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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Dancing with Orthodoxy: The Discovery of Socio-Somatic Movement

The envious friends and colleagues of those who attend professional conferences sometimes accuse delegates that attending such conferences is simply an excuse to have a good time, and that the professional value of such conferences is of secondary importance to the delegate. This paper debunks such critical and envious views through demonstrating that events such as conference dinner/dances at least in the case of psychoanalytic conferences are an essential part of the professional conference experience. The specific mechanism by which an otherwise social and frivolous event becomes an essential element in the life of the conference is the newly discovered phenomenon of Socio-Somatic Movement A brief account is given of the discovery of Socio-Somatic Movement, some of its key elements are outlined and parallels are drawn between Socio-Somatic Movement and some other forms and norms that are present in traditional Socio-Analytic and perhaps group psychoanalytic conferences, such as Social Dreaming (Lawrence, 1998). The core hypothesis of this paper is that Socio Somatic Movement allows and encourages group-level working through of unconscious elements such as jouissance, aggressive and libidinal impulses and Basic Assumptions (Bion, 1964; Lawrence, Bain, & Gould) in the conference group in a generative way, and can in fact result in a transformation of both conscious and unconscious core patterns in the conference group. So compelling is this argument that readers will no longer be tempted to feel even slight twinges of guilt as they bid their loved ones and colleagues adieu as the leave for their next psychoanalytic conference.