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LOUPS Pub social, June 2015: "Freud & psychoanalysis", Richard Stevens

Why are LOUPS pub socials such special events? Well, let’s see ... Fantastic speakers, hot topics, meeting people, pints of beer and french fries, these are just a few obvious reasons for which we keep coming back to these events.

The last pub social, held in June, at the usual location, The Lamb, in Russell Square, gave us the great Dr. Richard Stevens and his brilliant talk on ‘Freud and Psychoanalysis: what they don’t teach you in psychology books’.

Dr. Stevens is Vice President of OUPS and a senior lecturer (previously Head) of the Department of Psychology at the Open University. He has been Chair of the Association for Humanistic Psychology in Britain and consultant editor for psychoanalysis for the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Psychology.

Richard is the author of ‘Freud and Psychoanalysis: an Exposition and Appraisal’ and a book on Danish- American psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. He has wide-ranging interests in psychology, working on areas such as evolutionary psychology and research in consciousness. His primary concern is to put together an integrated understanding of the human condition. To this end he has developed his own framework (Trimodal theory) which attempts to inter- relate the biological, symbolic (i.e. constituted by meanings) and reflexive aspects of being human.

In addition to publishing many books and papers on different topics in psychology, Richard has also been an active broadcaster and was the psychologist who led the team aiming at Making Slough Happy - the four-part BBC series [ZoomInfo, online, 2015].

Richard’s lecture, mostly focused on Freud, from early life to his later achievements, brought in his refreshing personal take on Freudian theory of psychoanalysis and on post-Freudians, such as Jung and Erikson. Apart from the well-known facts about Freud’s life and his influential work, Richard emphasised the influence of social context on Freud's work as well as the role Freud’s personality might have played in developing his ideas; he was after all seeing himself as ‘the man with the great ideas’. Freud however worked with pre- existing theories and techniques, such as Charcot's scientific research in hysteria and hypnosis but, as Richard pointed, Freud’s genius came from being the first one to put it all together into one (although flawed) theory. It is therefore intriguing and unfair that so many psychology books and courses do not even mention Freud. Richard further talked us through the developing of the 'talking cure' together with Josef Brauer, the 'free association' technique, the 'repression' mechanism, the Id, the Ego and the Superego, the interpretation of dreams .... all this in Richard's great style, with humour and passion! We were all transported back in time, travelling from Vienna to Paris to London, seeing Freud and his 'Freudian' years through Richard's eyes and mind!

Those who were there will surely agree with me that, although a fantastic lecture, the best bit about the pub social was the questions session afterwards and the chats Richard had with almost everybody, over a glass of wine. It was a very relaxing atmosphere, even if quite serious topics were debated.

LOUPS pub social events create the opportunity of meeting tutors, researchers, professors, getting to chat with them about study subjects or simply random topics of personal interest. They also create the opportunity of meeting other students or graduates, offering the sometimes rare opportunity for human contact most of us need when studying remotely. As one DD303 student reflected, the only negative about the pub social was the fact she did not attend any before and that she got as far as level 3 without benefitting from these events. Fortunately, LOUPS welcome everybody, studying or not, and hopefully many more pub socials will be organized in the future.

Finally, I cannot end this without thanking Jan Paulden and Kamila Markusova, the two great LOUPS members who gave up their time to organise the event, and of course the fantastic Richard Stevens who kindly agreed to dazzle us with his knowledge!

Hope to see you there next time!

References:

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Richard- Stevens/627489785 (Accessed 25th June 2015)

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