New Approaches to Working with Bodies Today A one-day seminar with Susie Orbach London, 25 November 2017 (Saturday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
As practising therapists and counsellors, we witness the impact of calls for bodily transformations, enhancements and ‘perfectibility’ in the consulting room. Our clients may not be consulting us on body troubles, but whatever their emotional predicaments and conflicts, concern for the body is nearly always folded into them. At this intellectually stimulating and practical seminar, Susie Orbach explores our challenges as therapists in a culture where the individual is deemed accountable for his or her body and judged by it. She contends that the body itself has grown as complicated a place as sexuality was for Freud. It too is shaped and misshaped by our earliest encounters with parents and carers, who also contain in themselves the representations of culture, with its multitude of injunctions about how the body should appear and be attended to. Relying on a psychoanalytic and developmental approach and drawing on findings from the labs of neuro-psychoanalysts and neuro-psychologists, Susie looks closely at the implications for our therapeutic interactions and explains starting points for a theory of body development which are just as compelling as our existing theories of the mind. About the speaker Susie Orbach first wrote about the body in Fat is a Feminist Issue in 1978 bringing the issues of compulsive eating and body troubles to a wide audience. Despite writing books on many other topics, she’s returned to the theme of the body many times. In 1986, she published Hunger Strike, in 2002 she published On Eating and in 2009 the award winning Bodies in The Great Ideas series. She has written many professional papers and popular articles on the topic and been the Keynote Speaker at Government conferences in Australia, Austria, Germany and the UK. She is author of a recent Government paper Two for the Price of One and an expanded version of her new publication In Therapy is being released in 2018. She sits on The Government’s expert panel on Body Confidence and gave testimony to the APPG Inquiry in 2013. Together with her colleagues in New York, Susie has developed the BODI – Body Observational Diagnostic Interview – an instrument that enables therapists understand the issues of embodiment more deeply. Susie sees clients for individual and couple therapy and has been an advisor to the NHS, The World Bank and Unilever.
Seminar Schedule 9:45AM: Registration 10:00AM: Session 1: Understanding the cultural context In this first introductory session of the day, we explore the impact of the digital age on the representation of contemporary bodies and how this is affecting girl’s and boy’s, women’s and men’s perceptions of their own body. Susie will look at the style industries, the food and diet industries, gaming, advertising, selfies, sexualisation and the new imperative of visual representation in order to set a context for understanding the conflicts which affect individuals and their bodies today. 11:30AM: Session 2: The BODI – Body Observational Diagnostic Interview In the second session, Susie explains the Body Observational Diagnostic Interview (BODI), an in-depth experience that looks at personal history and embodiment. The session provides an opportunity for attendees to reflect on their own body story (& that of their clients) with a view to comprehending the implications it has had on their lives. 1:00PM: Lunch (a light lunch is provided as part of the workshop) 2:00PM: Session 3: New theories for the body Building on our learnings from the previous two sessions, Susie argues that we need new theories to understand what is happening with and to bodies. Neither the Cartesian duality nor Freud’s notion of hysterias is sufficient to account for body dysmorphia, eating difficulties, self-harming and body image issues we are witnessing in our practices. She makes a case for the observation that we need to view the body as having its own developmental history. 3:00PM: Session 4: Body Countertransference In the last session, the seminar will look at how we encounter bodies in the therapy room. The session integrates our understanding from multiple standpoints and is an exploration of the counter-transferential experiences that occur within the therapeutic alliance. 4:00PM: Close

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