Bergamo, Italy

Making connections with the University of Bergamo and Milan Institute for Family Therapy

Dr Inga-Britt Krause reflects on her Visiting Professorship at the University of Bergamo in Italy.

I am currently on a Visiting Professorship at the Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Bergamo, Italy. My stay began on Sunday 1 October, and will continue until Tuesday 7 November 2023.

I am teaching on the university’s ‘Psychodynamic Theories within a curriculum of Clinical Psychology for Individuals, Families and Organizations’ course, which is delivered in English. I was invited by Professor Pietro Barbetta, with whom I have written a book and developed much of the thinking about New Materialist approaches which we teach on our professional doctorate in Advanced practice and research: systemic psychotherapy (M10).

During my stay, I have also been visiting the Milan Institute for Family Therapy, working with Pietro Barbetta’s team. Pietro, who was the Director of the Institute, has retired but continues to develop approaches to systemic psychotherapy inspired by the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. He has around him a group of students who are also interested in these contemporary developments.

This has been a wonderfully inspiring experience, and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. I teach several times a week for three hours, and then get to hang out with the students in this beautiful old city of Bergamo, trying different drinks and food. Many students are studying psychology, and we have a few systemic psychotherapy students too, and they are all eager to learn. On Fridays I join a packed family therapy clinic in Milan – a great opportunity to observe different ways of working.

There is no doubt that systemic approaches are slightly different in different contexts. Our Master’s degree students read different texts from the students here, so there is plenty of scope for inspiring each other. I have found that I have been able to bring our advanced thinking about difference generally, but particularly thinking about race, equity and culture, to the course here. As you would expect, different contexts predispose us to have different understandings of these concepts and how they are operationalised. However, it is clear we are all concerned with the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, and as I have been living here during the recent appalling events in Israel and Palestine, this has also been looming large as a frame of reference for how we live in the contemporary space.

On Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October, I delivered a keynote speech in the Fo.R.Me Centre in Bergamo, as part of a cycle of events, beginning in November 2023, in which anthropology will put its knowledge at the service of other disciplines. The centre works with migrant families and persons from migrant backgrounds. I drew on my book Culture and System in Family Therapy, and also on some more recent work I have carried out with my colleague Rukiya Jemmott.

I look forward to continuing to build on the connections made during my time here, and hope in turn to welcome colleagues and students to our community at the Tavistock and Portman in the near future.

Intrigued? Learn more.

Our one-of-a-kind professional doctorate, Advanced practice and research: systemic psychotherapy (M10), combines the principles of therapeutic practice with social science approaches – delivering a rich and interdisciplinary learning experience. Over four years, you’ll gain a deep understanding of systemic psychotherapy enquiry and pursue an original research project, while building future-facing, reflexive leadership abilities.

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