A culture of madness?

In the 1960s and into the 1970s the psychotic individual increasingly became positioned both as ‘victim’ and ‘anti-hero’.  Psychiatrists such as Ronald Laing and his colleagues argued that schizophrenia was caused by dysfunctional (if not outright pathological) family relationships, in which the schizophrenic subject found themselves in an impossible, no-win situation.  And although the proponents […]

That royal ‘Nazi’ salute

Perhaps what’s most fascinating about the furore surrounding the Sun’s acquisition of film footage1 from the early 1930s which appears to show the future queen Elizabeth, her sister Margaret, their mother, and their uncle Edward giving Nazi salutes is not so much the ‘revelation’ that Edward was an admirer of Hitler, but that it has […]

Digimodernism, social media and the (apparently) Real

Alan Kirby’s book, Digimodernism, is interesting for a number of reasons1, not least that it’s published in paper format.  I say this because, like so many publications related to social media, there seems to something rather ironic in that the author still relies on the ‘traditional’ hardcopy format to put across his arguments, even though […]

…..and the pursuit of Happiness

If you were a marketing executive you might seriously struggle to sell psychoanalysis.1 And one reason for this difficulty might be that psychoanalysis has never promised to make anyone happy.  At best, to paraphrase Freud, it can only hope to convert neurotic suffering into everyday misery.2  If anything psychoanalysis is likely to make one less […]

Age of jouissance; age of madness

Do we now live in an age of jouissance, an age of enjoyment?  Certainly there appears to a compulsion to enjoy and, linked to this, the drive towards ‘happiness’ and the desire for the ‘good life’.  This can also be linked to the idea of trying to measure happiness,  along with the growth of the […]

Baby boomers and ageing

There were two interesting articles in The Observer last weekend: one by Tracy McVeigh was about the rise of the ‘silver splitters’ (those couples who divorce in later life); 1 and the other by Yvonne Roberts was about the possibility that the baby boomers, the so-called ‘have-it-all’ generation, may be facing a bleak future of loneliness […]

Therapy nation?

A while ago I set up a blog called Therapy Nation, which was intended to look at how talking therapies can both help and hinder an understanding of modern life.  In particular, I wanted to look at how psychoanalysis can shed light on some of the peculiarities and contradictions of life in the early part […]

The promise of a new life?

One of the problems for psychoanalysis, at least in the UK today, is that no-one really wants it.  This is not necessarily to say that they want CBT, person centred therapy, counselling or some other form of talking therapy either.  However, I think there is something especially problematic about psychoanalysis within the context of these […]

2012 Olympics: the triumph of the spectacle

The more I watched the Olympics unfold, the more I thought there must be something here for psychoanalysis.   And if I had to start anywhere it would be with the opening and closing ceremonies, because these seemed to set both the tone and the parameters for this event.  Although perhaps the word ‘spectacle’ might be […]

The politics of mental health

A report has just been published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE which is a fairly damning indictment of the way the NHS deals with mental ill health compared to physical health problems.1  The report highlights the fact that although mental illness is generally more debilitating than most chronic physical conditions, only […]

Comfortably numb?

It was interesting to watch a documentary about Pink Floyd the other night on BBC4, which was about the making of Wish You Were Here in 1975.  The documentary was made in 2005, when both Richard Wright and founder member Syd Barrett were still alive (Barrett died in 2006 aged 60, and Wright died in […]