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SCIENTIFIC MEETING – What Kind of Disorder is Conversion? On Freud’s Hysterical Mechanism

SCIENTIFIC MEETING - What Kind of Disorder is Conversion? On Freud’s Hysterical Mechanism

Presenter: Jamieson Webster, PhD

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

TPS Scientific Meeting: Open to all.

The diagnosis of Conversion Disorder is the last remnant left of hysteria in the DSM. However, the concept of conversion is key to Freud’s understanding of hysteria, perhaps even more important than the term hysteria itself which has a long history going back to the Greeks. As well, conversion can be seen as a question about psychoanalysis itself; not only as the kind of quasi-religious turning point in the strange life of a psychoanalyst—the move from analysand to psychoanalyst, from psychoanalyst to training analyst—but also what psychoanalysis is founded on in terms of its relationship to libidinal transformations. Conversion shows us the potential or power of the libidinal body, one that can wreak real havoc at times, but which is there— alive, unpacifiable. What this investigation points to is the need to move beyond a conception of the body that speaks, making the body simply a question of translation or interpretation, but rather the body as a drive ridden series of tensions that define what it even means to speak, meaning the body can change the nature of discourse, not vice versa. I will show the importance of conversion for Freud and the place of the body and sexuality in examples of psychoanalytic work.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the meeting participants:

  1. Will know the history of the term conversion and its difference from other hysterical mechanisms.
  2. Will understand the clinical implications of thinking about conversion disorder in terms of work with patients.
  3. Will be able to trace these thoughts as they developed in Freud’s work from 1894 to 1938.
The Scientific Meetings and Workshops are eligible for Section 1 CME credits.

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