College of Psychoanalysts – uk international Conference, University of Manchester, 26-27 June 2017

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Author Bio: Shifa Haq is an Assistant Professor (Psychology- Psychotherapy) in School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi. She also works as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at Centre of Psychotherapy and Clinical Research, Ambedkar University Delhi. Her research interests include mourning in the context of disappearances in Kashmir, gender and psychoanalysis. Sabah Siddiqui is a third year PhD student at the University of Manchester. Her current research is looking at the faith healing practices at a Muslim shrine in India viewed through the lenses of postcolonialism and psychoanalysis.

A Cinematic Cosmos in Process: Islamicate Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Cinema

Author(s): Farshid Kazemi

Institutional affiliation (if any): University of Edinburgh

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Keywords: Psychoanalysis, Islamicate philosophy, hūrqalyā, Shaykh Aḥmad Aḥsāʾī, cinema, process philosophy

Abstract: In his seminar on Transference Jacques Lacan states: “Plato would be overjoyed by this invention [cinema]. There is no better illustration in the arts of what Plato places at the beginning of his vision of the world. What is expressed in his myth of the cave is illustrated every day for us by the dancing beams that shine on the screen, showing all our feelings in a shadowy state (Lacan, Seminar VIII, Transference, p. 33.) The relationship between Plato’s allegory of the cave and the cinematic apparatus has long been noted in film studies, but an evocative relationship can be drawn between this allegory, and the concept of the world of hūrqalyā in Islamicate philosophy. First developed by the Persian philosopher and founder of the Illuminationist school (‘ishraqi) of philosophy, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (1154-1191) and later by the Shi’i philosopher and mystic Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsāʾī (1753-1826), the realm of hūrqalyā is situated in an isthmus, an inter-world between the visible material world and the invisible world of intelligible forms or ideas, and is co-terminus with another important concept, namely the autonomous world of images or the ‘imaginal world’ (ʿālam al-mithāl), as Henry Corbin translated it. The etymology of hūrqalyā (a Syriac term derived from Sabeans or Mandeans) may be correlated conceptually to the way the ‘fire’ functions in Plato’s allegory of the cave, causing the shadow of images to be cast into the cave, symbolic of the visible world. Indeed, the world of hūrqalyā – as the world of images between the world of forms and the material world – acts as the projector of images that brings about the movement and process of the existentiation of the world. The notion of process in Islamicate philosophy originated with the Persian philosopher Sadr al-Din Shirazi (1571-1640), known as Mulla Sadra, and his concept of essential motion (al-haraka fi'l-jawhar) or substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya), but reaches its apotheosis in the complete process philosophy of Aḥsāʾī. In the Platonic view, the realm of forms or ideas remain static, but in Aḥsāʾī’s process philosophy the platonic forms become dynamic (going even beyond Mulla Sadra), in motion and in process, and may be compared with the process philosophy of Whitehead, and the ontology of movement and stillness in cinema. It will be suggested that Aḥsāʾī’s process philosophy is mirrored in the ontology of the cosmos and the ontology of cinema.

Author Bio: Farshid Kazemi is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK. He received his B.A. in English literature from the University of British Columbia, Canada.


Reconsidering the Infantile: The Concept of Child in Islamic Thought

Author(s): Nils S. Konstantinovs

Institutional affiliation (if any): Cambridge Theological Federation

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Keywords: Islam, Child, Childhood, Psychoanalysis

Abstract: As Plastow (2016) points out, every analysis in its essence can be considered to be a child analysis since the “time when I was small” with its inevitable “hole in the history” is a vehicle through which he or she becomes available to analysis in the first place. Therefore the idea of “a child” is central to any psychoanalytic or therapeutic work – be it with adults, adolescents or children. However, childhood studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the concept of a child in Western world has been socially, politically, theologically, and even clinically constructed over periods of time This paper looks at the perception of childhood in Islamic thought. It shows how Aristotle‘s idea of child as a “human in becoming” has influenced both the Western and Islamic philosophers. However, by analyzing some Islamic traditional texts, as well as works of notable medieval Islamic authors, it becomes clear that there is a specific Islamic understanding of a child which is closely connected to the theological idea of fitrah, and as such stands in stark contradiction to western heritage of progonikon hamartema. Some recent developments across Muslim communities are also mentioned with examples from contemporary culture geared towards Muslim children. The paper concludes with an invitation to discuss the potential/possibility of analysis in a framework of “hole-less” childhood.

