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Islam and Psychoanalysis: Semantics of Resonance and Dissonance, Laila Al Attar

Thursday June 17th 2021

Islam and Psychoanalysis: Semantics of Resonance and Dissonance

Laila Al Attar.

This presentation is inspired by the book Islamic Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Islam. Cultural and clinical dialogues. The book which comprises eleven papers, offers different encounters with the identified “other”, namely Islam, looking at psychosocial perspectives, intercultural polemics, politicized ideas, as well as possible theoretical contributions of Islamic thought to psychoanalytic thinking. The aim seems to be to look for ways of relating to Islam and its different components from a third position rather than the oppressor oppressed perspective. Therefore, in this presentation, Laila would like to consider another perspective where psychoanalysis is the other and note the resonances and dissonances in the two camps’ perspectives of the human psyche. Laila will base her presentation on Chapter three of the book, “Representations of the Psyche and Its Dynamics in Islam” (Sebastiani, 2019) as well as the work of Mark Solms and Philip Stokoe’s book The Curiosity Drive.


The presentation will not aim to draw any conclusions but rather show that psychoanalysis, as a tool to explore the mind, is neither secular nor religious, rather a malleable instrument at the service of the willing. Laila is a psychodynamic Counsellor/Psychotherapist. She completed her MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy at Birkbeck College in 2019 and currently works in the NHS as a counsellor in an IAPT service.

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