Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

Psychologists Get to Grips with Freud

30 September 2016

On 21st September, eleven eager Psychology A Level students had the opportunity to travel to London with their Psychology teachers, Ms Graham and Mrs Parsons. The party left Birmingham New Street Station at 9:30am en-route to Euston and had roughly an hour and a half to relax and discuss the day's exciting activities ahead.

The first experience was exploring Sigmund Freud’s home, preserved as a museum. The girls had familiarised themselves with his work last year and were animated at the notion of a more in-depth encounter; the museum didn’t disappoint. It’s located in Maresfields Gardens, Hampstead, a particularly beautiful residential area, but it was the significance of venturing into the birthplace of psychoanalysis that contained all the wonder.  The girls were able to see Freud’s study room, where the ‘talking cure’ was born, his famous couch and his collection of antiquities. It was also the room in which Freud died, providing a more intimate feel to the room. Our lovely tour guide, Amelia, talked the students through Freud’s theories and his personal experiences, educating the students on facts absent in textbooks. Freud’s beloved rose garden was also explored after watching a video based on Freud’s life, offering further elaborations on Amelia’s points.

The party then took the underground tube to Covent Gardens, where we split into groups to eat lunch and further explore the city of London, enjoying the various street acts and the architecture. Before long, it was time for the next activity: 'Bedlam'. Bedlam was a notorious asylum in London, but rather than visiting such an institution, the party visited an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. The exhibition followed the rise and fall of the mental asylum and how it shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. The asylum was reimagined through recordings of discussions between doctors and patients, presented alongside works of artists inspired by medical records. The girls found it had the perfect balance in atmosphere; mildly disturbing to be representative of the asylum, yet modern and artistic to fit the building.

Perhaps the last part of their day was the most enjoyable, a group trip to Pizza Express. At Edgbaston High School, there's a strong sense of community: Psychology lessons have always been good fun, as the teachers and the students get along well, thus the opportunity to gorge on pizza and discuss the day’s adventures was much appreciated. Alas, after a long, fun, yet educational day, the group party boarded an evening train back home to Birmingham.

Jennifer Henery, Year 13

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