Clinical and Critical: Contemporary Dialogues in Psychoanalytic Theory

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
02 July 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA C89012 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C89024 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C890MO Psychoanalytic Studies,
MPHDC89048 Psychoanalytic Studies,
PHD C89048 Psychoanalytic Studies

Module description

The module provides an exploration of contemporary issues and debates in psychoanalytic theory and technique, focusing on some of the main post-Freudian clinical revisions that constitute the psychoanalytic imaginary of our times, but also on the development of a critical take on psychoanalytic theory.

While the clinical context is the main site of observation, the module is also committed to take psychoanalysis outside the clinic and to allow it to illuminate societal processes that mobilise our critical reflection.

The module focuses on themes such as: the relationship of the psyche and the soma, the creativity of the hysterical symptom, post-Freudian conceptions of memory and dreams, the phenomenon of submission to authority, the scene of trauma, psychic splitting, revised conceptions of the superego, innovations in psychoanalytic technique and un-represented states of mind.

The added value of the module is that is gives a special attention to lesser known, but highly consequential theoretical traditions in psychoanalysis, which offer important and productive revisions to the Freudian paradigm. The module works in a comparative manner with traditions that lie beyond the classical British object relations developments. The traditions the module draws on are the Budapest School of Psychoanalysis, the French tradition, and the American tradition. Some of the authors discussed are: Sándor Ferenczi, Michael Balint, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Lacan, Jean Laplanche, André Green, Julia Kristeva, Jessica Benjamin, Thomas Ogden.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To present the work of Post-Freudian schools of Psychoanalysis and set them in relation to Freud’s thinking.

  • To explain leading themes and concepts in contemporary psychoanalysis, with a focus on clinical concepts.

  • To encourage a comparative method in approaching psychoanalytic theories.

  • To acquaint students with the forms of creativity and the challenges of comparing different psychoanalytic traditions, in a way that is connected to contemporary psychoanalytic thinking.

  • To encourage a critical vocabulary for a psychoanalysis in our times, by extending the reflection outside the clinic.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be expected to be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of psychoanalytic concepts, and to use them to explore clinical and non-clinical themes.

  2. Discuss, compare and debate the trends and evolution of psychoanalytic thinking.

  3. Discuss, compare and contrast theories critically.

Module information

Indicative Syllabus

  • Marginal voices in psychoanalysis

  • Revisiting the Psyche and the Soma

  • Revisiting the Memory and Dreams

  • Forms of Submission. A Phenomenology

  • Revisiting the Scene of the Trauma

  • Reading Week

  • Toward Phenomenology of Psychic Splitting

  • The Psychic Life of Fragments. Superego end Orpha.

  • Neo-Catharsis. Innovations on Psychoanalytic Technique

  • Un-represented States of Mind. Implications for the Contemporary Clinic

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • 9 x 2 hour per week seminars


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay    100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Raluca Soreanu, email:
Professor Raluca Soreanu 01206 873745 Room 5A.202



External examiner

Prof Calum Bruce MacDonald Neill
Edinburgh Napier University
Professor of Psychoanalysis & Continental Philosophy
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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