Autism and the Voice 20 MayMay 2023 10:00am - 01:00pm

Seminar w/Leon Brenner (Berlin) explores autism and a psychoanalytic approach to this developing area. Respondent Geraldine McLoughlin.


In this seminar, Leon will examine the aetiology of autism from a psycholinguistic standpoint, paying special attention to the autistic relationship with the voice. Lacan's psychoanalytic teachings on the voice and its role in establishing enunciative position will be explored in depth and shed light on the phenomenon of autistic individuals demonstrating clear language proficiency but not engaging in its enunciation. The presentation will cover a range of psychoanalytic, philosophical, and anthropological approaches to autism, with the aim of providing a comprehensive understanding of this complex mode-of-being. While prior reading is not required, the talk promises to provide an insightful and nuanced exploration of the topic. Geraldine McLoughlin (APPI) will offer a response to Leon's talk, after which there will be Q&A and an audience discussion. Bios are listed below.

The seminar is spread over 3 hours with time for Leon's talk, Geraldine's response, a discussion with the audience and a break in which tea/coffee will be provided.


Leon S. Brenner (Ph.D.) is a psychoanalytic theorist and psychological counsellor from Berlin. His work draws from the Freudian and Lacanian traditions of psychoanalysis, and his interest lies in the understanding of the relationship between culture and psychopathology. His book The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language (2020), is a bestseller in psychology in Springer publishing in 2021. He is currently a research fellow at the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin and the Hans Kilian und Lotte Köhler Centrum (KKC) at the Ruhr Universität Bochum.


Geraldine McLoughlin is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Her interest in psychoanalysis developed in a reading group at TCD in the 1980’s and she moved to Paris to pursue a Lacanian analysis. During that time, she attended seminars held by Derrida, Kristeva and other French intellectuals. She has worked in clinical practice for over 30 years, much of it with the Irish public health service, the HSE, with a specific focus on working with adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse. In 2010, she completed a master’s thesis entitled “In the Shadow of the Law: Institutional Abuse Victims’ Search for Truth and Justice” as part fulfilment for an LLM in International Human Rights Law. Her clinical work has also included the provision of Organisational Role Analysis to senior personnel with a focus on unconscious processes which influence working group relationships, and their relatedness to the organisation’s objectives. Her current interests include on-going training in Restorative Justice Mechanisms, and working with researchers in the field of Human Rights on the merits of the provision of trauma informed therapy to people who have endured human rights violations in conflict situations.

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