25TH ANNUAL SEVERNSIDE INSTITUTE PUBLIC LECTURE
“THOU SHOULD’ST NOT HAVE BEEN OLD TILL THOU HADST BEEN WISE”: PSYCHOANALYTIC REFLECTIONS ON THE “UNHOUSED MIND”
Margot Waddell - Psychotherapist, Author and Lecturer – Tavistock Clinic
This paper will pursue a long-standing pre-occupation of mine, that of the “unhoused mind” at whatever age or stage of the life cycle: unhoused, because unfamiliar, in a state of transition, of loss and mourning, or lack of, and fear of the unknown or of the too late. The subject is the transitional worlds of life, whether of childhood, or of adolescence or, in this case, of the very elderly.
Lear did not consciously realise that giving up “kingship” would take from him so much. The trappings of majesty had hitherto held him together, just as the trappings of the soldierly world had held Othello together. Now, both men find themselves utterly vulnerable, bereft of their own experience and so, unknown to themselves. It is Shakespeare’s extraordinary capacity to express the unbearable parts of human experience that I shall be exploring, mainly in relation to the work of Wilfred Bion.
Margot Waddell is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Child Analyst. She has worked for over 30 years as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, London where she continues to contribute as a Visiting Lecturer. She is a widely published author and has taught both nationally and internationally for many years. She has edited the Tavistock Clinic Book Series since its inception in 1998. An extended edition of her book, Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of the Personality was published by Karnac in 2002, and Understanding 12-14 Year-olds was published by Jessica Kingsley in 2005.