Psychoanalysis Unit



Podcast series: Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

This series of five podcasts showcases the Psychoanalysis Unit's interdisciplinary research and how psychoanalysis has been applied to a range of contemporary issues, including mental and physical health, financial instability, gender, technology and the arts. Some of our leading psychoanalytic academics and authors outline how their research extends beyond the traditional approaches to psychoanalysis and how they are moving beyond existing theories to develop new areas of study. The podcasts establish some of the ways in which psychanalysis can be applied to the challenges of the modern world.

Our podcasts also demonstrate how we strive to create new relationships and links with other disciplines. In the Secrets of the Soul series of podcasts from 2017, five artists whose work was exhibited at an associated Freud Museum exhibition explore the dialogue between the concept of secrets and art as part of an ongoing discourse between psychoanalysis and the visual arts.

The podcasts also provide a window on the practicalities of studying psychoanalysis and developing a career within the field.

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Li Yang, Untitled - Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

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W.K. Lyhne, Through A Glass Darkly - Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

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Sarah Gracie, Totem - Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

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Yi Zhang, Secret - Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

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Zoe Forster, Dance as Language - Secrets of the Soul Exhibition 2017

Affronted/Yawning from the Where We Are Now Exhibition 2015


Affronted/Yawning explores the complexity of interpreting facial expressions. A woman stares directly into the camera, while a voiceover reads out an alphabetical list of words that can be used to describe different facial expressions. The large quantity of descriptive words mirrors the nuances of reading an expression and explores how our understanding of a face can subtly change.

Professor Peter Fonagy and Professor Patrick Luyten conduct research into the difficulties people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience when trying to understand the self and others in terms of mental states. With the current overload of visual stimuli, both in the busy streets of London and in the virtual streams on the web, our ability, or failure, to accurately identify emotions is continuously being tested.

Affronted/Yawning offers a moment of reflection: sometimes the words seem to match the face, while at other moments the effect is jarring. The still face of the woman, combined with the aural bombardment of options that we can apply to her face, aims to draw attention to the subtle distinctions of meaning we have to infer when attempting to understand others.

From the Where We Are Now Exhibition, 2015.

David Tuckett presents at TEDxWarwick

The thinking that causes crises | David Tuckett | TEDxWarwick

Working across Economics, Medical Sociology and Psychoanalysis, David Tuckett focuses on using psychoanalysis to understand behaviour in financial markets and the economy. He has developed new approaches to decision-making under deep uncertainty: conviction narrative theory (CNT), and directed algorithmic text analysis. This talk touches upon the remarkable feature of his findings: for the first time, there is statistical demonstration that emotional shifts in narratives indicate the growth of financial risk.

Peter Fonagy on Mentalization


Mentalizing refers to our ability to attend to mental states in ourselves and in others as we attempt to understand our own actions and those of others on the basis of intentional mental states. A focus on this very human activity as a therapeutic intervention forms the core of mentalization based treatment (MBT). MBT was initially developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) although it is now being used on a wide range of disorders.

Peter Fonagy - Interpreting the Dodo Bird

While there is evidence to suggest that many manualised treatments for mental disorders are effective, how do we explain the fact that certain treatment components are viewed as essential in some approaches and proscribed in others? What are the necessary and sufficient components of evidence-based treatments? This lecture offers a framework for understanding the nature of severe and enduring non-psychotic mental disorder, particularly borderline personality disorder, which may be responsive to various different evidence-based therapies. It suggests that the real mechanism of change may not lie in the treatment components that the advocates of these different approaches see as most important, but in processes that occur outside the consulting room.

UCL Mini-lecture Series

Lionel Bailly examines the effect new media

Lionel Bailly examines the effect new media (the internet, social networking and video games) has on the adolescent mind. According to Bailly, the virtual personas many teens create for themselves act as a warped mirror of their actual selves.

David Tuckett - How Investors Use Stories to Tame Uncertainty

If you want to understand how fund managers choose a portfolio, why not ask them? That's what David Tuckett does: he draws on standard sociological techniques of interviewing to understand investors' decisions to buy or sell assets. He says financial markets cannot be driven by economic fundamentals -- because the future is uncertain -- instead, they are driven by stories about fundamentals. David Tuckett merges insights from Keynes, from sociology, and from psychoanalysis to develop what he calls emotional finance -- this is new economic thinking.

David Tuckett - Mini Lecture: Psychology of Financial Markets

Professor David Tuckett is examining the role emotions play in finance. Until now, the influence of traders' emotions on their decision-making has not been comprehensively examined in traditional economic and finance theory.


Juliet Mitchell - Mini Lecture: The Sibling Complex

How do our siblings affect the development of our egos and how do our early experiences with or without brothers and sisters map out our sense of self? In this mini-lecture Professor Juliet Mitchell discusses her research into siblings and tells us more about how our siblings shape our development.