‘Different Not Less’: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Autism

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Museum of Literature Ireland, UCD Newman House

85-86 Saint Stephen's Green

(Access through 85 St. Stephen's Green

D02 XY43 Dublin

Ireland

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This one-day multi-disciplinary seminar, hosted by the Freud Lacan institute (FLi) seeks to inspire dialogue about autism. The seminar will explore the following: What we mean when we refer to autism; Different approaches to understanding autism; The factors that have supported its emergence as a recent diagnostic category; What the clinical field of psychoanalysis offers.

The seminar will feature discussants who will speak from their experience as researchers, clinicians, educators, parents, autists, and artists. The emphasis will be on dynamic discussion and audience participation and it is open to all: clinicians, students, parents, educators, and anyone interested in understanding more about autism.

Discussants include: Bice Benvenuto (psychoanalyst, founding member CFAR, London); Leon Brenner (psychoanalytic researcher and lecturer, Berlin); Paul Moore (psychoanalytic psychotherapist, psychologist, and director of the MSc Psych, TCD); Stuart Neilson (Artist & Researcher, Cork). Breda Dwyer (educationalist, ASD Unit coordinator, Tipperary), Marie Walshe (psychoanalyst (spec. children & adolescents), clinic director Dublin.)

The day will feature a video installation and visual art exhibition by Stuart Neilson.

PROGRAM OF THE DAY

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome and Introductions

10:15 – 11:30 What is Autism and What Does it Mean to be on the Spectrum?

Paul Moore, Marie Walshe

11:30 – 12:30 A Psychoanalytic Consideration of Autism

Leon Brenner, Invited Speaker (Berlin)

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:30 Ways of Living and Working with Autism

Stuart Neilson, Breda Dwyer

14:30 – 15:30 A Model for Working with Autistic Children and their Families

Bice Benvenuto, Keynote Speaker (London)

15:30 - 16:00 Roundtable and Audience Q&A, Close of Seminar

DESCRIPTIONS OF THE TALKS

Paul Moore

People who have received a diagnosis placing them on the Autism are a diverse group of individuals. While autism is generally understood as a developmental condition it can also be understood at a neurodevelopmental and neurological level. These neurological factors have psychological implications for how people with autism experience themselves and their surroundings. Historically in Ireland traditional methods of psychotherapy have not been made available to this clinical population as an integral part of psychological treatment plans. Thinking about autism through a clinical neuropsychoanalytic lens can be of enormous benefit to clinicians in working therapeutically with this population. Paul argues that access to longer term psychoanalytic therapies should be equally accessible and available to both people on the Autism Spectrum and to those who are not, as a means of gaining a greater understanding of their experience of living a life that is different not less.

Marie Walshe

Diagnosis is a critical element in the direction of a psychotherapy. In Lacanian psychoanalysis, diagnosis is primarily based upon traits observed in a person's speech and their relation to family, culture, and the social world. This is very different to psychology and the use of the DSM. Psychoanalysis understands that autistic children can be significantly challenged in all social exchanges with others which leave them overwhelmed by a sense of annihilation by family, school, and social others, and in a state of mute anguish in the face of their desire. To engage these children in a psychoanalytic psychotherapy is to engage them with the play of meaning that is the exchange in language. It is first and foremost based upon the belief that the child has a set of intersubjective relations which have meaning for them. The work of the analysis is to reveal, by delicate and deliberate interventions that take their lead from the particular metaphors of the child herself, the cornerstones of that particular intersubjective narrative.

Leon Brenner

Autism is commonly defined today by many scientists and clinicians as a developmental disorder of a mental or physical origin that is to be studied and contained. However, many “high-functioning” autistic individuals describe autism as a unique mode of being that is an immanent aspect of their identity. This talk will present the theoretical groundwork of the Lacanian psychoanalytic approach to autism that is oriented toward supporting autistic individuals in being autistic and not “curing” them of the autism that they have.

Breda Dwyer

Breda will be discussing challenges that ASD students face in a mainstream setting. This is aimed at raising more awareness, acceptance and understanding in educational settings and in the wider community. She explores supports and services for students with ASD in a college and workplace and whether the current model that we are using is the best way to support ASD students.

Stuart Neilson

My images, as an artist and writer, are an attempt to visualise and convey how different people inhabiting the same physical space can perceive different realities. Most people, most of the time, take for granted a common perception and a common language to describe their realities. Autistic people are more or less outsiders, inhabitants of a parallel world.

