Category Archives: Events

Oct 6 Talk! BPS History of Psych Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk as part of its autumn  BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On October 6, Roland Littlewood (left) of University College London will be speaking on “The Advent of the Adversary: Negative Power in Certain Religio-Therapeutic Systems?” Full details follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 6 October
Professor Roland Littlewood (UCL)

“The Advent of the Adversary: Negative Power in Certain Religio-Therapeutic Systems?”

New ‘religio-therapeutic systems’ commonly start with a relatively straightforward ethical injunction or healing faculty. With time, recognised failures, together with internal or external criticisms, appear, for which the action of a new countervailing power or principle, formerly opposed to the initial one, provides the explanation. The two together form a new dynamic of power and counter-power. The instances considered here are Christian Science, Reichian energetics, Freudian psychoanalysis and – arguably – their source in Christianity. Some speculations on this complementary opposition are offered.

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New Talk! BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

RD Laing

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the first of its autumn talks as part of the  BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On September 22, Allan Beveridge, of Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, will be speaking on “Portrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young Man: The Early Writing and Work of RD Laing, 1927-1960″ Full details follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 22 September
Dr Allan Beveridge (Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline)

“Portrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young Man: The Early Writing and Work of RD Laing, 1927-1960″

For a period in the 1960s, Ronald Laing was the most famous psychiatrist in the world. His books sold in millions and were translated into many languages. In his most celebrated work, The Divided Self, published in 1960, he argued that madness was understandable. Laing’s reputation subsequently went into serious decline, but in recent years there has been renewed interest in him and a number of biographies and books have been published. This interest has been fuelled by a disenchantment with the claims of the neurosciences and an unease about biotechnology. Laing’s existential approach of treating the patient as a person rather than a malfunctioning mechanism has new-found appeal.

This paper will look at Laing’s early career up to the publication of his first book in 1960. It will begin by looking at the major influences on his work: psychiatric theory; existential analysis; religion; and the Arts. It will then examine Laing’s early clinical career, firstly in the British Army, followed by his time as a junior doctor at Gartnavel Royal Hospital and the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, before his subsequent move to the Tavistock Clinic in London.

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4th Annual BPS ‘Stories of Psychology’ Symposium

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre is hosting its fourth annual history of psychology symposium, “Stories of Psychology,” October 8, 2014. This year’s symposium is one of a number of BPS events marking the centenary of the First World War and looks at the influence of the war on psychology’s development in Britain. The day’s events are hosted by Alan Collins (right) of Lancaster University. Full program details follow below.

‘Stories of Psychology’ Symposium
War and Its Legacy

The fourth annual history of psychology symposium

Wednesday 8 October 2014 at the Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
10.30am-4pm (including buffet lunch)

Convened by Dr Alan Collins (Lancaster University)

This year’s symposium is part of the British Psychological Society’s planned series of events to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The First World War came at a time when psychology was still only beginning to emerge as an academic discipline and psychological organisations were in their infancy, particularly in Britain. After the War things started to look very different very quickly. So what impact did the War have on the development of psychological ideas and practice? Our speakers will attempt to provide some answers.

Speakers:

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes (Anglia Ruskin University, and BPS President Elect)
‘From Myers to the MoD: 99 Years of British Military Psychology’

Professor Edgar Jones (Institute of Psychiatry)
‘Shell Shock: The First World War and the Origins of Psychological Medicine’

Professor Michael Roper (University of Essex)
‘Growing Up in the Aftermath: Childhood and Family Relationships Between the Wars’

Professor Sonu Shamdasani (University College London)
‘C.G Jung, 1914-1918: From the Great War to the War Within’

plus

Andrea von Hohenthal (University of Freiburg, Germany) will make a short presentation of initial findings from her doctoral research on the development of psychology in Britain and Germany during the Great War.

This is a public event and all are welcome. The programme has been designed to have general appeal as well as academic validity for historians of psychology. 

Cost (including lunch): £15 Registration essential

To register click here

For more information, e-mail hopc@bps.org.uk or call Peter Dillon Hooper on 0116 252 9528.

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July Talk! BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced another talk as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On July 21st Vincent Barras, of the University of Lausanne, will be speaking on “Plays between Reason, Language and Gods: The Case of Glossolalia 19th-20th Centuries.” Full details follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 21 July
Professor Vincent Barras (University of Lausanne)
“Plays between Reason, Language and Gods: The Case of Glossolalia 19th-20th Centuries”

Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, plays a surprisingly important role in discussions between theologians, psychologists and psychiatrists at the turn of the 20th century on the relationships between religious psychology, mental automatisms, subliminal
processes and inner language, and in the formation of modern psychology itself. Its role in the formation of modern psychology will be reconstructed, with particular emphasis on the debates around the Swiss theologian Emile Lombard’s masterpiece of 1910, “Concerning glossolalia in the early Christians and similar phenomena.”

