Dr Emilia Halton-Hernandez

Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Dr Emilia Halton-Hernandez



I am a Lecturer in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies. Before joining Essex in 2021 I studied and/or taught at the Universities of Sussex, British Columbia, Warwick, Complutense Madrid and UC Berkeley. My research falls broadly along two lines: 1) infant mental health and how we come to know the infant mind, and 2) exploring how creative health and psychotherapeutic initiatives can support mental health in children and adults. My conviction is that research in these areas can help us understand the processes that underlie our current understanding of health and wellbeing, provide us with the conceptual tools to analyse complex medical, social and psychological phenomena, and expand our possibilities of thought, experience, action, and imagination. I am deeply interested in theories of infant mental life (pre-natal and post-natal), and my research has been particularly grounded in object relations theory (esp. Klein, Winnicott, Milner and Bion). I am also interested in the different ways in which psychoanalytic knowledge has been produced outside of the consulting room-- e.g. autobiographical writing, documentary film and other observational practices as methods for generating psychoanalytic insight. My monograph 'The Marion Milner method: Psychoanalysis, autobiography, creativity' was published open access by Routledge in April 2023. The book traces psychoanalyst, autobiographer and artist Marion Milner’s unique exploration of how acts of drawing and writing can give insight into preverbal, infantile states of mind and proposes that Milner is a thinker to whom we can turn to explore (and interrogate) the therapeutic potentialities of autobiographical and creative self-expression. As of this year I am developing a new project around psychoanalytic approaches to foetal subjectivity and their dialogue with women's reproductive rights. I have wide ranging interests in the fields of creative health, social prescribing and the medical and mental health humanities. I have been involved in two CHASE-AHRC funded projects: 1) Running narrative medicine workshops for patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety at an NHS GP surgery, working closely with the surgery doctors in their design and implementation. 2) Since 2018 I have worked with researchers at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical College and Stories for Life Charity on an ongoing study that aims to assess the therapeutic benefits of recording a life story for terminally ill patients. I am a member of the British Psychoanalytic Council Scholars' Network. I was named joint winner of the British Journal of Psychotherapy's 2021 Rozsika Parker Prize (student pathway) for my article "Marion Milner’s “pliable medium” and the role of the patient’s creativity in the analytic encounter" I warmly welcome proposals from prospective PhD students in areas related to any of my research interests, which include: Object relations theory Infant and early years mental health Theorising preverbal experience Theories of intersubjectivity Historical understandings of childhood and infancy History of psychoanalysis Medical/health humanities 20th century theories of care and the maternal Theories of creativity Visual art, life writing and literature


  • PhD University of Sussex,

  • MA University of British Columbia,

  • BA University of Warwick,


University of Essex

  • Open Seminar Series Coordinator, Department of PPS, University of Essex (7/10/2021 - present)

  • Director of Graduate Studies (Student Experience), Department of PPS, University of Essex (1/9/2022 - present)

  • Athena Swan Departmental Lead, University of Essex (2/10/2023 - present)

  • MA Childhood Studies course leader, University of Essex (2/10/2023 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Object relations theory

Open to supervise

The infant mind and infant mental health

Open to supervise

Theories of creativity

Open to supervise

Historical understandings of childhood and infancy

Open to supervise

History of psychoanalysis

Open to supervise

Psychoanalysis, art and literature

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Exploring audio-recording in terminal illness- The Hospice Biographers model

2022 Autumn Meeting, 16/11/2022

Introduction to Marion Milner's writing on William Blake

Invited presentation, Marion Milner: Modernism, Politics, Psychoanalysis, Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research, Brighton, United Kingdom, 16/6/2022

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Living a Good Life: Critical Approaches to Wellness and Happiness (PA107)

  • Psychoanalysis and the Child (PA403)

  • Psychoanalytic Theory (PA901)

  • Critical Debates in Childhood and Childhood Studies (PA943)

  • Research with Children and Young People (PA944)

  • Dissertation � Childhood Studies (PA945)

  • Children�s Emotional Worlds (PA949)

  • Dissertation (PA900)


Journal articles (7)

Halton-Hernandez, E., Abrams, R., Cooney, G. and Ali, K., (2023). Exploring audio recording in terminally ill patients receiving hospice care: ‘Stories for Life Charity’ model. The Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 25 (5), 271-276

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2022). Marion Milner’s “pliable medium” and the role of the patient’s creativity in the analytic encounter. British Journal of Psychotherapy. 38 (3), 433-443

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2021). “A poet of human nature”: Marion Milner’s William Blake. Critical Quarterly. 63 (4), 111-125

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2020). The Milner Method: Marion Milner and Alison Bechdel's autobiographical cures. Life Writing. 18 (2), 243-260

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2019). Spirals, whorls, and faulty containers: The psychoanalysis of form in the art of Marion Milner’s The Hands of the Living God and the sculpture of Louise Bourgeois. Free Associations (Psychoanalysis and Aesthetics)

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2018). 'A Play within a Play’: Why Hockney Still Matters at 80. A Review of the David Hockney Exhibition at the Tate Britain. Brief Encounters. 2 (1)

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2014). Wordsworth’s prescient baby: Conceptions of the mother-infant relationship in the development of the Self 1790s-1890s. PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts

Books (1)

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2023). The Marion Milner method: Psychoanalysis, autobiography, creativity. Routledge. 9781032282954

Book chapters (1)

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2016). Missing Mother: Eliot’s Philosophy of Sympathy and the Effect of Loss in The Lifted Veil. In: Critical Insights: George Eliot. Editors: Peel, K., . Salem Press. 213- 226

Other (2)

Halton-Hernandez, E., Ali, K., Abrams, R. and Cooney, G., (2023).Exploring audio-recording in terminal illness- The Hospice Biographers model. Age and Ageing. 52(Supplement_1),Oxford University Press

Halton-Hernandez, E., (2019).“On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud by Nathan Kravis (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017; 204 pp.); reviewed by Emilia Halton-Hernandez”. Psychoanalysis and History. 20(1),Edinburgh University Press

+44 (0) 1206 874944


5A.210, Colchester Campus

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