The psychoanalytic approach to depression and its cognate states, including despair and mania, sees them to be parts of our human repertoire of responses to loss, the painfulness of conflicts of love and hate, and the god-like omnipotence not only of our destructive impulses but of our constructive ones as well. Although in ways that may not always be obvious, or often may be hidden and denied, most of these will be seen ultimately to relate to our great difficulties  and struggles with matters of family, love and sex, birth, babies and death: issues that in fact are of the most profound importance to us, both as private individuals and as a species.

Detailed psychoanalytic work with patients across all parts of the lifecycle has led to advances in our knowledge and our ways of working. We have a better understanding both of depression and, in a different way, of mania. Generally, we understand them as fundamentally psycho-somatic states of both psyche and soma. An excess of painful loss and a predominance of paranoid schizoid feelings of physiological fight-flight can make forms of development that are based upon facing fact and reality very difficult. Instead, they can lead to complex alterations and deformations of the psyche. Without these being understood, they will limit and constrain what is possible for the individual concerned....

Keynote Speakers

Mary Hepworth (formerly Mary Target)

Faustian Bargains

Wilhelm Skogstad

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Organizer: Psychoanalysis Unit of the University College in London