From Devastation to Truth and Reconciliation and Bion’s aesthetic route from trauma into meaning: Penny de Haas Curnow

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Date(s) - 02/12/2017
10:00 am - 3:45 pm

Cambridge - Friends Meeting House


From Devastation to Truth and Reconciliation and

Bion’s Aesthetic Route from Trauma into Meaning

 A Clinical Study Day

Penny de Haas Curnow

Respondent: Ian Alister

Chair: Wendy Bratherton

Bion was concerned with the receptivity of the analyst to the pre-symbolic and to communicate experience, touching the patient with authenticity and emotional accuracy impossible through prescribed methods and ‘knowing beforehand’. Through the ‘language of achievement’ the analyst must become an artist whose transformations, bearings of equivalent woundedness, personify as unfolding narrative in which, like art, unthinkable, awesome, empty spaces of terror can be contemplated and inspire. Negative capability involves synthesis of scrutiny and ‘blindness’ as sight in the unconscious, the availability of the ‘muse’, image, imagination, the multidimensionality of the ‘oneiric holographic field’ (Ferro 2009), the regenerative perspective of the ‘compassionate heart’ capturing the moment of humanity, the figurability of the nascent self, invoking trust and motivation to change. For Bion aesthetic communication was a matter ‘of life and death’ (Bion 2006; (Civitarese 2013). Psychoanalysis, like the artist, is a living process through which art / meaning is born. The psychoanalyst/artist’s devotion to truth, ‘candour’, ‘lack of regard for decorum’, ‘the eye of interiority’, is  a mytho-poetic route in which self in trauma draws strength to evolve, to emerge and exist ‘as they are’ (Kipling 1892).

Penny de Haas Curnow is a training analyst, supervisor and teacher at the Society of Analytical Psychology in private practice, mainly working intensively. She has focused on analyst as artist and aesthetic processes for over twenty years, especially deeply traumatic, ‘impossible’ and ‘stuck’ states. She has led workshops, presented papers, summer schools and courses on the subject in both the UK and internationally. She is a Member of SAP Council and part of various groups involved with its trainings and culture. She is a practising artist.

Ian Alister is a training analyst with the SAP in private practice in Cambridge and has taught Bion’s ideas for twenty years. Bion had an exceptional ability to contain fragmented states, allowing them to coalesce in their own rhythm. The origins of this capacity can be traced through his own traumatic experiences of peace and war as well as in the distinctive sense of humour that permeates his thinking.

Chair: Wendy Bratherton 

For further information and programme, please click here: PPC Cambridge 02_12_17 Penny de Haas Curnow

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