The Michael Fordham Prize

michael-fordhamThe Michael Fordham Prize is awarded annually for the paper published in the J.A.P. in the previous year that demonstrates the most creative and original approach to clinical analytic thinking. The prize of £250 is awarded by the Editors in consultation with the Journal Editorial Committee. Michael Fordham believed that clinical work must always be at the heart of analytic thinking since it provides the data on which theory is based and the context in which it must be tested. The prize aims to promote this approach to the development of analytical psychology. The Editors will be looking for the paper that most closely meets the following criteria:

  • An original contribution to the field of analytical psychology.
  • A topic of direct relevance to the clinical work of practising analysts.
  • Substantial, detailed clinical material that is central to the paper’s argument.
  • A close interplay between the clinical material and theoretical discussion so that the clinical data supports the theory (and vice versa) rather than being determined by the theory in a ‘theory-driven’ way.

Papers do not necessarily need to utilise Fordham’s own theoretical perspective but should demonstrate an attitude of open, rigorous, research-minded enquiry. The prize will be awarded following publication of the November issue of the Journal and will be announced in the April edition of the following year.


Joint winners of the 2015 Michael Fordham prize


Robert Tyminski "Lost in (cyber)space: finding two adolescent boys hiding from their own humanity"

Abstract (Vol. 60:2)

This article explores the intense psychological effects of compulsive Internet use, which has become increasingly common among adolescent boys and young men. Two cases are presented and discussed to illustrate some of the psychic distortions around thinking and feeling, as these occurred in the analysis of a mid-adolescent boy and of another patient in later adolescence. A kind of narcissistic omnipotence grounded in magical thinking appeared to take root in their minds, and it led to an avoidant pattern in relationships because of such strong wishes for both distance and control. A short review of the conceptual origins of magical thinking underscores its continued relevance because so many now engage with the Internet. In addition, Anzieu's idea of the ‘skin ego’ is applied to the clinical case material to provide a theoretical framework for the developmental challenges that can appear in adolescent boys who seek to use the Internet as a form of psychic container. Emerging problems that immersion in the Internet might bring into our practices, for example the depleting effects of massive projective identification, are considered and discussed, along with the obvious ways in which using the Internet can be beneficial for connecting with others, for creating new platforms of expression, and for education..



Robert Withers "The seventh penis: towards effective psychoanalytic work with pre-surgical transsexuals"

Abstract (Vol. 60:3)

The author reflects on his contrasting analytic work with two transsexual patients. He uses three previous psychoanalytic studies (Stoller, Morel and Lemma) to explore whether effective analytic work with the issues driving a person's determined wish for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is possible. Particular consideration is given to how such work might navigate a path between traumatizing and pathologizing the patient on the one hand and avoiding important analytic material out of fear of so doing on the other. The author proceeds to ask whether it is possible to tell in advance, with any degree of reliability, who is and who is not likely to benefit from surgery. He considers certain diagnostic issues in relation to these questions. Illustrations are given of how, in practice, countertransference anxieties about psychopathologizing transsexual patients can contribute to significant difficulties in working clinically with them. It is argued that the understanding and containment of such anxieties could eventually lead to more effective analytic work, and that such work might be further facilitated by considering the contribution of mind-body dissociation to transsexualism.



Previous winners of the Michael Fordham prize

Richard Carvalho 2014
Synchronicity, the infinite unrepressed, dissociation and the interpersonal
(Vol. 59:3) Abstract

Christian Maier 2014
Intersubjectivity and the creation of meaning in the analytic process
(Vol 59:5) Abstract

Elena Pourtova 2013
Nostalgia and lost identity
(Vol. 58:1) Abstract

Martin Schmidt 2012
Psychic skin: psychotic defences, borderline process and delusions
(Vol 57: 1) Abstract

Marica Rytovaara 2010
The transcendent function in adolescence: miracle cures and bogeymen
(Vol 55: 2) Abstract

Christopher MacKenna 2009
From the numinous to the sacred
(Vol 54: 2) Abstract

Richard Carvalho 2008
The final challenge: ageing, dying, individuation
(Vol. 53:1) Abstract

Jean Knox 2007
Fear of love: the denial of self in relationship
(Vol. 52:5) Abstract

Francois Martin-Vallas 2006
The transferential chimera: a clinical approach
(Vol. 51:5) Abstract

Judith Woodhead 2004
‘Dialectical process’ and ‘constructive method’: micro-analysis of relational process in an example from parent-infant psychotherapy
(Vol. 49:2) Abstract

Marcus West 2004
Identity, narcissism and the emotional core
(Vol. 49:4) Abstract

Margaret Wilkinson 2003
Undoing trauma. Contemporary neuroscience: a Jungian clinical perspective
(Vol.48:2) Abstract

Gustav Bovensiepen 2002
Symbolic attitude and reverie: problems of symbolization in children and adolescents
(Vol. 47:2) Abstract

James Astor 2001
Is transference the ‘total situation’?
(Vol. 46:3) Abstract

Mara Sidoli 2000
The little puppet: working with autistic defences in mother/infant psychotherapy
(Vol. 45:2) Abstract

Hester Solomon 1998
The self in transformation: the passage from a two- to a three-dimensional internal world
(Vol. 43:2) Abstract

George Bright 1997
Synchronicity as a basis of analytic attitude
(Vol. 42:4) Abstract

Giles Clark 1996
The animating body: psychoid substance as a mutal experience of psychosomatic disorder
(Vol. 41:3). Abstract


Michael Fordham