“The task of relating a singular suffering to a context in the world is a great task, one in which psychoanalysis and philosophy must always accompany each other.” Zeynep Direk, Professor of Philosophy, Galatasaray University, Istanbul.

“Interdisciplinary in the best way it allows philosophy to confront psychoanalysis and it uses psychoanalysis in new, inventive ways as a result of that encounter.”  Tina Chanter, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, Chicago.

Practitioners “can think about people’s lived experiences as clinicians and also rigorously use both philosophical and psychoanalytic work to examine the analytic process.” Lennox K. Thomas, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, British Association of Psychotherapists, Nafsiyat, UK.


These reflections on the book Questioning Identities; Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice (Karnac 2010) by Mary Lynne Ellis and Noreen O’Connor, the initiators of PhilosPsyche, highlight the crucial importance of an encounter between the disciplines of philosophy and psychoanalysis, both for philosophy and for psychoanalytic theorizing and practices.

As analysts and philosophers we have been developing theorizing and practices which, in our view, allow for “more nuanced, subtle, and complex ways of listening/responding…” (Ellis and O’Connor, 2010, p. xi). The theorizing of twentieth-century European philosophers such as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, and Butler, in relation to language, time, and embodiment, can expand our psychoanalytic understanding of conscious/unconscious experiences of our intersubjectivities. This has crucial ethical implications for our clinical practices as analysts.

We are concerned with the specificity of individuals’ descriptions of their subjectivities in the context of past, present, and future time. Our focus is on the uniqueness of individuals’ lived conscious/unconscious experiences within their socio-historical contexts. We challenge dualistic interpretations of mind/body, thinking/feeling, imagination/reason and rigorously question the status of claims of ‘normal/abnormal’ and ‘natural/unnatural’.

We emphasize the “critical importance in analysis of an original poiesis of the patient’s own language, the articulation verbally and non-verbally of the dynamism of their lived relationships in the world” (see Questioning Identities; Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice, 2010, pp. xv-xvi). In the analytical relationship the engagement between patient and analyst is generative of, in Wittgensteinian terms, language as a new form of life.

PhilosPsyche is engaged with developing new critical thinking in the following ways:

• Publishing articles, chapters, books
• Offering seminars, lectures, study days, and workshops
• Providing clinical supervision

CONTACT: For further information, please contact

Noreen O’Connor:

Mary Lynne Ellis:

See also