Author Bio: Nils S. Konstantinovs is a Professional doctorate student at Cambridge Theological Federation (Wesley House, Cambridge). He earned his Masters degree in Theology and Religious Science from University of Latvia and is a trained Gestalt practitioner. He is conducting research on religious interventions in contemporary psychotherapy, and currently leads a project for adolescent mental health unit with the University Children‘s Hospital in Riga.


Islam on the Couch: The politics of secular psychoanalysis in India

Author(s): Ms. Zehra Mehdi

Link to draft paper

Institutional affiliation (if any): Columbia University, New York

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Keywords: Secularism, Hindu-Muslim, India, Politics

Abstract: When a patient responded to my silence on his graphic phantasy of assaulting Muslims, “You cannot judge me. You can't be a Muslim and a psychotherapist”, I found myself adrift with the question, ‘What was the place of religion in a psychoanalytic clinic?’ Was religion of the patient or that of the therapist of any consequence to the therapy? What if, the patient was bringing in this phantasy, a narrative that corresponds to the historical political reality of religion in the country? More importantly, how did the existing theoretical conceptions of the psyche inform the practice of psychoanalysis in the clinic in relation to religion? My paper attempts to engage with these questions in regards to the practice of psychoanalysis in India. I propose that, psychoanalysis in India, shaped through the work of Girender ShekharBose and Sudhir Kakar, functions under the grab of secularism where being Hindu merges with being Indian and produces a psychoanalysis which in speaking of an ‘Indian identity’ speaks about the Hindu alone; Islam is absented of its political and historical significance in India. This ostensibly secular stand covertly normalizes Hinduism and renders Islam pathological. Through my paper , I argue that, in the psychoanalytic clinic, its this pathology which fosters Islam as ‘the’ religion which is inevitably incompatible with the secular practice of psychoanalysis in India. This practice lends psychic valence to the existing discourse on Islamophobia which creates an authorized vocabulary and in the case of Indian psychoanalytic clinic it speaks in ‘secularism’. Central theme: In the practice of ‘secular’ psychoanalysis where Hindu is Indian, Islam is identified to be religion and justifiably ousted from the practice of psychoanalysis in India.

Author Bio: Ms Zehra Mehdi is doing her doctoral studies at the Department of Religion, Columbia University, New York. Her research focuses on 19th century communal violence in India and explores its links with Unconscious and Muslim identity. She is a psychoanalytical psychotherapist from India who is interested in the role of religion and political history in the clinic and its manifestations in transference and countertransference. In her writing she explores the relationship between religious violence and political identity focusing on Hindu Muslim conflict and deliberating upon Muslim Identity. She has chapters in Routledge, Karnac, Pal grave Macmillan and Rowman and Little field.

Self and the ‘M’ other – The Dyad of Life

Author(s): Usama Mehmood

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Keywords: Guilt, Reparative acts, Unit Status- Winnicott, Mother- child dyads.

Abstract: “We begin life as a dyad. Our beginnings suggest our endings too”. Putting aside the theological dyad between the Creator and Adam, between Adam and Eve and so on, I believe, we begin life being one with the mother. The baby who cannot tell itself separate from the mother, tears apart the body of its mother in an attempt to exist as a separate being, to form a dyad. It may not be the intent but that is how it’s meant to be.

I myself, being not any different and having been there; done that, wonder if I have really forgotten the pain, the screams that my mother let out as I took birth to exist as the other.

What I began with had guilt at its centre. I realized that my thought had its roots in my religion. In letting my religion contribute to my work more visibly I think I felt a relief, after all Islam means submitting to god. Though quite contrary to Psychoanalysis, which excludes God from the picture and the Man is the master of his destiny. How the story of this very first dyad unfolds, I believe, sets the dynamics of the several other dyads that one shall form and break in one’s life time. Be it with one’s culture, society, religion or relevant others.

