Body Troubles: 2020 An evening seminar with Susie Orbach London, 30 January 2020 (Thursday) 6:00pm - 9:00pm
As practising therapists and counsellors, we notice that the terrain of the body is rapidly changing. A plethora of new developments require new thinking: Cosmetic Surgery Apps for six-year olds, Selfies everywhere, Virtual Reality, Snapchat dysmorphia, The Kardashian effect, Implants and Sex dolls; just to name a few. Our clients may not be consulting us on body troubles specifically, but whatever their emotional predicaments and conflicts, concern for the body is nearly always folded into them. At this intellectually stimulating 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 there are two trends that will shape body discussions in the years to come: the difficulty of living in the bodies we currently inhabit, especially in an age of celebrity and influencer adulation – where the pursuit of ‘perfectibility’ keeps finding its way into our consulting rooms. The second trend is that artificial intelligence led cosmetic surgery (which allows beauty to be benchmarked against 200 attractive features currently) and Synthetic Biology make transformational tools available to individuals, while online and virtual reality existence allows for an almost body-free experience where your virtual avatar can perfect a chosen look. How is the ‘body’ perceived in such an environment? Susie looks closely at the implications for our therapeutic interactions and explains how the body will be front and centre in our consulting rooms. She argues that our therapeutic theories and practice need to expand to meet our client’s new concerns. To meet these challenges, the seminar explains a new theory of bodies that Susie has been developing and we also get a chance to discuss our own clinical examples. We consider how our countertransferential issues can help us meet the complex longings of the client.
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 since completely revised Bodies in light of AI, Sex Dolls and similar new developments – this new edition has just been published. 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 Government papers including Two for the Price of One and an expanded version of her new publication In Therapy was 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. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2019 and is Academic Visitor at Hertford College, Oxford.

Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.