Psychoanalytic Discussion of the film, ‘Mammal’, and Erotic Transference

Organised by: Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations (member institution of UKCP)

Date: 4th December 2020

Time: 7:30pm – 9pm

Price: NIIHR members: Free. Non-members: £5

Location: online


Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations Psychoanalytic Film Club presents a discussion of ‘Mammal’, facilitated by Dr Noreen Giffney

Mammal dir. Rebecca Daly (2016), 96 mins.

Someone is missing. Margaret’s young adult son, Patrick, whom she has not seen since infancy, is missing. This turn of events prompts the re-appearance of Matt, her ex-husband and Patrick’s father, as well as the entrance of Joe, a young adult she finds beaten and bloody on the ground outside her place of work. Someone, indeed something, is missing for each of these individuals. They are weighed down by loss, sometimes presented to us as unspoken, other times as unknown. The film represents what happens when losses cannot be borne, when experiences cannot be symbolised, when states of mind become concretised and enacted rather than consciously thought or felt. Losses inside become mixed up with losses outside and feelings towards one person become blurred and projected onto someone else. ‘Mammal’ offers us a resonant portrayal of the psychical operations of erotic transference and how eroticisation as a psychological defence is oftentimes bound up with trauma, anxiety and aggression. The film locates the scene of erotic transference with the mother; the ‘ma’, ‘mam’, ‘mamma’ in its title. How might this film, and our affective encounter with it, help us to reflect on experiences of erotic transference and countertransference that manifest in clinical practice?

Attendees are required to watch ‘Mammal’ in preparation for attending the event. The film is available to rent or purchase online:





Attendees might wish to read the following clinical article in advance of the event: Alberto Stefana, ‘Erotic Transference’, ‘British Journal of Psychotherapy’ 33.4 (2017): 505-513.

The discussion will be facilitated by Dr Noreen Giffney, a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and a Lecturer in Counselling at Ulster University, Jordanstown. She is a founding scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council and a fully-accredited clinical member of the NIIHR, IFPP, ICP, UKCP and CPJA. She ran a private practice in Dublin before relocating to County Donegal. Noreen is the author of ‘The Culture-Breast: Cultural Experiences and the Psychoanalytic Clinic’ (Routledge 2021), as well as the author or editor of many books and articles on psychoanalysis, critical theory, and psychosocial studies. She is the Director of ‘Psychoanalysis +’, an international, interdisciplinary initiative that brings together clinical, academic and artistic approaches to, and applications of, psychoanalysis.

Everyone is welcome. This event will be of particular interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers specialising in psychosocial studies.

Pre-registration is necessary. NIIHR Members: Free. Non-members: Suggested Donation £5.

To register, contact Mary Cairns. Email or telephone +44 (0)7881 204 514.

A link will be emailed to everyone who registers to facilitate attendance at the event.

The Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations (NIIHR) accredits Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists working in Northern Ireland. It is a member institution of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP). Visit NIIHR for further information.

To book, email