Breathing in psychoanalysis

Breathing in Psychoanalysis

Breathing in psychoanalysis

Event details




1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT

Map point

Hobrechtstrasse 66, Vorderhaus EG
Berlin, 12047

“Whatever the breath does, follow it.” In recent years this has become a familiar instruction: yoga is offered in gyms and workplaces, mindfulness is studied in randomised controlled trials, practiced (and tracked) with apps, while psychotherapeutic approaches to trauma that include the body are leaving the fringes for the mainstream. The techniques are simple, but they are riddled with nothing less than that oldest of conundrums: the relationship between mind and body. In this talk we will take a historical approach to the act of breathing, and follow the breath, “whatever it does,” through the various ways body and mind have been imagined across psychoanalytic theories.

We will follow breath from the “hysterical coughing” of the first patient of psychoanalysis, Anna O., Freud’s analysis of the Wolf Man’s exhalations, his broken intimacy with otolaryngologist Wilhelm Fliess (with whom he frequently discussed the nose and sexuality), through the young experimentalist Carl Jung’s attempt to measure respiration in light of The Interpretation of Dreams, the addendums and reinterpretations of Freud by Otto Rank and Otto Fenichel, the medicalized psychosomatics of Franz Alexander and, finally, Wilhelm Reich’s x-rays of the rigid, barely breathing diaphragms of the heavily armoured individual.

We want to fully understand both the promise and limitations of embodied approaches to wellbeing which, as this talk will suggest, depends on remembering how breath, body, and mind, interact in ways that continually result in new relationships among, as well as between, each of them.

Arthur Rose is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in English at Bristol University, where he is completing a project titled “Asbestos: A Matter of Time”. His publications include Literary Cynics: Borges, Beckett, Coetzee, Theories of History (with Michael J. Kelly) and Reading Breath in Literature (with Heine, Tsentourou, Saunders and Garratt).
Twitter: @eclecticpneumas
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Oriana Walker is a historian of medicine, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Humboldt University and the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge. She is at work on a manuscript entitled A History of Breathing.
More on Oriana:

A discounted price is suitable for students, unemployed, and/or recipients of social benefits.
Members of The Lab at Stillpoint Spaces Berlin have a separate discount on the price of the ticket. Being able to attend events on a discounted price is one of the benefits of the Lab Membership. Visit our Membership page for more information:

The entrance to The Lab of Stillpoint Spaces Berlin is directly from the street Hobrechtstraße 66. We kindly ask you to arrive at least 15 minutes before the official beginning of the lecture. Please, do not ring on any of the doorbells, as our colleagues might be having counselling sessions.

The views, opinions, and ethical values expressed by presenters, participants or any other individual in relation to this lecture are not those of Stillpoint Spaces Berlin. We intend to provide a space for an open dialogue between experts in the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis, and border disciplines, and the public. All employees of Stillpoint Spaces are bound by the ethical codes of their respective professions.

Jorge Chamorro:

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