St Petersburg seminars

Aerial photo of St Petersburg

A series of seminars exploring Kleinian theory and practice has been running in St Petersburg since 2012. The seminars take place over three weekends a year, facilitated and supervised by Hannah Solemani.

Format and themes

A theoretical paper is discussed in detail by the group. The themes that then emerge are considered over the weekend when participants take turns to present their clinical work.

Theoretical themes have included:

  • projective identification
  • Oedipus complex
  • narcissism
  • life and death instincts
  • transference and countertransference

The group has also discussed specific papers by Hanna Segal, Betty Joseph, John Steiner, Ron Britton and Edna O’Shaughnessy, among others.

In the future there are plans to invite guest speakers to present a paper to the group, alongside the clinical work discussion.

The group

The group consists of 10 people who are all either candidates or members of the International Psychoanalytical Association. The participants have attended every weekend to date – so far a total of seven weekends. One member travels from Moscow and another from Belarus. A powerful, creative group has developed that is seriously committed to developing their theoretical and clinical practice of Kleinian ideas. All the participants are in private practice as there are no public psychotherapy posts in St Petersburg. They have each presented case material in fine detail and are open to considering constructively ways of thinking about their work.

The link person in St Petersburg, Manana Achba, has been invaluable. She has provided a reliable structure whereby teaching and discussion have been consistent and boundaried. Having the same translator throughout all the meetings so far has also provided consistency.

In the first year the seminars were funded by the group itself, with additional support from the Melanie Klein Trust since June 2014.