A New Metapsychology Consistent with Neuroscience

Antonio Imbasciati is an Italian psychologist and infant neuropsychiatrist and Training Analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, who has dedicated his life to both clinics and research. He has written hundreds of scientific papers and sixty-four books: his first book was published in 1964 (see  www.imbasciati.it). In the last twenty years he has outlined and developed a ‘Perinatal Clinical Psychology’, which has led him to write many theoretical works in a clear criticism against current theories in psychoanalytical Institutions.

Continue reading

The First Ambush: Hijacking the Human Brain

‘Unbeknown to me at the time, the army’s training and/or indoctrination would come to shape my life, my decisions and my neurological processes for years to come. I suppose at the time we took it all in our stride and laughed it off. But we as people and in particular our brains were being prepared for the inhuman rigours and demands of traditional war fighting, closing with and engaging the enemy and by extension modern international conflicts’ – Ryan Hall, British infantry, 2000-2008

A major new report has just been published drawing on veterans’ testimony and around 200 studies from the last half-century to explore for the first time the effects of modern army employment on soldiers, particularly their initial training. The studies are mainly the work of military academic research departments in the UK and US, supplemented by research in other countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, and Norway. The report finds that army employment has a significant detrimental impact on soldiers’ attitudes, health, behaviour, and financial prospects. This is partly due to soldiers’ war experiences, but also to how they are recruited and trained, how they are conditioned by military culture, and how they re-adjust to civilian life afterwards.

It reveals how in the process of transforming civilians into soldiers, army training and culture forcibly alter recruits’ attitudes under conditions of sustained stress, leading to harmful health effects even before they are sent to war. Among the consequences are elevated rates of mental health problems, heavy drinking, violent behaviour, and unemployment after discharge, as well as poorer general health in later life.

Continue reading

My Dinner with Iain McGilchrist: An Interview with producers Cathleen MacDonald and Vanessa Dylyn

Making the film The Divided Brain has been an exciting journey for all involved. Recently, producer Vanessa Dylyn and Dr Iain McGilchrist met for dinner in London to discuss the film and other matters. Vanessa shared her experience in an interview with co-producer and technical lead Cathleen MacDonald.

Continue reading

What Psychoanalytical Theory can contribute to a clinical approach to Delirium

The population of people over 65 is estimated to double every twenty years and with it the prevalence of dementia, and hence risk of delirium, will continue to escalate (Prince et al.). In light of this burgeoning health care crisis, former President Obama announced in 2013 the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative to support the development of new research to revolutionise the management of brain disorders that have a major epidemiological impact.

Continue reading

How Society Shapes Who We Are

banksy-artwork-collage

The Political Self explores how our social and economic contexts profoundly affect our mental health and well-being, and how modern neuroscientific and psychodynamic research can both contribute to and enrich our understanding of these wider discussions. It therefore looks both inside and outside—indeed one of the main themes of the book is that the conceptually discrete categories of “inner” and “outer” in reality constantly interact, shape, and inform each other. Severing these two worlds, it suggests, has led both to a devitalised and dissociated form of politics, and to a disengaged and disempowering form of therapy and analysis.

Continue reading

The psychological and neurobiological characteristics of  the ‘unrepressed unconscious’ and the role of the right hemisphere

left-and-right-brain-source

What do we mean by “unrepressed unconscious”? Are there differences between the so-called “unrepressed unconscious” identified by some authors, and the “repressed unconscious”, which has generally been the object of the psychoanalytical investigations of theoreticians and clinicians, starting with Freud himself? How do we understand the relationship of this “unrepressed unconscious” with the modes of implicit memory? What is the role of the unrepressed unconscious in the most recent clinical work? These are some of the questions the contributors to this volume have tried to debate and exemplify.

Continue reading

How the ongoing dialogue between the left and right hemispheres constitutes our mental reality

980x

My book The Wisdom of Lived Experience explores various aspects of the nature of reality and more specifically that of lived experience. In recent years I have become aware that my efforts to learn from theory and from noted colleagues have often meant closing down my experiencing mind and focussing upon the intellectual and the theoretical, rather that upon the more three-dimensional lived experience with my patients and within myself.

Continue reading

Models of the Mind, and Models in the Mind

giphy-GIF

“In every writer on philosophy there is a concealed metaphysic, usually unconscious; even if his subject is metaphysics, he is almost certain to have an uncritically believed system which underlies his specific arguments” (Bertrand Russell).

Continue reading

Objective Subjectivity: A Basic Theory of Neuropsychoanalysis

MiniFreudBrain

Freud’s ideas about the mind, evolution, and culture were revolutionary. Psychoanalytic theory was brought into service to treat mental illness because it was developed in a medical context. But the methods of psychoanalytic investigation, especially ‘free association’ and dream analysis, were most suited for learning about the mind, not ‘fixing’ the mind. The theory involved thinking objectively and scientifically about normal and pathological subjective experiences such as ‘feeling anxious’ and ‘feeling depressed’. Psychoanalytic ‘therapy’ involves largely telling a patient “this is how your mind works” and “this is why it works this way”. 

Continue reading

 
 
Within the broader world of psychology and clinical psychology, neuropsychology has had a reputation for being overly academic and assessment-focussed. When I joined the profession over twenty years ago, we had our elegant models of cognitive function and dysfunction, and the neurologists and GPs could expect long and complex neuropsychological assessments from us, which pin-pointed areas of difficulty. However, a casual observer might rightly wonder aloud, ‘So what? How does this help the distressed patient and their family?’

Continue reading

It is not the pain we suffer, but our relationship to it that makes life complicated

pain-image (2)

My book The Psychomatrix began with just a shadow of an idea that had haunted me for many years.

Continue reading