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June Talks – BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next two talks as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On Monday June  16th Graham Richards will be speaking on Some Psychological Facets of Creationism. Two weeks later Sarah Chaney (right) will be speaking on ‘A Perversion of Self-feeling': The Emergence of Self-harm in Victorian Asylum Psychiatry. Full details, including abstracts, follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 16 June: Dr Graham Richards (UCL), Some Psychological Facets of Creationism. The abstract reads,

This presentation explores the psychological aspects of the debates around Creationism. It explores the psychological character of the ‘Argument from Design’ and how this has changed over time from Ray, via Paley to current Intelligent Design theorists, the underlying motivations of Creationists, and the relevance to these debates of Paul Tillich’s discussion of ‘types of anxiety,’ and the history of ‘literal’ biblical fundamentalism. It signposts how psychology has the potential to illuminate the Creationism/Intelligent Design issue in ways which might break what is currently a log-jam of ritualised argument and counter-argument.

Monday 30 June: Dr Sarah Chaney (UCL), ‘A Perversion of Self-feeling': The Emergence of Self-harm in Victorian Asylum Psychiatry. The abstract reads,

This paper explores the emergence of self-harm as a specific category of abnormal individual behaviour in the second half of the 19th century, when ‘self-mutilation’ was defined within asylum psychiatry. I will briefly explain the background of the asylum system and psychiatric profession in Western Europe and the USA in this period, and describe how ‘self- mutilation’ emerged from the interest clinicians had in classifying and defining ‘insane’ behaviour. In particular, this was associated with the widespread publicity given to the increasing decision to regard suicidal acts as evidence of mental illness. While it is often assumed today that Victorian writers made no distinction between suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury, I argue that this was not the case. Psychiatrists in the 19th century frequently claimed that self-mutilation was not carried out for suicidal reasons, although they differed in their method of applying alternative meaning to such acts.

Finally, I will explore why it was that this distinction was made in this particular period, and what led psychiatrists to draw parallels between different kinds of self-inflicted injury to create a universal category. The concept of self-harm today is often used to refer to an act of injury; this application, I argue, emerged from late 19th-century asylum psychiatry. While people had certainly harmed themselves in a variety of ways prior to this period, the late 19th century was the first time these diverse acts – from skin-picking to amputation – became regarded as equivalent behaviours. Combining them under the umbrella term ‘self-mutilation’ prompted the idea that some form of universal meaning might also be discoverable. Self-harm became viewed as an act that had meaning beyond the physical nature of any wounds inflicted or the immediate sensations caused; an act that revealed something of the character of an individual; and, in addition, an act that might help to explain the relationship between individual and society.

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Mar. 24th Talk! Over the Edge: William Sargant and the Battle for the Mind

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. UCL’s Mike Jay will be speaking on “Over the Edge: William Sargant and the Battle for the Mind.” Full details, including abstract, follow below.

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series
Sponsored by the British Psychological Society. Open to the public.

Date: Monday 24th March
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

Over the Edge: William Sargant and the Battle for the Mind
Mike Jay

In his bestselling book of 1957, Battle for the Mind, the psychiatrist William Sargant revealed to the public the secret techniques that had been used to manipulate humanity, in his words, ‘from the Stone Age to Hitler’. His ideas were adopted by public intellectuals including Robert Graves, Aldous Huxley and Bertrand Russell.

Sargant’s theory was perhaps the most potent manifestation of postwar psychiatry in British popular culture, both drawing on and contributing to its aura of power and expertise. He presented a stark image of a modern world that had outgrown religious consolation but was not yet rational enough to resist the forms of control that were replacing it.

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Jan. 27th Talk! – BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On Monday January 27th Heather Wolffram of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand will be speaking on Hans Gross and the Birth of the Witness.  Full details, including an abstract, follow below.

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series
Sponsored by the British Psychological Society. Open to the public.

Date: Monday 27th January
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

Hans Gross and the Birth of the Witness
Dr Heather Wolffram (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

We are by now familiar with historical narratives that relate the emergence of the criminal as an object of scientific study during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We have excellent studies in a wide range of national contexts about the struggle between sociological and biological models of criminality, as well as about the tangible and sometimes terrible effects that such theories had on penal policy, policing and institutions, including prisons and asylums. We also have an increasingly clear idea of the manner in which such ideas provided a vehicle for the professionalisation of fields like psychiatry and the evolution of fields such as law.

