‘Holism in Psychotherapy: some historical, philosophical, and practical observations’

article-2508704-1977DF4700000578-99_634x430On Friday 13 July Principal Investigator Professor Roderick Main gave a presentation on ‘Holism in psychotherapy: some historical, philosophical, and practical observations’ at the University of Essex and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s fourth joint annual research conference, on the theme of ‘Mental health research for the 21st century: shaping evidence, policy and practice’, The Tavistock Centre, London.  

The presentation outlined the ‘“One World”: logical and ethical implications of holism’ project, focusing on its potential relevance for psychotherapy; reviewed some definitions and characterisations of holism; offered observations on the history of holism, including its cultural reception; noted some of the metaphysical and ethical issues associated with holism; and finally discussed the relevance of holism for psychotherapy and in particular psychoanalysis and analytical psychology, suggesting that forms of ‘critical holism’ may be useful for preventing the dominance of narrow models of mental health. 


Forthcoming publications from the Holism project:

Jung and Deleuze: Enchanted openings to the Other: a philosophical contribution

(By Christian McMillan)

To be published as part of a special issue in the International Journal of Jungian Studies (December 2018)

(Further details can be found under ‘Publications’ from the drop-down menu)

Jung and Aesthetics” (Jung on Art) in Philosophizing Jung (ed. Dr. Jon Mills)

(By Christian McMillan)

To be published as part of an edited volume with Routledge in the Philosophy and Psychoanalysis Book Series (late 2018)

(Further details can be found under ‘Publications’ from the drop-down menu)



Edited by

Roderick Main, David Henderson, and Christian McMillan

(Intended publisher – Routledge, 2019)

For further details of the chapters to be included in the volume please follow the link below.

Jung, Deleuze and the Problematic Whole – Contents, chapter outlines and biographical details



Edited by

Christian McMillan, Roderick Main and David Henderson

(Intended publisher – Routledge, 2019)

For further details of the chapters to be included in the volume please follow the link below.

Holism: Possibilities and Problems – Contents, chapter outlines and biographical details

9th June 2018 – Clinical and Social Praxis of Jungian Psychoanalysis

Dr. David Henderson (Co-Investigator) gave a report on the Holism project in Seville, Spain to the International Society for the Development of Jungian Psychoanalysis. The details of this event can be accessed via the links below.

Jornada Praxis Psicoanalisis Junguiano – 9th June 2018


‘Mind, Matter, and the New Real’

Esalen-Hot-Springs-Amanda-MarsalisCentre for Theory and Research, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

From 3 to 7 December 2017 Professor Roderick Main attended an international invitational symposium on ‘Mind, Matter, and the New Real’ at the Centre for Theory and Research, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California, where he presented a paper titled:

Egoless awareness, numinous matter, and the scope of C. G. Jung’s holism.  

The aim of this presentation was to demonstrate, contra widespread scholarly opinion, that Jung’s thoroughgoing holism extended, in his later thought, to encompassing even some of the further reaches of introvertive mystical experience, while the limitations he nevertheless placed on such experience can also be understood holistically as expressing his implicitly panentheistic metaphysics.

The organisation hosting this symposium, the Esalen Institute, has been one of the world’s most influential centres of holistic theory and practice for over fifty years (see https://www.esalen.org/ctr).

Holism and Analytic Training

On Saturday, 25th November a symposium on Holism and Analytic training was held at the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University. The symposium was held in conjunction with the AHRC funded project, ‘One-World’: Logical and ethical implications of holism. Dr. David Henderson, Co-Investigator on the project, hosted the symposium. The principal discussants were Dr. Werner Prall (Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex; Guild of Psychotherapists) and George Bright (Society of Analytical Psychology). The purpose of the symposium was to examine the significance of holistic thought within the field of psychotherapy. An intended outcome of the project has been to facilitate a better understanding of the concepts of the whole that can underpin holism, and of the ethical implications of the concepts, which could contribute to debates about efficacy and funding, providing an overall more nuanced understanding of holistic approaches to psychotherapy. During the morning session participants focused on ‘What are we trying to teach,’ a discussion of the curriculum of analytic training. In the afternoon session they discussed ‘How much is enough,’ a consideration of what qualities and accomplishments are expected of a candidate at the end of training. These questions provided a platform for critical discussion among representatives from training committees of the following organisations: Guild of Psychotherapists, Westminster Pastoral Foundation, Association of Jungian Analysts, West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy, Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy, Netherlands Association of Analytical Psychologists, and Association of independent Psychotherapist..

(Christian McMillan, Research Officer)

Holism: possibilities and problems conference (University of Essex) – review

(The following review appeared in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies newsletter, October 2017)

From Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September 2017 the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies hosted an international interdisciplinary conference on ‘Holism: Possibilities and Problems’, which was part of the ‘“One world”: logical and ethical implications of holism’ project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  The conference attracted 49 speakers from at least 16 countries (Australia, China, Japan, India, USA, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Romania, Greece, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, and the UK).  The speakers included both established and emerging scholars and practitioners, who, reflecting the inherently interdisciplinary nature of holism, represented a wide range of disciplinary perspectives: ecology, education, history, literature, medicine, philosophy, physics, poetry, psychology, psychosocial and psychoanalytic studies, psychotherapy and counselling, theology and religion, and refugee studies, among others.  The conference included, on the Friday evening, a public talk, reading, and discussion by the internationally acclaimed poet Richard Berengarten (see photo).  The full conference programme can still be viewed at: https://oneworldprojectholism.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/panel-distribution-holism-conference-for-publication.pdf.

The Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies was well represented by current and former graduate students and members of permanent and visiting staff, including Dr David HendersonDr Mathew MatherDr Valeria MussoDr Christina SjostromDr James AnslowBob LanganDavid Guy,Orsi LukacsXiao You (‘Anais’)Camilla GiamboniniDr Christian McMillanProfessor Roderick MainDr Nasir Warfa, and Professor Megumi Yama.

For further details of the conference including conference feedback and evaluation follow the link below:


Roderick Main
David Henderson
Christian McMillan
R. Berengarten 1
Richard Berengarten








CHANGING: making poetry with and through the Yijing

Richard Berengarten (Friday 8th September, University of Essex)

Publicity details: Public Talk – Richard Berengarten (Friday 8th September, The University of Essex)

Berengarten - Book cover - Changing


Entry to the lecture is free but you will need to book a ticket:


Eventbrite booking page


Those already registered for the Holism conference on the Friday do not need to register additionally for Richard’s talk.