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Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
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An interdisciplinary programme of five sessions bringing together practitioners from art and psychoanalysis to discuss the relationship between art and psychoanalysis.

The group met in IMMA on Saturdays between October 2018 and March 2019. Each session focused on a different theme: art & psychoanalysis, objects, spaces, practices, and encounters and began with an hour-long visit to a selected exhibition including work by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (November), Mary Swanzy (January), Wolfgang Tillmans (February), and the IMMA Collection: Freud Project (March). After a break, the session continued with a discussion of the exhibition and the along with the reading material.

Each session was co-facilitated by Dr Noreen Giffney, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, and Lecturer in Counselling at Ulster University, and Dr Lisa Moran, Curator of Engagement and Learning at IMMA.

The group consisted of twenty people, including the two facilitators. Group members were required, at the time of registration, to commit to attending all five sessions and to reading material in advance.

The group was open to anyone with an interest in art and psychoanalysis, in particular artists, curators, cultural theorists, art critics, and psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and clinicians in related clinical fields with an interest in psychoanalytic and psychodynamic ways of thinking (psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, counsellors).

This series has been awarded 15 CPD points by the Psychoanalytic Section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP).

Find full details here.

Reading material in relation to the programme:

1. Linda Cummings, ‘Making Waves’ in George Hagman (ed.), Art, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis: Perspectives from Analyst-Artists (London and New York: Routledge 2017), pp. 32-46.

2. Adela Abella, ‘Psychoanalysis and Art: From Applied Analysis to Interdisciplinary Dialogue’ in Gabriela Goldstein (ed.), Art in Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Approach to Creativity and Analytic Practice (London: Karnac 2013), pp. 57-77.

3. Lynn Froggett and Myna Trustram, ‘Object Relations in the Museum: A Psychosocial Perspective’, Museum Management and Curatorship 29.5 (2014): 482-497.

4. Donald Winnicott, ‘Playing: A Theoretical Statement’ in Playing and Reality (London and New York: Routledge 2005[1971]), pp. 51-70.

5. Patricia Townsend, ‘Creativity and Destructiveness in Art and Psychoanalysis’, The British Journal of Psychotherapy 31.1 (2015): 20-31.

6. Esther Bick, ‘The Experience of the Skin in Early Object-Relations’, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 49 (1968): 484-486.

7. Christopher Bollas, ‘The Transformational Object’ in The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known (London: Free Association Books 1987), pp. 1329

Further recommended material:

8. Noreen Giffney, ‘The Freud Affect: Reflecting on Viewers’ Experience of the Lucian Freud Exhibition’ (2018). URL Noreen Giffney introduces psychoanalysis and its usefulness for reflecting on our experience of visiting art exhibitions.

Reference is made to the work of artists Lucian Freud, Mark Gerald, Alexa Wright and Marina Abramović, and film-maker Ken Wardrop.

9. Hannah Curtis, Everyday Life and the Unconscious Mind: An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Concepts (London: Karnac 2015). Hannah Curtis provides an accessible introduction to key psychoanalytic concepts and their application to clinical practice and everyday life.

10. Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves (London: Vintage 2014). Stephen Grosz writes about his experience of working as a psychoanalyst over a thirty-year period.

11. Alessandra Lemma, Introduction to the Practice of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 2nd ed. (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell 2016). Alessandra Lemma offers a detailed introduction to a range of psychoanalytic concepts and their application to clinical practice. Worth reading after the book by Hannah Curtis.

12. Faye Carey, The Place of the Visual in Psychoanalytic Practice: Image in the Countertransference (London and New York: Routledge 2018). Faye Carey discusses the importance of the image in psychoanalytic clinical practice, particularly the visual countertransference. In addition to being of interest to people who work in clinical practice, the book also provides an introduction to key psychoanalytic concepts for people interested in visual culture.

13. George Hagman (ed.), Art, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis: Perspectives from AnalystArtists (London and New York: Routledge 2017), pp. 32-46. George Hagman collects together a series of writings by individuals who identify themselves both as psychoanalytic clinical practitioners and artists. Each contributor reflects on their dual practice and how each discipline has influenced their understanding of the other.

Reference Texts:

14. Ross M. Skelton (ed.), The Edinburgh International Encyclopaedia of Psychoanalysis (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2006). Brief entries describing 1,000 terms used in psychoanalysis. Entries cover all psychoanalytic traditions.

15. Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Jane Milton, Penelope Garvey, Cyril Couve and Deborah Steiner, The New Dictionary of Kleinian Thought (New York and London: Routledge 2011). Brief entries and longer essays describing many of the clinical concepts used in the Kleinian tradition of psychoanalysis and more broadly object relations.

Additional Resources 


Additional Resources

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.