October 12, 2015
Session 4: The Unconscious and the Body
Katerina Fotopoulou - The Embodied Relational Unconscious
The Freudian Unconscious was closely related to the mental representation of the body, and particularly the satisfaction of its biological needs. Katerina Fotopoulou will talk about 'the embodied relational unconscious', discussing certain classical and contemporary psychoanalytic insights on the unconscious that shed light on contemporary clinical and neuro-scientific findings. Among other fascinating things, we will learn about the psychological mechanisms by which body feelings are influenced by internalised social expectations and interactions; how bodies are interpersonally mentalised and perceived to form the basis of ourselves.
Aikaterini (Katerina) Fotopoulou PhD is Senior Lecturer at the Psychoanalysis Unit, Psychology and Language Sciences Division, UCL and Research Affiliate at the UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her current research projects focus on body feelings, sensorimotor signals and related body representations in healthy individuals and in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders of body awareness; she is interested in psychological and neural mechanisms by which our interoceptive body feelings, as well as multimodal representations of the body, are influenced by internalised social expectations, on-line interactions with other people and by neuropeptides known to enhance social feelings. These studies point to unique neural mechanisms by which our bodies are interpersonally ‘mentalised’ and perceived to form the basis of our selves. Katerina is the Director of the London Neuropsychoanalysis Centre and runs the London Neuropsychoanalysis Group on: ‘Psychodynamic Neuroscience and Neuropsychology’. With Conway and Pfaff, she is co-editor of the volume From the Couch to the Lab: Trends in Psychodynamic Neuroscience (2012). In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious British Neuropsychological Society’s Early Career Award, The Elizabeth Warrington Prize, as well as the Clifford Yorke Prize (2006) by the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society, for Early Career Contributions to the field, and the Papanicolaou Prize in a joined meeting of the World Hellenic Biomedical Society and the Hellenic Medical Society of Britain. Katerina is also finishing her Clinical Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council and leading to eligibility for Professional Chartership.