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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Nov 17, 2019

“The idea was that what we called  ‘phantastic objects’ get created sometimes in the mind of investors, which promise much more than just money; it is of course money, but they are ‘phantastic objects’ in the sense that Melanie Klein or someone like that might mean them, things that if you possess are like magic…”


Description: Dr. Steven Rolfe welcomes David Tuckett from London. David is a fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis as well as a Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty at UCL in the Faculty of Brain Sciences. As an undergraduate, he studied economics, politics, and sociology at the University of Cambridge. During this time he became very interested in psychoanalysis and went on to train as an analyst a few years after graduating. He qualified with the British Psychoanalytic Society in 1977. Throughout his career Professor, Tuckett has worked part-time in private clinical practice while also conducting research in the fields of psychology, medicine, the social sciences, and more recently economics. . He is a former President of the European Psychoanalytic Federation, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Principal of the Health Education Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge. In 2007, Professor Tuckett won the Sigourney Award for distinguished contributions to the field of psychoanalysis. In 2011, he published his book Minding the Markets: An Emotional Finance View of Financial Instability and his current book ( in press) is The Role of Conviction and Narrative in Decision-Making Under Radical Uncertainty.


In this conversation, David Tuckett engages in a conversation about his work; his pluralistic approach to analysis, his commitment to identifying the core ideas of psychoanalysis, and his application of a psychoanalytic perspective to behavioral finance and decision making.   


Key takeaways:

[4:51] David Tuckett talks about his work focused on pluralism.

[11:02] David Tuckett’s work in providing a method to really see what different analysts do.

[13:48] When the focus is on the analyst rather than the patient.

[14:28] What are the core ideas about what an analyst is?

[16:09] The effort for formalizing pluralism.

[17:15] The importance of holding a scientific debate to make judgments in the psychoanalytic field.

[19:58] David Tuckett shares his thoughts about the core ideas of psychoanalysis.

[25:15] The use of psychoanalytic core ideas in economics.

[31:54] David Tuckett presents the concept of emotional finances.

[34:45] Examples of consulting with organizations and institutions.

[39:45] How developing a conviction narrative is applied to the investing field.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:

Rickard Nyman, Sujit Kapadia, David Tuckett, David Gregory, Paul Ormerod and Robert Smith (2018) News and narratives in financial systems: Exploiting big data for systemic risk assessment. Bank of England Staff Working Paper No. 704


David Tuckett & Milena Nikolic, M (2017) The Role of Conviction and Narrative in Decision Making under Radical Uncertainty. Theory and Psychology. 27 issue: 4, page(s): 501-523


Kimberly Chong & David Tuckett (2015). Constructing conviction through action and narrative: how money managers manage uncertainty and the consequence for financial market functioning. Socio-Economic Review, 13 (2), 309-330. doi:10.1093/ser/mwu020


David Tuckett (2011) Inside and Outside the Window: Some fundamental elements in the theory of psychoanalytic technique. Int. J. Psychoanal. Dec; 92(6):1367-90

David Tuckett (2011) Minding the Markets: An Emotional Finance View of Financial Instability. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan


David Tuckett and Richard J Taffler (2008) Phantastic Objects and the financial market’s sense of reality: A psychoanalytic contribution to the understanding of stock market instability. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 89 (2), 389-412


David Tuckett, Roberto Basile, Dana Birksted Breen, Tomas Bohm, Paul Denis, Antonino Ferro, Helmut Hinz, Arne Jemstedt, Paola Mariotti, and Johan Schubert (2008) Psychoanalysis Comparable and Incomparable The evolution of a method to describe and compare psychoanalytic approaches.  New Library of Psychoanalysis, London: Routledge.


David Tuckett (2005) Does Anything Go? Towards a framework for the more transparent assessment of psychoanalytic competence. Joint winner IPA Training Today Award, 2003. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis: 86: 31-49.