Over the past 50 years, psychoanalysis has undergone many changes in both its theory and its practice. Departing from Freud’s original emphasis on what some have called his “Oedipal dream”, his heirs shifted focus to the Mother and her role in the early development of the infant. As a result, fundamentals of psychoanalysis such as the nature of the unconscious and structure formation have taken a back seat to newer approaches such as self psychology, intersubjectivity, attachment theory and other theories about infant development.
Our Symposium’s featured speaker, Andre Green, has embraced ideas both old and new, in creative ways. He has mined the work of analytic thinkers as diverse as Klein, Winnicott and Lacan to enrich the Freudian corpus. While Green’s landmark 1980 paper, The Dead Mother demanded attention to the subjective life of the infant faced with absence in the maternal dyad, Green has consistently maintained that the analyst speaks from the position of the third, someone who, like the Father, stands outside of that dyad.
The work of Green and others has inspired us to ask, “and what now of the Dead Father? What are the consequences of the Father's absence, and how is His absence represented in psychic and communal life?” Freud, of course posed this question in various works such as Totem and Taboo. But we ask it from the other side of the 20th Century, at a time in which major shifts in our theories and our culture have tended to minimize the role of the Father, both living and dead.
The internationally known psychoanalysts and scholars at this Symposium explored how this relative erasure of the Father affects our theories and our lives. The Symposium considered the impact of the Father's Death on:
The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 9.25 hours in category I credit towards the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award. [more on CME]
In conjunction with symposium the APM sponsored a yearlong study group. Each meeting focused either on the work of one of the symposium speakers or on the theme of the symposiuman exploration of the father in unconcsious mental life.
Stuart W. Taylor, Chair
and the Symposium Planning Committee