NEWS FROM PROFESSOR BRETT KAHR, FEBRUARY, 2021.

Posted by on Feb 3, 2021 in News and Events

            On 5th March, 2020, Professor Brett Kahr delivered his very last “in-person” lecture prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus across the United Kingdom.  On that occasion he had the privilege of speaking about “Sub-Clinical Psychopathy” to a group of students on the Diploma in Psychopathology course sponsored by Confer. 

            Subsequently, he has had to navigate the technological complexities of Microsoft Teams and Zoom and has delivered a number of guest lectures on-line.

            In June, 2020, he presented a talk to the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication at Imperial College London on behalf of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, exploring the history of psychotherapy exactly one hundred years ago, in 1920.  He returned to Imperial College London in October, 2020, to deliver two more on-line lectures on the history of mental health, the first entitled, “How to Fix a Hole in the Head:  A History of Psychotherapy from Trephination to the Talking Cure”, and the second entitled, “Sigmund Freud:  Archaeologist of the Mind”, for the course on “Understanding Psychotherapy:  A Social History of the Mind”.  In January, 2021, he spoke once again at Imperial College, lecturing on “My Very First Patient”, as part of a new course on “Understanding Psychotherapy:  Through the Psychotherapists’ Eyes”.

            Also, in June, 2020, he presented a live-streamed talk on “How Freud Would Have Handled the Coronavirus:  Lessons from a Beacon of Survival” for the Freud Museum London, in which he explored the ways in which Sigmund Freud had to navigate a number of “coronavirus”-type experiences of his own, ranging from the influenza pandemic of 1918 to the German invasion of Austria in 1938.  This talk inspired Kahr to write his next book, Freud’s Pandemics:  Surviving Global War, Spanish Flu, and the Nazis, due to appear in the autumn of 2021.  He presented a variant of this talk, based on his archival research, about the ways in which the great British psychoanalyst, Dr. Donald Winnicott, survived both the Spanish flu of 1918 and, also, the Hong Kong flu of 1968.  Kahr had the pleasure of presenting this lecture to the Anna Freud Centre Academic Faculty for Psychoanalytic Research, part of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, under the gracious chairpersonship of Professor Joan Raphael-Leff.

            Other on-line lectures included a talk on “The Traumatic Basis of Psychopathology” for students on the Diploma in Psychopathology and, also, the Graduation Address to the W.P.F. training organisation on “How to Flourish as a Psychotherapist Amid a Global Pandemic”, based on his recent book How to Flourish as a Psychotherapist (Phoenix Publishing House, 2019).

            In October, 2020, he presented his clinical research on ‘ “When Mummy Wants You to Die”:  Can Infanticidal Wishes Be Survived?’, to the Wimbledon Guild, part of the Wimbledon Guild of Social Welfare, in London.  Also, in October, 2020, and in November, 2020, he delivered two “overnight” seminars on “Sexual Symptoms, Erotic Tumours, and Conjugal Aneurysms:  The Traumatic Roots of the Unhappy Bedroom”, and on “Why We Do Not Invite Patients to Move into Our Spare Bedrooms:  Donald Winnicott and the Biographical Origins of ‘Hate in the Counter-Transference’ ”, to the Couple, Child and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australasia, based in Forestville, New South Wales, Australia.  He especially enjoyed sharing his clinical and historical research with these most welcoming colleagues from overseas. 

            And in January, 2021, Kahr spoke about his research on Dr. Donald Winnicott as part of a seminar on the “Winnicotts in National Crisis”, organised by the American social worker and historian Joel Kanter.  He also introduced the new seminar scheme organised by the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council, which launched on 29th January, 2021, featuring presentations on the psychology of racism delivered by Ivan Ward, Deputy Director of Freud Museum London, and by Fakhry Davids, a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society.

            In addition to his work as teacher and lecturer, Professor Kahr has continued to publish books and chapters and papers.  In 2020, he produced four books:  Dangerous Lunatics:  Trauma, Criminality, and Forensic Psychotherapy(Confer Books, 2020), as well as Bombs in the Consulting Room:  Surviving Psychological Shrapnel (Routledge / Taylor and Francis Group, 2020); Celebrity Mad:  Why Otherwise Intelligent People Worship Fame (Routledge / Taylor and Francis Group, 2020); and On Practising Therapy at 1.45 A.M.:  Adventures of a Clinician (Routledge / Taylor and Francis Group, 2020).  His publishers at Routledge selected him as a Featured Author for 2020 (https://www.routledge.com/go/featured-author-brett-kahr).

His chapter on the “The Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, 1920-2020” has appeared in the special centenary volume, The Tavistock Century:  2020 Vision (Phoenix Publishing House, 2021), designed to celebrate the founding of the Tavistock Square Clinic for Functional Nervous Disorders in 1920 (now known as the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust).  A shortened version of this essay has appeared in the journal Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, edited by our colleague Dr. Christopher Clulow.  Future chapters, currently in press, include a study of Donald Winnicott’s famous child psychoanalytical patient known as “The Piggle”; a tribute to the great and much-missed British psychoanalyst Marion Milner; as well as a study of forensic disability psychotherapy.

He has also produced his popular annual column of “Brett Kahr’s Top Ten Books” for the Confer website (https://www.confer.uk.com/brett-kahrs-books-of-2020.html).

Quite apart from his teaching and writing, Professor Kahr has devoted most of his time during these challenging months to his clinical practice, extremely grateful that, due to the wonders of the landline telephone, he and his patients have continued to work uninterruptedly.  He very much awaits reopening his Central London office in a post-vaccinated world!

© The Balint Consultancy 2016-2019. All Rights Reserved. T: 020 3151 9606 E: enquiries@balintconsultancy.com