Program of Studies 2022


Contemporary Psychoanalytic Theory

This one-year course examines key contemporary theorists in psychoanalysis who have been influential in the development of psychoanalytic ideas and clinical practice. The seminar runs for four terms of eight weeks each over the year and generally aligns with school terms.

Participants are encouraged to enrol for the whole year. No previous experience is required.

Term 1: Bionion Field Theory

It was the Barangers (Willy and Madeleine) from South America in the 1960s who came up with the idea of field theory. They postulated that therapist and patient, or rather their mental lives in the session, form a field, within which it is not at first possible to distinguish what belongs to one and what to the other. In fact, it is the area of unconscious collusion arising (the bulwark) that becomes the subject of the analyst’s exploration and interpretation.

As such, psychoanalytic field theory highlights the social nature of the subjective mind, and the intersubjective and dreamlike climate in which a psychoanalytic session unfolds. This development in psychoanalytic theory could be viewed as a radical departure from Freud’s one-person psychology, although intuited by object relational constructs.

This term, we will be reading The Violence of Emotions: Bionian and Post-Bionian Psychoanalysis (2012), by Guiseppe Citivarese. Citivarese marries an ability to introduce the reader to the intimate climate of an analytic session with a passionate re-reading of Bion. He uses field theory as the psychoanalytic model. Even more important is his attention on the central role of emotions in mental life. This is an aspect which the author rediscovers and explores in the thought of Bion, and which he regards as a way of investigating the most primitive levels of mental life.

It is expected that participants buy the book. We will provide some papers that will clarify some basic understanding of field theory if this is necessary.

Time: Monday 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Dates: 7 February to 28 March 2022
Seminar Leaders: Dr Thea Van Hees and Sigrid O’Callaghan
Fees: $500 per term

For enrolment and further information contact the coordinators:

Dr Thea van Hees or call 07 3832 1096

Sigrid O’Callaghan

Term 2: Psychoanalysis and Sociological Understanding

Following Freud, many psychoanalysts have applied psychoanalytic understanding to contemporary social and cultural phenomenon. In this seminar we will explore the writings of two prominent Psychoanalysts – M. Fakhry Davids, a British Analyst and Nancy Chodorow, an American Analyst and Emeritus Professor of Sociology.

The term will be divided into two sets of three weeks focused on each writer.

M. Fakhry Davids’ work explores the internal dimensions of racism and proposes a clinical model of how racist dynamics play out in the mind. In his book Internal Racism: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Race and Difference (2011) and in other recent writings he theorises how race/class is internalised and operates, and how it can be addressed in group and individual settings.

Nancy Chodorow in The Psychoanalytic Ear and the Sociological Eye – Toward and American Psychoanalytic Tradition, Routledge (2020) argues the case for an American Independent Tradition grounded in ego psychology and intersubjectivity, incorporating an understanding of the social and cultural contexts which influence human development and all relationships including the analytic dyad.

Time: Monday 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Dates: 9 May – 13 June
Seminar Leaders: Mary O’Brien and Bernadette Rosbrook
Fees: $400 per term

For enrolment and further information contact the seminar leader:

Mary O’Brien or 0418 734 746

Bernadette Rosbrook or 0410 219 675

Term 3: Contemporary Winnicott

Donald Winnicott was an important psychoanalyst of the British Independent Tradition. His understanding and conceptualization of the significance of the infant’s early emotional experience has influenced psychoanalytic thinking over the decades. His contribution to the understanding of childhood, adolescence and adult life has had a profound influence. In this term we will be reading his important papers and the current understanding of his concepts.

Time: Monday 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Dates: Monday 11th July to Monday 29th August
Seminar Leaders: Margot Lynch and Sally Young
Fees: $500 per term

For enrolment and further information contact the seminar leader:

Margot Lynch or 0407137105
Sally Young or 0407162674

Term 4: Psychoanalytic Psychosomatics – The Understanding and Treatment of Somatic Disorders

From its inception psychoanalysis has been prolific in proposing ideas about psychosomatic relationships, but the psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of somatic disorders has evolved over time. This 8-session seminar revises this evolution, discussing key problems and ideas that underpin current approaches to the psychosomatic field.

Time: Monday 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Dates: Monday 10th October to Monday 28th November
Seminar Leader: Dr Jaime Yasky
Fees: $500 per term

For enrolment and further information contact the coordinator:

Dr Jaime Yasky or 0468 571 140


Working with Difficult Presentations in Adolescence

This is a course of 8 weekly seminars that references contemporary authors to examine the psychoanalytic understanding of adolescent developmental challenges and their link to severe clinical presentations such as anorexia, gender dysphoria, deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts. The aim is to provide relevant conceptual tools to think through clinical and work-related material.

Time: Thursday 28th July to Thursday 15th September, 6.30pm to 8.00pm
Seminar Leader: Dr Jaime Yasky
Fee: $500 per term

For enrolment and further information contact:

Dr Jaime Yasky or 0468 571 140


Infant Observation

This is a one or two year course of weekly seminars where participants bring detailed accounts of their weekly observations of an infant in his or her home environment from birth onwards. The course aims to develop observational skills and an understanding of the infant’s emerging relationships. This course is one of the best ways of learning about the observer’s own involvement in clinical situations.

This is an ongoing weekly seminar of 11/4 hours. Participants are expected to enrol for at least one year. There is no prerequisite for this course. There will be a maximum of four participants in this seminar.

Seminar Leader: Margot Lynch
Fee: $50 per seminar
Time and dates to be arranged with the seminar leader and dependent on restrictions related to the COVID-19 situation

For enrolment and further information contact the seminar leaders:

Margot Lynch    or call 0407 137 105