Author Bio: Usama Mehmood, a post graduate from Ambedkar University, Delhi, with a rich and a varied experience in the field of mental health adopts the psychodynamic approach in his work. Usama is a Ceritified practitioner of Child and Adolescent Mental health Serivices, Adult Mental Health Issues, Child Rights and Child Protection, Identification and Management of Substance Use in daily clinical work. Along with his qualifications and expertise, Usama has a rich experience of working across different age groups ranging from early childhood to Adolescence and Adult population belonging to diverse backgrounds. He has worked closely with Prison Inmates, street children, people in Substance abuse, and people on the autism spectrum disorder to name a few. Usama specializes in providing Counseling and Guidance to young children and adolescents, preparing behavior modification plans and Life Skills Training. Currently he is heading an organization in India, as the co-founder, dedicated to spread mental health awareness and sensitivity.


The Sanctity of "Self humiliation" versus the necessity of "free association": An inquiry into one Islamic jurisprudence challenge with the psychoanalytic dialogue

Author(s): Ahmad Morvarid, Morteza Modares Gharavi

Link to draft paper

Institutional affiliation (if any):

Ahmad Morvarid, Freudian group of Tehran, PhD student in Theology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

Morteza Modares Gharavi, Freudian group of Tehran, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

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Keywords: Sanctity, self-humiliation, free association, Islamic Jurisprudence

Abstract: Psychoanalysis as a therapeutic and relational method is influenced by Islamic laws. In Iran a lot of Muslims who seriously need psychoanalysis, avoid it only due to their Islamic concerns. One of these concerns is that, based on religious texts, humans are not allowed to harm neither their bodies nor their reputation and they can’t humiliate themselves by uttering sinful and shameful feelings. Complying with Sharia law could negatively affect the treatment. The first is the cancellation of admission to treatment because anxiety of being humiliated and the second is that this law is a serious obstacle to “free association. In this case “free association” places against “mandatory or selective association” and this position is contrary to the philosophy of psychoanalysis, while in psychoanalysis every symptom is related to the integrity of the psyche. Talking about one’s feelings does not necessarily result in being humiliated as what we are dealing with is psychical reality. And even free association is in harmony with Islamic call for an ongoing self-awareness. In fact, what is seen as humiliation is a Superegoish resistance to keeping repression on. A moral masochistic command of avoiding difficult feelings that often goes under the guise of a religious justification. But contrary to patients’ expectations, this avoidance aggravates their psychic functionality. However, resolving this resistance can lead into increased self-contentment by overcoming the fear of meeting oneself. As meeting one’s entirety is actually courage and integrity rather than inferiority. In psychoanalysis this process can named “sitting with castration”.

Author Bio: Morteza Modares Gharavi (Ph.D.) is associate professor and head of clinical psychology department at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. He have joined the Freudian group of Tehran at October 2010 by starting his personal analysis, clinical supervision and theoretical classes. He is founder and director of the Mashhad branch of the Freudian group of Tehran for four years. He participated twice in psychoanalytic conference in Delhi which hold in 2014 & 2015 and in the last one he presented his paper titled “developing a psychoanalytic discourse in Mashhad". Ahmad Morvarid began his personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy since three years ago and one year later he joined the Freudian group of Tehran. During these years moreover in his personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy he attended actively in the theoretical classes, Clinical supervision and group therapy sessions. He has participated in the workshop had held by Professor Salman Akhtar in October 2016 in Mashhad. He is working on his theology PhD thesis in Ferdowsi university of Mashhad which is about the inquiry of rapport between psychoanalytic psychotherapist and his/her client based on Islamic jurisprudence. He also teaches theology in Azad university of Mashhad.


