Monday evening meetings

16th May 2011

WMIP members and general public are welcome

The Heart of the Matter
Thomas Camps

‘La fixité du milieu intérieur est la condition de la víe libre’
Bernard in Grey Walter 1953 p16

The human brain is arguably the most complex arrangement of matter known in the universe.   Psychoanalysis provides, in the words of the neurologist Erik Kandel, ‘the most satisfactory account of human emotions we have’.  The phenomenology of selfhood and aspiration produce the qualities we most value about ourselves and our culture, religion, poetry, music and of course all the sciences not to mention the discipline of psychotherapy.
It may be that ourselves and this rich complexity are the products of very simple cybernetic processes endlessly iterated; little algorithms that run and run and make us who we are, that are as astonishing in their simplicity as we are astonishing in our complexity.

    In the heaven of the great god Indra is said to be a vast and shimmering net, finer than a spider’s web, stretching to the outermost reaches of space.  Strung at each intersection of its diaphanous threads is a reflecting pearl.  Since the net is infinite in extent, the pearls are infinite in number.  In the glistening surface of each pearl are reflected all the other pearls, even those in the furthest corners of the heavens.  In each reflection, again are reflected all the infinitely many pearls, so that by this process, reflection of reflections continue without end. Mumford 2002 frontispiece

Thomas Camps is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice who trained at the West Midland’s Institute in the 1990’s and has subsequently been a member of the Freudian training committee and is now a member of the Neuro-Psychoanalysis Group at the Institute.  Prior to psychoanalytic training I worked with children with severe learning disabilities as an art therapist while myself attending and enjoying the many workshops run by the Champernowne Trust.   I have always had a keen interest in understanding how our world worked which started on my grandfather’s lap aged three looking at pictures of eclipses and sheets of strange astronomical symbols long before I could read words.
My interest in this topic arose out of an initial consideration of the significance of the therapeutic setting, noting that while frequent reference was made to it in the literature, this generally amounted to little more than assertions about its importance and the need for its maintenance.  There seemed no systematic examination of the significance of the setting itself.   This lacuna in our discipline when attended to opened up a rich vein of thinking, as psychoanalytically we might expect, leading to a PhD thesis and this talk tonight.

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