Rosine Perelberg

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Rosine Perelberg
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Rosine Jozef Perelberg

(1951-04-21) April 21, 1951 (age 72)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences
  • Master’s degree in Social Anthropology
  • PhD
Alma mater
  • Federal University
  • University of London
OrganizationBritish Psychoanalytical Society

Rosine Jozef Perelberg, PhD, is a Brazilian-born British psychoanalyst and current President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. She is an active presence in modern psychoanalysis and currently works in private practice in London. As of 2020, she has written 3 and edited 9 books, and has published over 100 papers, many of which have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Finish and German.[1]

Perelberg is a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association, Corresponding Member of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris, and one of the Founding Members of the Institute of Family Therapy, London. She is Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS) at University College, London (UCL).


Perelberg began her university career in 1960s Brazil. During her Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, she read Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx in tandem and found their works to be seminal keystones in her critical thinking, well into her future career. Her succeeding Master’s degree in Social Anthropology found her on the frontline, working within the community and conducting her research through patient study. In 1976 she was appointed as a lecturer in Social Anthropology by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. After completing her Master’s, Perelberg moved to London to do her PhD. Her doctorate is in Social Anthropology from The London School of Economics, University of London.[2]

Towards the end of her PhD, Perelberg worked with anorexia nervosa patients at Maudsley Hospital, before moving into a role as Senior Psychotherapist and Family Therapist at the Marlborough Family Service, where she worked between 1981 and 1991.

In 1991, Perelberg was the co-recipient of the Sacerdoti Prize at the International Psychoanalytic Association Congress, in Buenos Aires.[3]

For 18 years, between 1997 and 2016, Perelberg was the coordinator of the Freud Seminars as part of the MSc in Psychoanalytic Theory at UCL, as well as those on Sexuality.[4] Between 2011 and 2012, she was also the Professorial Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London.

Perelberg continues to be active in the field of Psychoanalysis, both in the U.K. and internationally. Between 1997 and 2012, she convened the British-French Colloquium on Sexuality, alongside Monique Cournut and Chantal Lechartier-Atlan from the Société Psychanalytique de Paris, which took place alternately in London and Paris. She presented the Karl Abraham Memorial Lecture in Berlin in 2009, and in 2011 she presented the keynote paper to the Annual DPG (Deutsche Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft) Congress in Dusseldorf. Perelberg was Visiting Professor at the San Francisco Centre for Psychoanalysis in 2012. In 2014 she was the International Psychoanalytic Association visitor for the Uruguay Psychoanalytic Association. In 2017 she was the keynote speaker for the Fenichel’s Legacy Conference in Prague.[5]

Perelberg now works in private practice, in London. She continues her engagement with students undertaking their Masters and Doctoral Studies in Psychoanalytic Theory in the Psychoanalysis Unit at PALS at UCL. Alongside her duties as the President of the British Psychoanalytical Society, Perelberg continues to mentor students, host seminars, and publish works. Her latest book, Sexuality, Excess, and Representation (Routledge), was published in 2019, with the one before it, Psychic Bisexuality: A British-French Dialogue (Routledge, 2016) being awarded winner of the American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis Edited Book Prize for 2019.[6]

Key concepts

A Core Phantasy in Violence

Psychoanalytic Understanding of Violence and Suicide (1999)[7] was based on at least 10 years' work with a group of young adults. Perelberg describes how she began to identify, in the course of treating a violent young man, a narrative that expressed an unconscious phantasy, a personal myth — namely, that he was born of violent intercourse between his mother and himself; no father was involved in his conception. This phantasy had attained the status of belief. The patient’s view of the primal scene was that it was particularly violent and destructive. This core phantasy was expressed in his acts of violence. The violent act tells a story — a personal myth of creation — and contains both pre-oedipal and distorted oedipal theories. Perelberg also discusses issues of technique in the treatment of violent patients. They need to feel they can terrorize their analyst in order to feel safe in the consulting room. Interpretations that centre on this experience —which are ultimately based on the analyst’s countertransference — have an important impact on the patient; in the case of Perelberg’s patient, they paved the way for violence to give way to depressive feelings.

Excess, Trauma and Helplessness[8]

André Green suggests, in On Private Madness, that if dreams provide a paradigm for the topographical model of the mind, enactments in the analytic process are the paradigm for the structural model, governed by the compulsion to repeat that which has not reached representation. What is traumatic is unabsorbable by representation and inaccessible to symbolization.[9]

In several of her papers, Perelberg underscores the implications for a theory of technique: the analyst’s role is not one of interpreting what ‘is already there’ in the mind of the patient but, rather, one of inaugurating the symbolic domain and the world of representations.[10] The process of elaboration and working through in an analysis takes place through a complex pathway of bringing together affect, representation, sensorial and somatic experiences, dreams, associations, and enactments as they are gathered and given meaning après-coup through analytic work.

In the media



  1. Perelberg, Rosine. "Authors and Theorists". British Psychoanalytical Society: Institute of Psychoanalysis.
  2. "MPhil and PhD theses submitted in the Department of Anthropology since 1927, compiled from departmental records". LSE Anthropology Department.
  3. "IPA prizes archive". International Psychoanalytical Association.
  4. "List of Perelberg's past events". UCL staff page.
  5. Perelberg, Rosine. "Rosine Perelberg Biography". Psychoanalysis Unit (PALS), UCL.
  6. "American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize: 2019 Winners". American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Yakeley, Jessica (18 December 2009). Violence: Psychoanalytic Perspectives: The Role of Phantasy (Reference to said work). pp. 19–20. ISBN 9780230364479.
  8. Perelberg, Rosine. "Key concepts". Rosine Jozef Perelberg, PhD.
  9. Green, André (1986). "The Borderline Concept". On Private Madness. London: Hogarth Press and The Institute of Psychoanalysis. pp. 60–83.
  10. Perelberg, Rosine (1997). Female Experience: Four Generations of British Women Psychoanalysts on Work. The Anna Freud Centre. p. 73.

External links

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