Fifth International Psychoanalytic Conference 2018

Fifth International Psychoanalytic Conference 2018
‘Psychoanalytic Explorations of Darkness in Culture and Clinic: An Indo-Italian Conversation’

It is our pleasure to invite you to the Fifth International Psychoanalytic Conference titled ‘Psychoanalytic Explorations of Darkness in Culture and Clinic: An Indo-Italian Conversation’, organized by Centre of Psychotherapy and Clinical Research and School of Human Studies, AUD in collaboration with the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, The Delhi Chapter of Indian Psychoanalytic Society and Psychoanalysis India.

The Conference will be held at India International Centre, New Delhi from 12th to 15th January, 2018.

Download PDF Programme


Concept Note:
Psychoanalysis rests on certain foundational pillars- the appreciation and freeing up of psychic energy so that the binding and loving erotic forces can enhance the qualitative, creative and artistic resonance of human life. This in itself is often contingent on a deeper encounter and confrontation with the conflicted, negated and disavowed aspects of unconscious emotional existence. The process of release from crippling and limiting repetitions of unconscious patterns rests on an acknowledgement and working through of life’s darker shades – our propensities towards violence, rage, envy and destructivity. This encounter with one’s darker visages also involves looking into one’s pain and anguish while acknowledging grief and valuing mourning.

Psychoanalytic training emphasizes embodiment of rigor and faith which leads the analyst to work in settings where an untiring long engagement at the slowest pace with the Death Instinct enables a partial containment of the unbearable and the unutterable in human life. A long term process which slowly heralds change in individual life through near-invisible steps carved out of denting the primitive layers of mind and it’s relationships, psychoanalysis as a philosophy and meta-theory also has much to offer to the social world. Following World War-I, along with the work of existential thinkers, literary writers, artists and philosophers, Freud’s formulation of the Death Instinct, has much to offer to the present crises of humanity. Be it in individual or collective life, psychoanalytic wisdom suggests that so long as human beings continue to split off pain and suffering and refuse to see their own propensities towards revenge, greed, power and accumulation, they will necessarily create an “other” to be denigrated, humiliated, or at worst destroyed. The psychoanalytical perspective suggests that a different form of encounter with life happens when we can bear darkness; the intense beam of light which shines through darkness creates new avenues of insight and transformation. This spirit of psychoanalysis enables us to go beyond polarities and othering and enter spaces of living with difference. Hatred (if it can be eventually processed and symbolized) can become a form of knowing which carries its own aliveness.

Clinical work repeatedly engages with realms of the forbidden that draw both the therapist and the patient into the thick of the dark. Such an entry into the tabooed layers of life could be facilitated through darkness, which, for a while is likely to be experienced as engulfing and testing for the therapeutic dyad. In spite of the challenges, such experiential moments and phases are replete with possibilities. They pose before us a question- what could be enriched in the human through such a sojourn? Freud is often quoted to have said that psychically speaking we cannot fully face the reality of our own death, yet death equivalents - losses, separations and the death of loved ones - are ever present at almost every step of the human journey. In line with spirituality, could this be an aperture leading to a different form of fullness in living? Could we come to love, appreciate and value life more intensely because we can face suffering and loss, transience and impermanence? While change and loss characterize the life of all living beings, yet it is often true that the essence and feel of experiences lingers on and contributes to the building of our insides, our reservoir of memories, and the richness of our psychic life. The moment of love ends, it has to end but the fact that we once enjoyed it could make all the difference. This is mostly possible when we open ourselves to the paradoxical play between life and death, memory and actuality, transience and the search for permanence, as well as, the impossible returns of desire without a denial of its
inexhaustible nature

The Conference invites papers on the following themes:

*A meditation on darker forces residing within the psyche and in social systems
*Thoughts on the death instinct and its place in individual, social and collective life
*Reflections on the work of the negative - the absent, erased and forgotten
*Encountering pain and relating with darkness – portraits of psychic growth in suffering
*Mourning and its place in psychic life
*Psychoanalysis and spirituality
*Resonances between psychoanalysis and existentialism
*Eastern and Western imaginations in dialogue with darkness
*Cultural imaginations of death and dying
*Violence and rage
*The narcissism of capitalism – re-examining the psychic roots of greed, the need for accumulation, power and hoarding
*Pseudo-speciation and a concentrated study of defences (splitting, projection, dissociation, denial and projective identification) especially as they operate in group life
*Psychoanalytic reflections on “Othering” - race, caste, gender and class

Word limit for respective entries is 3000 words. Papers can be sent to

Sudhir Kakar Prize
A highlight of the Conference is the Sudhir Kakar Prize awarded to the best paper written by psychoanalytic scholars less than 40 years of age. The Sudhir Kakar Prize, awarded annually, was instituted on the 75th birthday of the renowned Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, whose writings have left an indelible mark on Indian and Trans-Cultural Psychoanalysis. Participants who want their paper to be considered for the Sudhir Kakar Prize need to send in entries not less than 5000 words to

Last date of Submission for all entries is 1st September 1, 2017.

Some of the speakers at the conference will be Mariano Hornstein, Anna Maria Nicolò, MD,Gohar Homayounpour, and Alfredo Lombardozzi and Sudhir Kakar.

1/12/2018 - 1/15/2018
India International Centre New Delhi INDIA