Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation (unconscious psychological barriers)? - Seminar in 2016 and further discussions

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Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation (unconscious psychological barriers)? - Seminar at Stockholm WWW Aug 28, 2016 - recording available

Note by moderator: A related forum thread is this one which was called "Continuing the discussion - Of Faeces and Icebergs – Sanitation, Organizational Neurosis and Change":
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/71-beh...-neurosis-and-change

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Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation?
Seminar at Stockholm World Water Week
Aug 28, 2016 09.00-10.30 Lilla Teatern Folkets Hus
programme.worldwaterweek.org/event/5571



This event will explore the most often unconscious psychological barriers which hinder successful implementation of projects in the water and sanitation sector, failing to change deeply enrooted attitudes originating from early psychological development.
Freud, in his psychoanalytic theory, has described the importance of the oral and anal stages, which can be linked to water and sanitation respectively. These very early stages of development are later forgotten but remain crucial for the further development of one’s psycho-social personna and, if misunderstood or ignored, can affect the result of sanitation programs.
Compared to water supply, sanitation projects are confronted by a lot more taboos and unconscious reactions which often seriously hinder behavior change. There is also a deep contradiction in hygiene messages if one insists on the high risks related to fecal matter and simultaneously tries to convince people to use sludge or waste once it has been sanitized as a safe fertilizer.
The meeting will employ theoretical presentations and lively interaction with the audience to encourage participants to explore their conscious and unconscious beliefs related to wastewater and sanitation.

Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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Re: Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation? - Seminar at Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

Here attached is the brochure for the seminar and announcement of the SELFIE competition.


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Re: Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation? - Seminar at Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

Hi Arno--

I SO wish I could be a part of this session. I enjoyed reading the questions--very incisive. Will you share your slides and core content after Stockholm? I would be very curious to see. I look forward, at least, to seeing the selfies!

Thanks so much.
Shawn
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Re: Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation? - Seminar at Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

Arno,

Yeah! Agree with Shawn. So sorry to miss this!

Since the essential bodily function of defecation remains the last taboo in the USA, might we assume others are struggling with this? So important!

  • The Poop Project uses the arts to focus attention. Awesome success. Watch vids of Shawn in action.
  • In her TED talk Molly Winter spells out "The taboo secret to healthier plants and people." Join the nearly half million people who have watched it.
  • In PHLUSH's Public Toilet Advocacy Toolkit , the strategy tool "Engage the Community in the Conversation" starts with the long sad history of why it's so hard to talk toilets.
  • Yes, the word "sanitation" brings to mind a very diffuse, imprecise and unhelpful series of associations. That's why PHLUSH is about Public Hygiene.

    Yes, Freud’s oral-anal-phallic-genital stages when defined as a beauty-order-cleanliness model seem to work well.
    1. oral / beauty and water
    2. anal / order and sanitation
    3. genital / cleanliness and hygiene

    Carol McCreary
    Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
    1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

    Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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    Re: Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation? - Seminar at Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

    Not to worry. The session will be filmed and the video posted some days later.
    Regards

    Arno Rosemarin PhD
    Stockholm Environment Institute
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    Re: Sigmund Freud The missing link in water and sanitation? Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

    The recording from this seminar is now available here:

    YouTube Playlist www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0gMdVBup...u3aTabSBxA5wO_hna3Ti







    Agenda

    Moderator Cecilia Chatterjee-Martinsen, WaterAid Sweden

    Freud - the missing link? - Marc-André Bünzli, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

    VIDEO - Conscious vs the unconscious in WASH systemsThomas Rieger, Como-Consult (DE)

    A Dialogue Between a Man and his Poo - Valentin Post, WASTE (NL) and Marc-André Bünzli

    Towards a Holistic Perspective - Mind vs Intellect - Vijay Athreye, FINISH (India)

    Happy Toilets - WASH is all about behavior - Jack Sim, World Toilet Organisation (Singapore)

    Discussion and Wrap up

    This event explored the most often unconscious psychological barriers which hinder successful implementation of projects in the water and sanitation sector, failing to change deeply enrooted attitudes originating from early psychological development.

    Freud, in his psychoanalytic theory, has described the importance of the oral and anal stages, which can be linked to water and sanitation respectively. These very early stages of development are later forgotten but remain crucial for the further development of one’s psycho-social personna and, if misunderstood or ignored, can affect the result of sanitation programs.

    Compared to water supply, sanitation projects are confronted by a lot more taboos and unconscious reactions which often seriously hinder behavior change. There is also a deep contradiction in hygiene messages if one insists on the high risks related to fecal matter and simultaneously tries to convince people to use sludge or waste once it has been sanitized as a safe fertilizer.

    The meeting will employ theoretical presentations and lively interaction with the audience to encourage participants to explore their conscious and unconscious beliefs related to wastewater and sanitation.

    Arno Rosemarin PhD
    Stockholm Environment Institute
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.sei.org
    www.ecosanres.org
    Current project affiliation: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127
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    Re: Sigmund Freud The missing link in water and sanitation? Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

    About this seminar that you organized in Stockholm, Arno ("Sigmund Freud The missing link in water and sanitation?"), I've been trying to come to grips with it and have a few questions (after having viewed some of the filmed presentations).

