalities’. Today, the psychoanalyst Rachel Blass will focus on the special case of ‘neuropsychoanalysis’.

In their controversial 2007 paper ‘The Case Against Neuropsychoanalysis: On Fallacies Underlying Psychoanalysis’ Latest Scientific Trend and its Negative Impact on Psychoanalytic Discourse’ (Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88:19-40), Rachel Blass and Zvi Carmeli describe how ‘neuropsychoanalysis’ has become a kind of idolatry:

‘...the tone is at times prophetic, its source authoritative, and its appeal widespread. As over 1,000 analysts applauded the flashing images of colorful positron emission tomography (PET) scans presented by keynote speaker and renowned cognitive scientist Prof. Antonio Damasio at the opening session of the 44th IPA Congress in 2004, the dominance of the current neuroscientific trend in psychoanalysis was never more evident.’

Blass and Carmeli argue:

‘Neuropsychoanalysis over the past decade has been leading psychoanalysis towards an appreciation of the sensory, the physical, the visual, at the expense of psychological meaning, truth, and ideas that cannot be captured in the images of a PET scan, no matter how technologically advanced.’

In today’s seminar, Professor Rachel Blass will give evidence for her argument that ‘neuropsychoanalysis’ perverts the essence of psychoanalysis. You are cordially invited to join the discussion.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ (
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £116, others £145, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water and liquorice allsorts 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:
For further information on seminars, visit:

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 colleges.

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