Media and the Inner World


Remote Control: Psychoanalysis and Television

Starts: October 29 @ 7:00pm

Ends: October 30 @ 5:00pm

Address: Freud Museum
20 Maresfield Gardens
London NW3 5SX

Psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, academics and TV insiders came together at this conference to discuss the function and ethics of TV in the modern world and the emotional experience it creates for us. Still the most common form in which images and narratives are transmitted, how does TV work at the level of the psyche and what is its importance for psychotherapy? How do we make use of TV to help us to relate to others?

You can read a report on the conference by Hilary Dewing here.

Day Conference and Evening Discussion

October 29th – 30th, 2010 at the Anna Freud Centre
Psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, academics and TV insiders will come together to discuss the function and ethics of TV in the modern world and the emotional experience it creates for us. Still the most common form in which images and narratives are transmitted, how does TV work at the level of the psyche and what is its importance for psychotherapy? How do we make use of TV to help us to relate to others?

FRIDAY 29TH OCTOBER 7.00 – 8.30pm
Opening Discussion at The Anna Freud Centre
An Interview with Laurence Marks

Chair: Candida Yates (Director, Media and the Inner World; UEL)
Psychotherapist, Valerie Sinason, will be in conversation with Laurence Marks, the renowned comedy script writer who has brought shows such as The New Statesman, Birds of a Feather and Goodnight Sweetheart to our screens.
This will be followed by a Drinks Reception at the Freud Museum – everybody welcome.

SATURDAY 30TH OCTOBER 9.30am – 5.00pm
Speakers and Panels:

Candida Yates ‘Staging the Debate: Remote Control: Television, Media and the Inner World’

Panel 1: Television from both sides of the couch
How does TV culture infiltrate the therapeutic space, and how is psychotherapy represented on TV?
Brett Kahr (Psychotherapist): Television as Rorschach
Caroline Bainbridge (Director, MiW; Roehampton University): Psychotherapy on the Couch: Exploring the Fantasies of In Treatment
Dan Chambers (Managing Director, Blink Films) (Chair and Respondent)

Panel 2: Ethics and Therapy on TV
The ethical dilemmas of putting real lives on TV
Richard McKerrow (Creative & Managing Director, Love Productions) discusses The Marchioness Documentary;
Oliver James (Clinical Psychologist, author and broadcaster) discusses his TV programmes including Under Fives; Room 113 and Men on Violence.
Valerie Sinason (Chair and Respondent )

Panel 3: Watercooler Moments: TV as Transitional Object
TV offers the possibility of shared cultural experiences. Does it also have therapeutic potential?
Tom Sutcliffe (Broadcaster, author and journalist)
Sue Vice (Professor of English, Sheffield University)
Carol Leader (Psychotherapist; former TV presenter and actor)
Sara Ramsden (Consultant executive producer for the BBC) (Chair)

Roundtable Discussion
Barry Richards (Professor of Public Communication, Bournemouth University)Summary and reflections with speakers from the day

In the past, much as been written in a negative, sociological vein about the manipulating and mind-numbing properties of popular culture and television has often been linked to that critique. Yet since the work of Roger Silverstone and others, Television studies has emerged as a discipline to engage with the more creative aspects of our relationship to TV and its role in shaping who and what we are. Psychoanalysis – which focuses on the contradictions of identity and irrational desires and feelings that are stirred up by cultural images and the narratives of every day life, has much to say about emotion, memory and the therapeutic experience of TV.

With these broader questions in mind, part of this conference focused in on key programmes that have shaped our childhoods and which have also played a key role in the shaping our social, cultural and psychological identities. In particular, Winnicott’s concept of the transitional object is useful when discussing the use of television as a therapeutic object and its psychosocial repercussions for subjectivity and beyond.

Discussion Points:

1. What constitutes a shared, cultural ‘water cooler’ moment on television?
2. Are such moments therapeutic and/or comforting? Do they create a positive sense of sharing something, or do they constitute a form of mindless escape?
3. What is it about television – compared say, to radio that can facilitate such feelings?
4. From a psychoanalytic perspective, a transitional object facilitate creativity and self-development, can television programmes and the way we use TV do that?
5. Do TV programmes and our use of the TV facilitate transitional creativity, or do they become more like fetish objects – where thinking is closed down (as in the critique of people being addicted to soaps etc)?

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