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 2016 Michael Fordham prize


Salvatore Martini

Embodying analysis: the body and the therapeutic process
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Sue Austin

Working with chronic and relentless self-hatred, self-harm and existential shame: a clinical study and reflections (Paper 1 of 2)
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Abstract (Vol. 60:3)

This paper considers the transfer of somatic effects from patient to analyst, which gives rise to embodied countertransference, functioning as an organ of primitive communication. By means of processes of projective identification, the analyst experiences somatic disturbances within himself or herself that are connected to the split-off complexes of the analysand. The analysty’s own attempt at mind-body integration ushers the patient towards a progressive understanding and acceptance of his or her inner suffering.
Such experiences of psychic contagion between patient and analyst are related to Jung’s ‘psychology of the transference’ and the idea of the ‘subtle body’ as an unconscious shared area. The re-attribution of meaning to pre-verbal psychic experiences within the ‘embodied reverie’ of the analyst enables the analytic dyad to reach the archetypal energies and structuring power of the collective unconscious. A detailed case example is presented of how the emergence of the vitalizing connection between the psyche and the soma, severed through traumatic early relations with parents or carers, allows the instinctual impulse of the Self to manifest, thereby reactivating the process of individuation.

Abstract (Vol. 60:2)

This paper is the first of a two-part series which explores some of the theoretical and experiential reference points that have emerged in my work with people whose relationship to their body and/or sense of self is dominated by self-hatred and (what Hultberg describes as) existential shame. The first paper focuses on self-hatred and the second paper focuses on shame. This first paper is structured around vignettes taken from a 14-year analysis with a woman who was bulimic, self-harmed and repeatedly described herself as ‘feeling like a piece of shit’. It draws together elements of Jung's concepts of the complex and symbol, and Laplanche's enigmatic signifier to focus on experiences of ‘inner otherness’ around which we are unconsciously organized. It also brings Jung's understanding that emotion is the chief source of consciousness into conversation with Laplanche's approach to the transference which is that by being aware that they do not ‘know’, the analyst provides a ‘hollow’ in which the patient's analytic process can evolve. These combinations of ideas are linked speculatively to emerging understandings of the neuroscience of perception and throughout the paper clinical material is used to illustrate these discussions.


Previous winners of the Michael Fordham prize

Robert Withers 2015
The seventh penis: towards effective psychoanalytic work with pre-surgical transsexuals
(Vol. 60:3) Abstract

Robert Tyminski 2015
Lost in (cyber)space: finding two adolescent boys hiding from their own humanity
(Vol. 60:2) Abstract

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