The gift of the gift: The imam and the Vicar

Author(s): Suryia Nayak

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Keywords: Racism, Derrida, Black feminism

Abstract: This paper thinks about the Amazon Prime 2016 Christmas advert, headlined in the Huffinton Post (17th Nov 2016) as ‘Powerful Film Depicts Friendship Between Vicar And Imam’. Referring to the Amazon Prime 2016 Christmas advert, Harun Khan, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said, ‘“The symbolism of gift-giving adds to the advert’s power, especially during seasonal festivities.” This paper brings together Black feminism, Psychoanalysis and Derrida to trace the possible impossibility of the ‘event’ of the ‘gift’ in order to think about, and, to trouble, how this, one minute twenty second, Amazon Prime 2016 Christmas advert, functions as a highly successful ‘feel good’ message in an Islamophobic, Brexit, Trump world. The Independent newspaper 16th Nov 2016 reported, ‘The company pushes a message of inter-faith friendship at a divisive time in the UK and the US. Anti-muslim incidents in the UK have increased following the vote to leave the EU. Meanwhile, during his campaign, US President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to ban all Muslims from entering the US.’ This paper raises questions about the function of Western capitalist framings of feelings in the service of ‘feel good’ racist, patriarchal ideology.

Author Bio: Suryia Nayak is a Black feminist activist and scholar. Suryia engages with models of education as liberation, and the activism of Black feminism to raise consciousness about the psychic and political impact of oppressive social constructions. Suryia’s latest publication is her 2015 monograph: ‘Race, Gender and the Activism of Black Feminist Theory.’


Talking cure

Author(s): Vajihe Qobadi.Rad

Link to draft paper

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Keywords: Quran_ word _ Capacity - Dialogue

Abstract: Psychoanalysis and Islam both found their way to the arena for alleviating pain and suffering and also for the advancement of psychic capacity of men.

Through referring to Quran verses and putting together the determinant of the development of psychic capacity, the author plans to follow a Psychoanalytic narrative line.

What we are told about Islam these days is that it relies on violence and revenge, while Quran insists on the development of dialogue for each nation and race. It is stated in Surah Az-Zariyat, Verse No22 and 23 of 60 that : “ Therefore , by the Lord of the heavens and the earth , verily this Quran is the truth in the same language, which you speak.” Talking is one of the most fundamental methods of pain alleviation, this is why after Adam’s fall to earth , he was educated a level of names and words ; tools whith which he was not provided before the fall . In another occasion ,Quran addresses us in Surah Al_Baqara: Verse No 31 0f 286:

“And Allah the Exalted taught the names of all things to Adam…” and also in Verse number 37 of 286 : “ Then Adam learnt certain words from his Lord so Allah accepted his penitence…” Returning to God and a situation requiring the development of dialogue and learning words; These were the key factors of success for Adam. Considering this solution for men , speaking and listening are flowing in Quran, in a way that one might easily imagine the speaker and listener.

Author Bio: I’m Iranian and I was born in Mashhad. I’m 36 years old. I have been in therapy for 14 years. I have learnt Psychoanalysis for 7 years and I have had supervision for 5 years. My superviser is Dr. Mehrdad.Eftekhar.You can see to check my teachers. I have twice trips to Tehran to join the Hamava courses for training.

I have worked for 6 years and have many clients . I’m establishing a privacy clinic in Mashhad in Iran recently. I love Psychoanalysis.

Unravelling A Hindu Woman’s Desire for A Muslim Man: Witnessing a Silent Resolve

Author(s): Ashis Roy

Link to draft paper

Institutional affiliation (if any):Psychoanalytic Therapist and Faculty,Centre of Psychotherapy and Clinical Research, School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi; and Trainee, Indian Psychoanalytic Society, Kolkatta.

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Keywords: desire, impersonal, homeless, commitment