Bice Benvenuto

Bice will reflect on the experience of welcoming autistic children and their families at the Maison Verte-UK, which is an open social space inspired by the psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto. With the aid of vignettes from the work at Maison Verte and a case of Melanie Klein’s, she will follow a progression from the child's "vanishing presence" which tries to cling to silent objects, towards the call the autistic subject makes to the surrounding space to be seen. This allows the child’s presence to be put on the human map of the place. There will be other reflections too…

DISCUSSANT BIOGRAPHIES

Bice Benvenuto is a Lacanian psychoanalyst who practices in London and has co-directed the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London for many years. She is a member of the Ecole Européenne de Psychanalyse and has taught psychoanalysis at the New School for Social Research in New York and at The Florida Atlantic University. She published, with Roger Kennedy, The Works of Jacques Lacan: An Introduction (London: Free Association, 1986); Concerning the Rites of Psychoanalysis, or the Villa of the Mysteries (London: Polity Press, 1994), many articles in European and American journals (Oxford Literary Review, British Journal of Psychotherapy, Thalassa and others) and co-authored The Klein-Lacan Dialogues (London: Rebus Press, 1997, edited by B. Burgoyne & M. Sullivan). She is the director of the Associazione Françoise Dolto in Rome, where she directs a Maison Verte.

Leon Brenner (Ph.D) is a research fellow at the University of Potsdam, specialising in the fields of Lacanian psychoanalysis, contemporary French philosophy and autism research. Brenner's new book on autistic subjectivity in Lacanian psychoanalytic thought will soon be published under the title: “The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Today, Brenner works on the subject of the philosophical anthropology of autism at the University of Potsdam's institute for philosophy. He is the founder of the Lacanian Affinities Berlin group (laLAB) and teaches courses on the subject of psychoanalysis at several institutions in Berlin.

Breda Dwyer is a teacher and educator who has been involved in post-primary education for almost three decades. She gained her degree from UCC and in recent years has become actively involved with and is the coordinator of an ASD Unit in a school in Co. Tipperary. She draws from a wealth of experience in working in a school and in the community with children and adolescents who struggle with the everyday experiences of school and socialisation.

Paul Moore is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in Dublin, Carlow and Kilkenny. He is Course Director of the M.Sc. in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, in the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. Paul is a former Chairperson of the Irish Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and is also a Training Analyst for the IIPP. He is a founding member and group leader of Neuropsychoanalysis Ireland, a study group for those interested in the intersection between psychoanalysis and the neurosciences. In addition to general practice in psychotherapy, Paul specialises in psychotherapy for people who have experienced a brain injury, people on the autistic spectrum, and family members of people affected by these issues, and provides a therapeutic consultancy service to professionals in the areas of acquired brain injury, autism. Paul also collaborates with Prof. Oliver Turnbull’s Emotion Research Lab at Bangor University North Wales, where the team are investigating the neural correlates of psychotherapy.

Stuart Neilson lectures and writes about the autism spectrum as a health statistician and from his personal perspective, having been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2009, at the age of 45. He was a founder member of the team that developed the innovative Diploma in Autism Studies at University College Cork, Ireland. He has a degree in computer science and a doctorate in mathematical modelling of inherent susceptibility to fatal disease. Stuart Neilson's most recent publications include “Living with Asperger syndrome and Autism in Ireland”, “Painted Lorries of Pakistan” and a chapter on sensory issues and social inclusion in the anthology “Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism.”

See http://wordpress.stuartneilson.com/resources

Marie Walshe

Marie Walshe is a psychoanalyst, supervisor and Director of the Leeson Analytic Centre, a practice in which she treats adults, children and couples. Marie has lectured on undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy as well as presenting papers in Ireland and the UK. Her articles have been published in the Letter and Lacunae journals (http://appi.ie/publications/) and she recently contributed a chapter on her adolescent practice to a textbook on Lacanian perspectives on child and adolescent psychoanalysis, Lacanian Psychoanalysis with Babies, Children, and Adolescents: Further Notes on the Child, edited by Carol Owens and Stephanie Farrelly Quinn (Routledge, 2017).

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Date and Time

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Museum of Literature Ireland, UCD Newman House

85-86 Saint Stephen's Green

(Access through 85 St. Stephen's Green

D02 XY43 Dublin

Ireland

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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