A Neuropsychoanalysis Group has been formed in London with special emphasis on psychodynamic neuroscience and neuropsychology research and it usually meets at 6:00 pm on the first Thursday of each month of the academic calendar at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) in London WC1.

This interdisciplinary group is modelled on the many other successful NPSA groups that exist internationally. The aim is to provide a venue for clinicians and researchers with an interest in Neuropsychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Neuroscience. The Group also functions as a base for exchanging professional news, enhancing interdisciplinary careers and forming clinical and research collaborations. Each meeting consists of a presentation of neuroscientific research or a psychoanalytically-informed clinical work with neurological patients, followed by extensive discussion by the group.

Topic: Free energy, Primary Process, and Dreaming

Following Freud, psychoanalysis distinguishes between two basic forms of mental functioning: a wishfufilling primary process, often described by later analysts in terms of phantasy, and a reality-oriented secondary process. Freud took the secondary process to develop out of the primary one, and the primary process to come to the fore in dreams and mental disorder. This psychoanalytic distinction, it is argued, corresponds to a basic distinction in Friston’s free energy neuroscience, as between processes that minimize free energy by reducing the complexity of the brain’s generative model (simplifying the model) and those that do so by increasing the accuracy of the model. Taking the basic psychoanalytic distinction in this way enables us to regard the primary process, or phantasy, as that by which the brain simplifies its model of the world; and to see how the psychoanalytic process of interpreting dreams and symptoms is also that of discerning the work of the brain in this simplifying process.

Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London WC1; closest tube is Russell Square.


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