Abstract: This paper is a case study of a young Hindu woman, who was introduced to Islam by her family, but as she chose Muslim men as her love objects, her family disowned her choice. This case study gives space to a Hindu woman’s desire for a Muslim man, and the nature of the resolve that she commits to, to live upto its predicament. While engaging with her life through a psychoanalytically informed position, the paper emphasises on the fantasies of commitment that the subject’s self chose unknowingly. Fethi Benslama, author of the deeply enriching book on Psychoanalysis and Islam, writes, "modernity offers us the opportunity to be an other." "Today, we like to be queer, or adopt another religion, such possibilities are present through the advancement of technology, education, social change and this allows for the representation of various facets of self experience." However, there can still be a difference in wanting to be an Other and wanting to be with an Other. My paper is concerned with the latter. The case study highlights the democracy within desire which is needed to envision Hindu-Muslim Intimacy. It highlights the intimacy of a Hindu-Muslim couple through the eyes of one partner, and the pledge which is undertaken in creating and sustaining an intimacy which is unacceptable. While the paper, argues for a social recognition of Hindu-Muslim intimacy, it attends to the intersubjective matrix and addresses the fragility (with an emphasis on autistic states) and the bond in the couple. This intersubjective space is in need of attention for the evolution of Hindu-Muslim intimacy. With reference to the writings of Gohar Homayounpour (Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran), the deeply conflictual nature of the predicament of my participant is explored. In the popular imagination, in India, Hindus and Muslims cannot be in love. This love is yet to find a psychosocial space (Erikson) which gifts it a reverence. This paper is part of an ongoing Phd work titled A Journey to Commitment and Beyond: A Psychodynamic Study of the Self and the Other in Intimate Hindu Muslim relationships.

Author Bio: Ashis Roy is faculty at Centre of Psychotherapy and Clinical Research, Ambedkar university Delhi and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He works extensively with psychotic and borderline personality disorders and is especially interested in states of fragmentation and negation in his patients. His ongoing doctoral work is in the area of the construction of the self and the other in intimate Hindu-Muslim relationships in India, focusing on the role of the community in psychic development, especially , negative identity. Drawing from thinkers like Michael Eigen, Donald Winnicott, Thomas Ogden, Sudhir Kakar, Erik Erikson, Andre Green and Adam Phillips, this work is about the intimate space of the relationship as processing the notion of the Other in couples who belong to communities who have a historically violent past, most vividly known through the Partition of India and Pakistan. Mr Roy has been teaching Psychoanalysis since 2009. He has been practicing as a Psychoanalytic therapist since 2007 as well. He has supervised research works on topics of suicide, psychosis, and other areas, while creating a frame of clinical research in India. He has been an active member on the online Eigen workshop, dedicated to the writings of Michael Eigen and through this he has become more concerned about developing what is Indian about psychoanalysis. His previous presentations have been Limitlessness and Fragmentation (October 2016, ISPS Boston); Intimacy in Alienation: Witnessing the Making of a Hindu-Muslim Dyad (New Delhi, 2017 - Fourth International Indo Japanese Psychoanalytic Conference - Won the Critics Award for Best Paper). Upcoming presentations: Clinical Case Presentation at the First International Psychoanalytic Conference in Taipei - Asian Oedipus, May 2017


Exit through the Class of Literature

Author(s): Sam Salehi Samiee

Institutional affiliation (if any): Trainee at the Freudian Group of Tehran

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Keywords: Persian Adab, public imagination, public education, aesthetic subject

Abstract: Before Islam was posed as a challenge to the west, past or present, it was a challenge to the world it conquered in its early expansion. The Making of Persian literature after Islam, and the modes of its usage by the speaking subjects of it –– the modus operandi of Adab –– are the ‘others’ of the western challenges of Islam. Starting from my personal experience, growing up under the education program of the ‘Islamic Republic of Iran,’ I bring to light two trends of pedagogy that the adolescent Iranian is facing: 1.the current theocratic programs that resonate with the rigid western imagination of destructive fundamentalism, 2. contemporary education of Persian literature that is a body of attempts of too many forces that tried to control it for their ends, but what has been left is a literary landscape of battlefields, love stories and historicizing possibilities. Introducing a long history of the marriage of ethics and aesthetics I expand the suggestion of Norman O. Brown who offered an inclusive history of Islam as part of the west. A history aligned with that of psychoanalysis in producing an ‘aesthetic subject’–– to borrow Leo Bersani’s words. In a situation unlike the Greek republican ideals but familiar to the Persian asymmetrical warfare of Shahrzad/citizen and the ‘hegemon’, through seduction and aesthetics and capable of holding the new subjects of the Muslim world and hosting an alternative imagination about the world of Islam for the west.

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