A reading group to discuss the “New Project for a Scientific Psychology”
with Mark Solms
The Israeli Neuropsychoanalytic Society invites you to join
Group Coordinator: Ms Irith Barzel-Raveh
Founder and Chairperson of the Israeli Neuropsychoanalytic Society
Board member of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society
Teaching Assistant: Ms Tali Lavi
The 12 meetings will be held on the 1st Sunday of each month
at 7 p.m. Cape Town time (GMT +2), beginning June 6th, 2021 (open for one year).
Each session will be three hours long.
The participation fee is 30 USD per meeting (a total of 360 USD).
To register, please click here.
(The first reading material will be sent once payment has been made).
For queries, please email Irith Barzel-Raveh at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freud’s ‘Project for a Scientific Psychology’ (1895) was the foundational text for the whole of what became known as metapsychology – Freud’s basic theory of the functional dynamics of the mind – and a sophisticated model of the neural mechanisms by which those dynamics come about. In other words, the ‘Project’ (as it came to be abbreviated) was the first attempt – Freud’s own attempt – to achieve what the interdisciplinary endeavor called Neuropsychoanalysis is trying to achieve today, thus making the ‘Project’ the Rosetta Stone of the field.
The New Project was born of Professor Solms, the founder of Neuropsychoanalysis. In his own words:
“As soon as I found the opportunity, one long weekend in 1984, I sat down with the ‘Project’ on one side of my desk and my trusted neuropsychology textbook (Luria, 1980) on the other, and then I tried in vain to translate Freud’s opaque terms and concepts into their presumptive contemporary equivalents. For three days I did nothing else. I was completely spellbound, but ultimately frustrated; put simply, too much was unknown. I concluded that what was required was not a theoretical exercise but rather a comprehensive programme of interdisciplinary, experimental and clinical research. I have spent the rest of my working life trying to get that research programme off the ground.
My great good fortune in the intervening decades between then and now was to have opportunities to work with, and thereby closely learn from, two outstanding scientific pioneers of our time, first, the affective neuroscientist Prof. Jaak Panksepp, and second, the computational neuroscientist Prof. Karl Friston. The integrative achievements of these two great minds, far more than my own clinico-anatomical research efforts, brought me to the present juncture, where I believe the moment has come for us to attempt what Merton Gill declared impossible and undesirable when I was still a student: to update Freud’s ‘Project’ in such a way that it can once again perform its historic role as the Rosetta Stone of our field.“
As a kind of introduction, Professor Solms added from personal discussion with Maggie Zellner:
“In my view, the value of the piece (and the full treatment you are elaborating elsewhere) is the articulation of an infrastructure of a truly neuropsychoanalytic model of the mind and brain. This model allows for theoreticians, clinicians, and researchers to account for the complex interactions between cognition and emotion; impulse and regulation; consciousness and unconscious processes; genetics and experience; etc. All of this is meaningful to clinicians who work with these dynamics in everyday work. I think if you can articulate that, it may encourage a few more readers to wade into the dense piece – it really opens up after a few pages, and I think any readers who can get into the middle and end sections will find it thrilling.“
(Maggie Zellner, personal communication)
1. We will read Freud’s paper: PROJECT FOR SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY with its new version, as was revised by Professor Mark Solms, in a neuropsychoanalytic formulation.
2. We will start with another paper written by Prof. Solms: Revision of Drive Theory. We will then work on Freud’s Project and Solms’s New Project, side by side.
3. When one joins the group s/he will pay $30 a month($360 a year), and will be committed for one year (until May 2022).
Format of the meetings:
At each meeting a portion of text will be chosen, members of the group will be instructed to read it, and then raise their questions as we follow the text. We will start with reading a basic paper on a revision of drive theory, and the reformulated Project will follow. Since it is the first international reading group, we will organize and reorganize the structure of the meetings together. However, to begin with, the first part of each meeting will be reading/discussing together and raising questions about the parts we read. The second part will be discussion that clarifies how the reading is related to the work of members of the group. The third part will involve reflection on what was achieved, what was learnt (each member from his/her own experience), and what is needed to better the reading, understanding, etc.