Holding and being held in mind

Leading Edges: Analytical Psychology

A Series of Talks Initiated by Dr. Gottfried M. Heuer in 2010

Tuesday 18 November 2014 
Starting at 8.15pm

An exploration of the theme of forgetting and ‘keeping in mind’ in the analytic journey drawing on Homer’s Odyssey.


Speaker: Deirdre Johnson


It is well attested that the journey of return in stories, myth and film symbolises that crucial point in a person’s journey of individuation when the necessary demands of the ego give way to the dictates of the total psyche. Homer’s Odyssey provides us with a wonderful example of this. Yet we also find throughout the poem, and central to it, is the theme of the hero’s need to remember. Whether beset by the seductions of the goddess Calypso, the lure of the siren song, or the self-soothings of the Lotus Eaters, it remains imperative that Odysseus not forget for long who he is, where he comes from, and where it is he is struggling to reach. Remembering Ithaca can therefore be seen as a very apt symbol for the importance of keeping in mind the sense of the journey in analysis or psychotherapy and indeed in life.


I will explore themes of forgetting and remembering within our work with others. There is a paradoxical kind of remembering that is a remembering of what one is yet to become. Using ‘The Odyssey’ I will look at what might be the lures that can make a patient forget the ‘self’ and the purpose of the journey and what various helpful factors can bring it again to mind. I will explore how a form of keeping the journey in mind by the analyst or psychotherapist on behalf of the patient and a ‘remembering’ of who they have the potential to be can help the latter in the process of becoming.


I will draw on clinical material and examples from ordinary life to illustrate my theme.


Please note: your enjoyment of this presentation will be much enhanced by a reading (or re-reading!) of Homer’s epic. I can recommend an excellent modern verse translation below:-

The Odyssey (Penguin Classics): Amazon.co.uk: Homer, Bernard Knox, Robert Fagles: Books


Biography::Deirdre Johnson qualified with the Association of Jungian Analysts (IAAP) and has had her own practice for over thirty years. She has been the keynote speaker at conferences both in the UK and internationally, and her book on relationships: 'Love: Bondage or Liberation?' is published by Karnac's.


  • Image: Odysseus and the Sirens

This meeting is open to practising analysts, psychotherapists and trainees.

Tickets £12

To Book Email:

AJA Tel:  020 7794 8711 – email: aja@dircon.co.uk