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The Freud Museum

20 Maresfield Gardens



United Kingdom

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Children, at different stages of their verbal development, tend to express their thoughts, feelings and fantasies through play and through their drawings, modelling or squiggles. Françoise Dolto, could see that these images, with their forms and colours, would trigger words and associations, just as the dreams of adults do. They were projections of an unconscious image of the body, which Dolto conceived of as a ‘symbolic incarnation’ of the words, desires and erogenous experiences, which children have encountered in their relation with others.

Speakers will talk about aspects of their work with children and families from different perspectives: ranging from Anna Freud’s pioneering work with parent toddler groups, to Françoise Dolto’s creation of the Maison Verte in Paris, to Lacanian and post-Kleinean approaches. To complement these papers, two visual artists will present work to make ideas and concepts come alive for the audience.

*The eminent French child psychoanalyst, Françoise Dolto, created the original Maison Verte in Paris, as an experimental space for children and their families in the community. Maison Verte-UK, was set up in London in 2013. This conference will reflect on topics related to Dolto’s theoretical legacy.

About the Talks:

Catherine Dolto (Paris)

The emergence of the subject and the early representation of l'image inconsciente du corps through haptonomic antenatal affective contact.

The haptonomic approach enables contact from very early on between the child/foetus and his parents. Clinical practice shows how rich these affective exchanges can be: they modify the way pregnancy is lived, and the subsequent nature of birth, and the child’s development. The child's roots in affective security are probably the first feelings of the pre Image Inconsciente du Corps as described Françoise Dolto’s theory 

Lionel Bailly (UCL)

What holds the body together?

The body exists for a subject only when one starts to think of it. This can be the result of a conscious effort or due to the unavoidable effect of sensoriality: pleasure and pain in particular. The body seems to be held together by anchoring points, which, like the stitches of a padded armchair, bind the real, the imaginary and the symbolic. The signifiers, which in the metaphor are the thread, connect directly the flesh and the unconscious.

Inge-Martine Pretorius (The Anna Freud Centre)

Observing, Playing and Supporting Development: Anna Freud’s Toddler Development Groups

This talk describes an approach to working therapeutically with parents and toddlers in groups as practiced at The Anna Freud Centre. By intervening early to prevent later disturbance, the parent–toddler groups continue the tradition begun by Anna Freud in the Jackson Nursery in Vienna, the War Nurseries in and around London and the Hampstead Clinic following the Second World War. Common features include the commitment to working with children and their parents, to observation, training and research and to finding techniques that address developmental needs, delays and disturbances. Just as children select the specific therapeutic elements they need from a classical child analytic setting, parents and toddlers select what they need from what Anna Freud described as the various ‘therapeutic possibilities’ provided by the parent–toddler groups.

Nathalie Levallois (Paris)

The Body Image of Autistic Children

Through examples from my work with children at les Hôpitaux de Saint Maurice I will present thoughts and hypotheses about the body image of an autistic person.  Comparing different approaches from Dolto to Post Kleinians, I will explore how autism affects the body experience of a child, an experience that might be likened to living in a kind of fortress, an armour, cut off from the external world and from the passing of time. A better understanding of how a child's body image is affected by autism, might perhaps point to ways of inventing a space, a therapy that can help. 

About the Speakers:

 Catherine Dolto M.D., t he daughter of Françoise Dolto, psychoanalyst and Boris Dolto, a leading kinesitherapist and rheumatologist, is a doctor, paediatrician, haptonotherpist, actress and writer. Catherine worked along side her mother when Francoise Dolto broadcasted on French radio and was given, by her, the responsibility for the transmission of Dolto's intellectual and clinical heritage.

She worked with Frans Veldman (founder of haptonomy) upon his arrival in France in 1981. Since1990 she has dedicated her practice to haptonomy especially haptopsychotherapy and pre and post natal support. Haptonomy, is the science of affectivity which focuses on the person as a whole, bringing the body and mind together so that the Subject becomes an affective-somato-psychic unit.

From conception to the end of life, in the physical realm and drawing on the history of each person, haptonomy introduces a radically new approach to the prevention of disease. Care and education in the broadest sense of the word, always foregrounding the affective are the basis of a preventive and humanizing approach. Catherine Dolto is Vice President of the International Centre for Research and Development Haptonomy Frans Veldman (CIRDHFV Paris) and is also a teacher there. 

