Clinical Tools From Spinoza by Dr Ian Miller
The IFPP are delighted to welcome Dr Ian Miller to give a talk which draws on his 2022 Routledge publication,
Date: Saturday November 26th, 2022
Time: 10:45am – 1pm GMT
Location: Online via Zoom
Cost: From €7.50
- 10:45am to 11:45am Presentation of paper by Dr Ian Miller
- 45am to 12pm Break
- 12pm to 12:50pm Discussion / Q&As
- 1pm Close
Not only was Baruch Spinoza the first modern psychologist, a recognition shared by psychoanalytic thinkers from Lou Andreas-Salome to Erich Fromm, but also Spinoza’s Ethics furnish today’s contemporary clinicians with a threefold cord of aspiration, observation, and methodology, immediately recognizable within the interrelated currents of psychoanalytic thought. Remarkably, fundamental streams of Spinozan thinking are discernible in the “going on being” of DW Winnicott and in the process-rich clinical algorithm developed by WR Bion, in expansion of Klein’s shuttle between paranoid/schizoid and depressive positions.
Clinical Spinoza (Routledge, 2022) is the third instalment in my articulation of today’s psychoanalytic vernacular, derived largely from the clinical contributions of Winnicott & Bion – and developed in the context of my teaching psychoanalytic theory at Trinity College, with the book, Defining Psychoanalysis: Achieving a Vernacular Expression (Karnac, 2016). On the Daily Work of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (Routledge, 2018), the second instalment, focuses on clinical and social change processes observed and implemented through the lens of Bion’s therapeutic algorithm. However, only in engagement with Spinoza’s 17th century contributions, do late 20th and early 21st century psychoanalytic developments become recognizable as integrally Spinozan concepts.
Returning to the psychological tools advanced by Spinoza – including his monistic critique of Descartes – contemporary therapeutic practice is streamlined and clarified, both directly in the clinic, and in relation to the metapsychology, or philosophical underpinning, of what we do.
It is not today, as early psychoanalysts observed, that Spinoza “anticipates” the development of psychoanalysis, but rather, that the development of psychoanalysis itself, through its speculative twists and turns, has returned to clarities discerned originally by Spinoza; and which stand ready (as they have for centuries) for integration within psychoanalytic development.
Ten years ago, in 2012, I relocated my 30-year practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy from Manhattan to Dublin, joining both the IFPP and the Psychological Society of Ireland where I am also involved in the Human Rights special interest group and the Psychotherapy section.
Since then, in clinical practice, supervision, and teaching, Dublin has been home. It has been a productive time: of growth, not only in writing psychoanalytic books and articles, but also of ongoing psychoanalytic inquiry with Dubliners; and in developing new associations with European clinical colleagues.
In addition to practice and writing, I remain Associate Editor of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis; and last Spring, was asked to participate in the IPA podcast series Psychoanalysis as Politics: Aspiring to Think In the Age of Anti-Thinking – Ian S. Miller on the topic of thinking itself as subversively political in our times.
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