Emerging more recently and in response to our own society’s fascination with forensic technologies have been attempts to look at the early history of criminalistics and police science. Such histories, like those which focus on the criminal, have identified a late-19th-century desire to make detection as scientific as possible, not only as a means of capturing and punishing criminals, and protecting society, but also as a means of professionalising policing.

These works have provided us with a much better understanding of policing, criminology and forensics, but perhaps do not fully reflect the more holistic view of crime that late-19th-century criminalists sometimes took. The Austrian investigating judge Hans Gross, for example, believed that as well as forensic expertise the criminalist required a psychological understanding of all those involved in crime, its investigation and prosecution. Although Gross was concerned with the psychology of criminals, police investigators, experts and judges, he was perhaps most focused on the figure of the witness. Using Gross’s book Criminal Psychology this paper will explore how and why the witness became an object of scientific study during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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New Exhibit! Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology at London’s Science Museum

London’s Science Museum is now exhibiting Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology. Supported by the British Psychological Society (BPS), the exhibit is on display until August 12, 2014 and is free for all visitors. The video above provides a quick look behind the scenes of the exhibit and a number of items from the exhibit are further highlighted on the Science Museum’s website here. The exhibit, the brain child (pun intended) of the Science Museum’s BPS Curator of Psychology Phil Loring,

explores how mental health conditions have been diagnosed and treated over the past 250 years.

Divided into four episodes between 1780 and 2014, this exhibition looks at key breakthroughs in scientists’ understanding of the mind and the tools and methods of treatment that have been developed, from Mesmerism to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) bringing visitors up to date with the latest cutting edge research and its applications.

Bringing together psychology, other related sciences, medicine and human stories, the exhibition is illustrated through a rich array of historical and contemporary objects, artworks and archive images.

Updated: Much more on the exhibit on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, the latter featuring an interview by Claudia Hammond with curator Phil Loring and the music of the glass harmonica. Reviews of Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology can also be found at the Huffington Post and The Telegraph.

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Nov. 25th Talk! BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On Monday, November 25th Andreas Sommer, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge and the blogger behind Forbidden Histories, will be speaking on “The last Romantic? Carl du Prel (1839-1899) and the Formation of German Experimental Psychology.” Full details follow below.

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series
Sponsored by the British Psychological Society. Open to the public.

Date: Monday 25th November
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

The last Romantic? Carl du Prel (1839-1899) and the Formation of German Experimental Psychology
Dr. Andreas Sommer (University of Cambridge) (UCL)

Although the philosopher Carl du Prel was arguably the most popular German-language theorist of the unconscious mind immediately preceding Sigmund Freud, his work has received remarkably little attention in histories of the mind sciences. Revered by artists such as Rilke and Kandinsky, du Prel was read by psychologists like William James, Frederic W. H. Myers, Carl Gustav Jung and Freud, who referred to the philosopher in ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ as “that brilliant mystic”. Taken up and advanced by Frederic W. H. Myers and Edmund Gurney in England, du Prel’s integrative psychological research programme became a competing brand of German physiological psychology and significantly informed the psychological methodologies of William James in the US and Théodore Flournoy in Switzerland. Sketching the formation and reception of du Prel’s ideas, this talk will reconstruct the hardening of epistemological and methodological boundaries of German experimental psychology, partly in response to his radical research programme. Through a discussion of the cultural and political backdrop of late-nineteenth century German science, it also hopes to shed light on factors for the curious neglect of du Prel and his ideas in conventional histories of psychology.

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Nov. 11th Talk, BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has organized the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On Monday, November 11th University College London professor Sushrut Jadhav (right) will be speaking on “Seminal Matters: Historical Erasures and Category Errors Concerning Semen Regulation.” Full seminar details follow below.

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series
Sponsored by the British Psychological Society. Open to the public.

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Monday 11th November
Seminal Matters: Historical Erasures and Category Errors Concerning Semen Regulation

Dr. Sushrut Jadhav (UCL)
This seminar is in two parts:

The first part will present evidence to argue that the history of semen related disorders, currently classified as an unique and exotic mental condition amongst South Asians, is deeply flawed as it erases a significant body of western literature. As a result, the phenomena of semen loss is classified it as a South Asian Culture Bound Mental Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (F48.8, ICD-10).

The second part will demonstrate findings from an experiment that reveals how such diagnoses can be equally constructed amongst White Britons in London. The seminar will conclude by 1) arguing these are key concerns glossed over by global mental health models that abstract local explanations of suffering to the level of a psychopathology, and 2) proposing the term ‘cultural iatrogenesis’ as a new category to be included in the classification of mental disorders.

Time: 6pm to 7.30pm

Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

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