Author Archive

A Symposium on Restraint in Mental Health Care, Past and Present (London)

A Symposium on Strong Clothing and Restraint in Mental Healthcare

Wednesday 31 July, 5 – 8pm

Book online:

Jane Fradgley’s evocative photographs of historical restraining garments from the Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives & Museum evidence her interest in fabric and utilitarian clothing, an intrinsic remnant of her past career as a fashion designer. Through held this artist offers her unique perspective; a poetic documentation for contemplation with the added intention of contributing to a dialogue and debate around protection, restraint and chemical intervention in mental health care today.

Accompanying the exhibition in the MRC SGDP Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, this symposium offers a variety of perspectives on restraint in mental healthcare, past and present. Building on a focus group, held at the Bethlem Gallery in 2012, this symposium invites clinicians, historians, artists and service users to debate the topic of what exactly is restraint, and how (and if) we can ever draw a line between care, cure and control. We welcome audience discussion following short presentations.

Participants include:

*  Chair: Niall Boyce (Senior Editor at The Lancet)
*  Jane Fradgley (artist and fashion designer)
* Laura Allison (Psychotherapist and historian, researching rapid tranquilisation)
* Sarah Chaney (Historian specialising in late nineteenth-century asylum psychiatry)

Doors will open at 5pm, with a reception and chance to view the exhibition.
The symposium will begin at 6pm, ending by 8pm.

Location: MRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, 16 De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AF (within the Maudsley Hospital complex). Nearest station: Denmark Hill

All are welcome, and entry is free. Space is limited and tickets must be booked in advance at

Part of the ‘Damaging the Body’ event series (<>)

Maudsley Debates: Enabling or Labelling? (King’s College London)

This House believes that psychiatric diagnosis has advanced the care of people with mental health problems.

Wednesday 5th June, 6pm (refreshments served from 5.30pm)

To coincide with the publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), sometimes described as the “Bible” of American psychiatry, the Institute of Psychiatry is hosting a debate on the issue of psychiatric diagnosis.  Some argue that a rigorously  standardised system of classification of mental disorders forms an essential role in conceptualising a patient’s problem, in predicting what treatments are likely to be effective, and in conducting valid scientific research.  Others consider psychiatric diagnoses to be no more than labels, which lack scientific and predictive validity and serve only to stigmatise and objectify those who suffer from mental disorders.  These issues will be debated in the 48th Maudsley Debate on Wednesday 5 June at 6pm at the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill.  The motion is “This House believes that psychiatric diagnosis has advanced the care of people with mental health problems.”

Speaking for the motion

Prof Norman Sartorius, former president of the World Psychiatric Association

Prof Anthony David, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry

Speaking against the motion

Dr Felicity Callard, Senior Lecturer in Social Science for Medical Humanities, Durham University

Dr Pat Bracken, Clinical Director of Mental Health in West Cork and author of “Post- Psychiatry: Mental Health in a Post-Modern World”.

Chair:  Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Vice Dean for Academic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry

Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry Main Building, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF
Contact: Hannah Baker
For more information, click here.

Guardian article: “Interpretation of seams? Sigmund Freud’s couch needs £5,000 restoration”

This past Sunday 5 May, The Guardian featured an article entitled “Interpretation of seams? Sigmund Freud’s couch needs £5,000 restoration”. It recounts how the Freud Museum in London has launched an appeal for funds to restore ‘possibly the most famous piece of furniture in the world’:

It is possibly the most famous piece of furniture in the world, but the couch in Sigmund Freud‘s consulting room is now sagging under the weight of more than a century of dreams, terrors, traumas and phobias, and is overdue for a facelift.

The Freud Museum in London has launched an appeal on what would have been his 157th birthday for funds to restore the couch on which his patients lay while they bared their souls to him.

Many of Freud’s most famous patients, whose psychological traumas helped him to formulate his theories of psychoanalysis, lay on the couch. They included the “Wolf Man”, a wealthy Russian whose sister and father both killed themselves, nicknamed for a childhood dream he recalled while lying on the couch; “Dora”, whom Freud diagnosed as suffering from hysteria; and the “Rat Man”, named for his obsessive fantasies.

To read the entire article, click here.

