Sigmund Freud Lecture

The Sigmund Freud Foundation invites to the annual Sigmund Freud Lecture on the occasion of Sigmund Freud's birthday on 6 May.

2016 - XLIII. Sigmund Freud Lecture

Stefano Bolognini: The Humanizing Function of Contemporary Psychoanalytic Empathy

Saturday, 21 May 2016, 11 a.m. at Billrothhaus. Lecture in English

Stefano Bolognini
Stefano Bolognini

Gesellschaft der Ärzte in Wien, Billrothhaus
Frankgasse 8, 1090 Wien

Admission free, open seating

An event by the Sigmund Freud Foundation

Introduction: Gohar Homayounpour

In common language the word “empathy” evokes some superficial mix of sweet tenderness, benevolence a priori, friendly support and no interpretive penetration for disclosing the unconscious level of the psychic reality. In psychoanalysis “empathy” means something profoundly different. This paper emphasizes the difference between normal human empathy and psychoanalytic empathy, which is a much more complex phenomenon.

“True empathy is a condition of conscious and preconscious contact characterized by separateness, complexity and a linked structure, a wide perceptual spectrum including every colour in the emotional palette, from the lightest to the darkest; above all, it constitutes a progressive shared and deep contact with the complementarity of the object, with the other's defensive ego and split off parts no less than with his ego-syntonic subjectivity”(Bolognini, 1997).

Through three short clinical examples, the author will provide the audience with a lively and shareable experience of the depth, complexity and partial unpredictability of psychoanalytic empathy: something that cannot be planned, but that has to be recognized and appreciated as one of the most important and effective events that can change an analytic process and, consequently, the destiny of a patient’s life.

Stefano Bolognini; Doctor in Medicine and psychiatrist, training and supervising analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society. He is the President of the International Psychoanalytical Association, after having been IPA Board Representative and chair of several IPA committees. Stefano Bolognini is a former President of the Bologna Psychoanalytic Center, former President of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society. For 10 years (2002-2012) he was member of the European Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is the author of several books, participates regularly in radio and television debates and writes for main Italian newspapers and magazines.

Gohar Homayounpour was educated in Canada and the United States. She now lives and works in Tehran. Homayounpour is training and supervising psychoanalyst of the Freudian Group of Tehran, where she is founder and director. Lecturer at ShahidBeheshti University, Tehran. Her recent book Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran, 2012, won the Gradiva award and it has been translated into several languages. Homayounpour is a member of the advisory board at the Sigmund Freud Foundation in Vienna, the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) and the International research group Geographies of Psychoanalysis. 

Uniqa Logo

Partner of the Sigmund Freud Lecture 2016


2015 - XLII. Sigmund Freud Lecture

Slavoj Zizek: Theology, Negativity, And the Death-Drive

Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 4:00 p.m. Burgtheater Wien

Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek

Tickets (8 EUR) available via and at all Bundestheater ticket offices

Welcome notes by Monika Pessler (Sigmund Freud Museum) and Karin Bergmann (Burgtheater Wien)

Introduction: Victor Mazin

Rowan Williams located the root of religious experience into our (human) “capacity for perversity, addictions, self-sacrifice, self-destruction and a whole range of ‘rationally’ indefensible behaviors” – that is, the very dimension of irreducible self-sabotaging, of the “pursuit of unhappiness” –,  and does this capacity not belong into the domain of the death-drive, of the weird overlapping between negativity and inertia that we encounter in a paradigmatic way in Hamlet? Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius when he sees him praying since if he were to do it at that moment, he would not strike at more than what is here, at that X that makes Claudius a king. This is also a problem – maybe even the problem - of revolutionaries: how not only to overturn power, but strike at what is more than mere power as a fact, and thus preventing that the ancient regime will return in a new guise? It is this uncertainty which propels Hamlet to procrastinate the act (of revenge), i.e., to use Hegel’s term, to tarry with the negative. Negativity is usually thought of as a dynamic entity consisting of struggles, cuts, and other modes of negation, but, as Andrew Cutrofello pointed out, what makes Hamlet a unique figure is that it stands for tarrying with the negative: Hamlet treats negativity itself as an expression of the melancholic inertia of being. Perhaps, then, the first move of what one can call “materialist theology” should be to discern this dimension of death-drive in divinity itself.

Slavoj Zizek

In Co-operation with the Burgtheater Wien

Uniqa Logo

Partner of the Sigmund Freud Lecture 2015

Upcoming events
February 2017
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28          
« Jan   Mar »
Currently open!

Open every day (Monday – Sunday)
10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.



Berggasse 19
1090 Vienna


U2 Schottentor, U4 Roßauer Lände


D Schlickgasse, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42 Schwarzspanierstraße


40 A Berggasse