    Is the name "Sigmund Freud" universally known so that it's clear what you mean by it in your seminar title? People can read up about Sigmung Freud on Wikipedia, of course, but even for me I actually find it unclear why his name should be mentioned in this way in a seminar title? Was there a specific reason for this? Isn't it perhaps a bit too "Europe centred"?

    Could you please provide also the powerpoint files and the direct link to that one movie shown, rather than only the filmed presentations? Clicking through the powerpoint files would give a quick impresseion of what this was all about.

    I looked at the movie that was shown and it didn't fully convince me. It talked about our psychological barriers that we're injected with as children when it comes to feces; it tried to explain that this is a main cause for lacking sanitation systems. I think though that you need to somehow look at the situation in different countries. How is it that in some countries the sanitation situation is better than in others? E.g. in Germany I would say that local government officials put equal amount of effort into cleaning up wastewater as they do in providing drinking water (is that because the concern for environmental protection is now very deeply routed in Germany?). If local government officials do not do that in the same way in some developing countries then other causes might be more important than this taboo issue.

    You might argue that with respect to reuse, the taboos are just as great in Europe as they are elsewhere. But I think people are quite willing to consider the facts, i.e. if people can be convinced that there is a need for it and that it can be done safely then they will accept it (e.g. sewage sludge reuse in agriculture used to be accepted in Germany until risks of soil contamination became more of an issue). Trouble is that the need is not always apparent in countries like Germany where we have ample rainwater (so less need to reuse water) and cheap fertilisers (so far - this may well change in future!).

    Could you elaborate on your thinking in this respect?

    Oh and what ever happend to the selfie competition that you had advertised above?

    Regards,
    Elisabeth


    P.S.
    For anyone interested in this topic, there is also this related forum thread which was called "Continuing the discussion - Of Faeces and Icebergs – Sanitation, Organizational Neurosis and Change":
    forum.susana.org/component/kunena/71-beh...-neurosis-and-change

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    Re: Sigmund Freud The missing link in water and sanitation? Stockholm World Water Week Aug 28, 2016

    Hi Elisabeth
    Correct that Freud reflects only part of the world's views and experiences in human psychology. The planning team made use of the "reputation" surrounding Freudian theories surrounding anal and oral development and related concepts surrounding "dirty" and "clean".

    I have uploaded here the two PPTs and linked to the two videos shown during the seminar.

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    Thomas Rieger, Como-Consult

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    Vijay Athreye, FINISH (India)


    Video 1 Of Feces and Introjects
    (by Borda and Como-Consult)


    Video 2 Meet Mr. Toilet
    (GE sponsored film on Jack Sim of WTO).



    The selfie competition didn't attract the contributions we expected. Could be the one we used for the seminar was all too encompassing. forum.susana.org/component/kunena/71-beh...ding-available#18803

    Arno Rosemarin PhD
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    Re: Sigmund Freud, the missing link in Water and Sanitation (unconscious psychological barriers)? - Seminar in 2016 and further discussions

    Here are two interesting references dealing with the history of human attitudes about excreta.

    1. Moore, Alison M. (8 November 2018). "Coprophagy in nineteenth-century psychiatry". Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease. 30 (sup1): 1535737. doi:10.1080/16512235.2018.1535737. PMC 6225515. PMID 30425610. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225515/#CIT0070
    2. ^ Moore, Alison M (2018-07-05). "Historicizing the Modern EuropeanExcremental World-View". Advanced Research in Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 10 (1). juniperpublishers.com/argh/ARGH.MS.ID.555777.php

    These have come to our attention through Elisabeth von Muench's Wikipedia work. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feces#Feelings_of_disgust

    Back in the 1870s, Austrian psychiatrists were convinced that caprophagia (consumption of faeces) by mental patients, caused mental illness. That faeces was seen as an important ingredient in medical remedies already during the period from ancient Egypt (1550 BC) to the 1800s AD was quickly forgotten with the new age of psychiatry leading to Freud and beyond. In deed, the development of cities, introduction of water-based sanitation and spread of waterborne diseases, all led to general negative attitudes about human excreta. And for good reason one might conclude. Mixing the excreta from all individuals of a city will most definitely create high risks of spreading disease if the system has leaks and pathogens not reduced in treatment. So where has all this taken us in our cities? We have very negative attitudes about excreta, poor knowledge about the risks and sewage systems that often under-perform in providing protection.

    Now with recent breakthrough knowledge about the intimate linkage between intestinal bacteria, the brain and the nervous system, humans may be able to return to where we left off in the 1800s. That faecal transplants from healthy individuals can solve such things as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Clostridium difficile infections, may also change people's negative attitudes about excreta. A new look at health starts with our attitudes about food, our gut and our faeces. The British and american gut projects britishgut.org/ and americangut.org/ have surveyed the microbiome in thousands of people's guts (plus other parts of the body) in order to determine what constitutes a healthy gut - but fail to make the link to the need for healthy sewage systems.

    It's up to the sustainable sanitation specialists to close that gap.
    Regards

    Arno Rosemarin PhD
    Stockholm Environment Institute
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