Lionel Bailly, MRC Psych, is a Psychoanalyst and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the NHS. He is a member of the Association Lacanienne Internationale (Paris) and an Academic Associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He is Honorary Senior Lecturer at UCL Psychoanalysis Unit where he is in charge of teaching the 'Lacan' units in the MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies and psychoanalytic developmental psychopathology in the MSc in Psychodynamic Developmental Neuroscience (in collaboration with The Anna Freud Centre and the Child Study Centre, Yale University School of Medicine). He is also involved in the doctoral programme of the Psychoanalysis Unit

Inge-Martine Pretorius PhD,  DPsych holds a PhD in Microbiology and a DPsych, in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She has conducted research and has published in both fields, most recently into the intergenerational transmission of disorganised parent-child relationships, from the dual perspectives of molecular genetics and psychoanalysis. Inge trained as Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families where she is the manager of the Parent-Toddler Service. She also organizes and teaches the MSc course Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child development at the AFC. She is co-editor with Marie Zaphiriou Woods, of ‘Parents and Toddlers in Groups: a Psychoanalytic Developmental Approach’. Routledge: London and New York (2011).

Nathalie Levallois  has worked in child psychiatry since 1992 as a psychomotricienne. She has practiced as an adult psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in Moscow and London for several years.


9.30 - 10.00       Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.10    Welcome and Introduction by Bice Benvenuto

10.15 - 10.45     Catherine Dolto:  The emergence of the subject and the early representation of l'image inconsciente du corps through haptonomic antenatal affective contact. Discussant: Bice Benvenuto

10.50 - 11.15     Coffee Break

11. 20 - 11.50     Lionel Bailey: What holds the body together? Discussant: Danuza Machado

11.55 - 12.25      Rachel Emily Taylor (artist): Finding Foundlings: Searching for the Voice of the Child at the Foundling Museum. Introduced by Danuza Machado

12. 30 - 13.40     LUNCH BREAK

13.40 - 14.10      Inge-Martine Pretorious: Observing, Playing and Supporting Development; Anna Freud’s Toddler Development Groups, Discussant: Sian Morgan

14.15 - 14.40      Coffee Break

14.45 - 15.20      Natalie Levallois: The Body Image of Autistic Children, Discussant: Lotte Bredt

15.25 - 15.45      Coffee Break

15.50 – 16.15      Emily Cooper (artist):  Emergence (animated film of 7.5 minutes), Introduced by Sian Morgan

16.20 – 17.00      Panel final discussion, closing words: Bice Benvenuto

About the Discussants:

Bice Benvenuto is an adult and child psychoanalyst, clinical co-ordinator of the Maison Verte-UK and a founder of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London. She lectures in universities in UK, US and Italy and is the author of books and articles on psychoanalysis and on the Maison Verte and Françoise Dolto's work.  

Danuza Machado is a psychoanalyst practising in London. She has worked in the first and only Maison Verte in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Danuza is a founder member and a trustee of the Maison Verte - UK. 
She is also a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, where she teaches on their training programme.  She has published numerous articles on psychoanalysis.

Sian Morgan has been working as a psychoanalytic therapist in Cambridge for more than thirty years. She ran the post graduate diploma in psychodynamic therapy for the University of Cambridge for fifteen years. She is also an artist and writer.  Sian is a founder member of the Maison Verte UK and is involved in bringing Dolto's ideas and work to the attention of English speakers.

Lotte Bredt (MBACP accred) is a practising family and child counsellor/psychotherapist trained at the Tavistock, with a background in special needs education. Since 2005 she has worked as a psychoanalytic counsellor/psychotherapist  in schools and in private practice. She is an an affiliate member of CFAR and founder member of Maison Verte-UK. 

About the Artists:

Rachel Emily Taylor is an artist and lecturer. She is currently writing a Ph.D. in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, titled ​Heritage as Process: Constructing the Historical Child’s Voice Through Art Practice. Alongside her art practice, Rachel lectures at the Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London and Arts University Bournemouth. Rachel has exhibits internationally and across the UK and amongst other projects, has been artist-in-residence at the Foundling Museum. Her paper will explore how contemporary children engage with the narratives of the foundling children. It will also include images of children’s paintings and drawings from the workshop sessions, alongside her own artworks.

Emily Cooper developed her distinctive filmmaking technique with an interest in communicating subjective human experience and psychological phenomena. She directed the animation for feature films Kiss The Water (2013 dir. Eric Steel) and Deej (to be released in 2017 dir. Robert Rooy). Her short films have been shown at Sundance Film Festival and various other international festivals and psychoanalytic conferences. In 2015 she was awarded the Gradiva Award for Emergence by the American National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.

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20 Maresfield Gardens



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