Anxiety, Dread and Fear
“Like one, that on a lonesome road/Doth walk in fear and dread,/And having once turned round walks on,/And turns no more his head;/Because he knows, a frightful fiend/ Doth close behind him tread.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Most of us are familiar with some of the problems associated with anxiety. But anxiety’s vital function is glimpsed when we think about those without a sufficient capacity to bear it: what should be sensed as a threat presents no danger, or offers an exciting risk; damage often follows - although not always. From the first, Freud felt that anxiety and fear are central to human behaviour, to our interior mental life and to our object relations, attachments and achievements. He identified the different forms of anxiety including as a response to real, sometimes archaic dangers such being killed, eaten or harmed, starved, of separation from or losing one’s mother, of physical castration by a dominant male or female, expulsion from the group, but also phantasies of these threats, leading to anxiety situations that are mostly internal. In trauma, the level of anxiety has exceeded the ego’s capacity to manage them. The individual’s relationship to its good object breaks down with severe consequences for functioning.
This year’s UCL Conference will address these and other forms of anxiety, fear and dread, and the deeper matters that seem to give rise to them. We will consider how they are best understood and responded to clinically. We will seek to identify our current accounts of anxiety and its cognate states.
- Rosine Jozef Perelberg | British Psychoanalytical Society
- Vic Sedlak | British Psychoanalytical Society
- Gigliola Fornari Spoto | British Psychoanalytical Society
Friday clinical seminar leaders
Robin Anderson, David Bell, Donald Campbell, Peter Fonagy, Chris Mawson, Edna O' Shaughnessy, Rosine Jozef Perelberg, Irma Brenman Pick, Vic Sedlak, Gigliola Fornari Spoto, Mary Target, David Taylor, and David Tuckett