Friday 9 March 2012


Sigmund Freud by Hafal Blaenau Gwent

An excellent meeting yesterday of all Hafal staff and Trustees in which we worked out how to support patients and carers to get the best out of the new Mental Health Strategy (due to be published in draft late spring) and the Mental Health Measure (implementation of the important bit - Care and Treatment Plans under Part 2 - from 6 June). It is good to see staff so buoyant and committed in spite of the economic situation - and we will make a lot of noise this summer to promote the interests of people with a serious mental illness and their families!

Meanwhile I receive an interesting portrait of Sigmund Freud from service users in our art group in Blaenau Gwent which Hafal's Malcolm O'Callaghan has kindly forwarded.

This reminds me that I missed the new film about Freud and Jung - A Dangerous Method - which came out a couple of weeks ago. I will catch up with it in due course and tell you what I think but I suspect the audience may be mixed, one group there to witness the famous stand-off between the founder of psychoanalysis and his disloyal acolyte, the other there to gawp at Keira Knightley (Sabina Spielrein) being spanked by Michael Fassbinder (Carl Jung), a short scene which has been widely publicised by the film's promoters (including many, many interviews with Ms Knightley who says it was embarrassing to perform and to talk about...). The latter group may be the larger, I'm afraid, even though there is no evidence that this event - or indeed any hanky-panky - ever took place.

It has always been fashionable to sneer at Freud and his disciples, hinting that the importance of sex in their theories must mean they were all at it themselves in inappropriate ways - and in fact there is evidence of behaviour in that circle which would fall a long way short of modern standards for professional therapists. It has also become fashionable to say that anyway Freud "got it all wrong" about us - and again it is compelling that there are flaws in his theories (and more in Jung's if you ask me).

But none of this innuendo and genuine doubt can get away from the fact that he entered for the first time into the workings of our minds and uncovered great truths about that previously unexplored territory. The jokey evasion of serious discussion about Freud's theories speaks volumes about our suppressed anxieties and taboos in acknowledging our own true natures.

Jung, Spielrein, and Freud