Summer events – The Institute of Psychoanalysis (London)

Summer events from The Institute of Psychoanalysis

For more details and online booking visit

Wednesday 8 May 2013
Open Evening

If you have ever thought about becoming a psychoanalyst, this evening offers you the chance to hear senior analysts speak about the profession and training process, hear perspectives from current students, join small group discussions and tour the Institute.

The evening is open to anyone interested in the possibility of training as a psychoanalyst or learning about other events including the Foundation Course.

Find out more

Friday 17 – Saturday 18 May 2013
Psychoanalysis, Literature and Politics: Celebrating Hanna Segal’s Contributions

A memorial conference celebrating the career of Hanna Segal, one of the most eminent psychoanalysts of her generation. She made fundamental contributions to psychoanalytic theory and practice, including work on symbolic function, creativity and aesthetics. She also maintained a deep political engagement throughout her life, uniquely combining her understanding of very primitive layers of the mind with an acute political sensitivity. Her contribution has been recognised all over the world and her works translated into numerous langauges.

Find out more

Friday 7 June 2013
Transference and Countertransference with Somatic Patients

A lecture presented by psychoanalyst Marilia Aisenstein, in which she will examine Freud’s work to try to understand why his interest in countertransference seemed to have disappeared and propose that his papers on thought, transference and telepathy could be the basis for a modern view on countertransference. Marilia will also develop her own views on transference with somatic patients and neurotic patients in general.

Find out more

Saturday 15 June 2013
Screening Conditions: Surviving Life
Directed by Jan Svankmajer, 2010

A screening of this brilliant surrealistic fantasy about dreams and psychoanalysis. Eugene leads a double life – one real, the other in his dreams. In real life he has a wife called Milada. In his dreams he has a young girlfriend called Eugenia. Sensing that these dreams have some deeper meaning, he goes to see a psychoanalyst, Dr Holubova, who interprets them for him. The film will be introduced by psychoanalyst Andrea Sabbadini and followed by a discussion  with film critic, broadcaster and historian Ian Christie.

Find out more

Saturday 29 June 2013
Oedipus Through the Life Cycle: Adulthood

Psychoanalyst Isabel Hernandez Halton examines the developments in theories about women’s sexuality since Freud’s postulation that ‘the sexual life of adult women is a dark continent for psychology’. Michael Halton, psychoanalyst and psychologist, explores what may be distinctive in male sexuality and how Freud’s  ideas might be reviewed in the light of Klein’s emphasis on the Primal Scene in both its sexual and non sexual dynamics. Chaired by Leon Kleimberg.

Find out more

New issue – History of the Human Sciences

A new issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online and contains the following two articles which may be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Badness, madness and the brain – the late 19th-century controversy on immoral persons and their malfunctioning brains (Felix Schirmann)

In the second half of the 19th-century, a group of psychiatric experts discussed the relation between brain malfunction and moral misconduct. In the ensuing debates, scientific discourses on immorality merged with those on insanity and the brain. This yielded a specific definition of what it means to be immoral: immoral and insane due to a disordered brain. In this context, diverse neurobiological explanations for immoral mind and behavior existed at the time. This article elucidates these different brain-based explanations via five historical cases of immoral persons. In addition, the article analyses the associated controversies in the context of the period’s psychiatric thinking. The rendering of the immoral person as brain-disordered is scrutinized in terms of changes in moral agency. Furthermore, a present immoral person is discussed to highlight commonalities and differences in past and present reasoning.

Making the cut: The production of ‘self-harm’ in post-1945 Anglo-Saxon psychiatry (Chris Millard)

‘Deliberate self-harm’, ‘self-mutilation’ and ‘self-injury’ are just some of the terms used to describe one of the most prominent issues in British mental health policy in recent years. This article demonstrates that contemporary literature on ‘self-harm’ produces this phenomenon (to varying extents) around two key characteristics. First, this behaviour is predominantly performed by those identified as female. Second, this behaviour primarily involves cutting the skin. These constitutive characteristics are traced back to a corpus of literature produced in the 1960s and 1970s in North American psychiatric inpatient institutions; analysis shows how pre-1960 works were substantially different. Finally, these gendered and behavioural assertions are shown to be the result of historically specific processes of exclusion and emphasis.

For a complete table of contents, click here.

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