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Showing posts from April, 2012

Anton Kris on Learning and Unlearning - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Goes to a Seminar

Friday night Anton “Tony” Kris came to town to talk about psychoanalysis.Dr. Kris is an interesting person for a number of reasons, not least of which is that his mother was Marilyn Monroe’s second analyst – who referred her to Ralph Greenson, her final, controversial analyst who became overly involved in Marilyn's life – and death.But Tony was here to talk about something else – the learning and unlearning that is necessarily a part of becoming a psychoanalyst.
There is much to unlearn in becoming a psychoanalyst.The analytic interaction is a weird one.You, as a helping person, sit behind a couch and relatively silently listen as someone talks about what comes to mind.You generally try to help them explore the depths of their feelings – despair, fear, pain – without trying to talk them out of them, or to tell them that things will be better – perfectly natural human responses that we have overlearned, especially if we are helping professionals.Instead of reassuring our patients,…

The Hunger Games- The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Goes to a Popular Movie

My son and stepdaughter have both read the first two of the three Hunger Games books.  Last night my stepdaughter who had already seen the movie was sick on a night the family had planned to go to the movies.  So my son and I went to see The Hunger Games.  I knew from the commercials and from what the kids had said that this would be a bloody and – if this distinction can be made – violent odyssey.  I anticipated that it would be grim and that I might find myself hating the ways in which I would be drawn into a post apocalyptic spectacle.  Instead I found it to be a delightful, if as bloody as advertised, coming of age movie that rang truer to my current personal experience than I would have expected.
The premise of the movie is that two children are chosen from each of twelve districts to represent those districts in an annual reality show akin to Survivor – except that here those who don't survive do, in fact, die, - frequently killed by the other "players" who are ar…

American Pastoral - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Reads a Pulltzer Prize Winning Classic

Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel American Pastoral is a great and very emotionally difficult read.  Roth uses his alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, to get the story going (and actually to tell the ending at the beginning – the frustrating, explosive ending of the book that left so little resolved became manageable for me only when I realized that the resolution of the story had already been offered – in the first twenty five pages or so when I was still trying to get oriented), but he abandons Zuckerman (thankfully – the man is an overly introspective and bitter guy) to take on the task of telling, in the first person, the story of Seymour “Swede” Levov – rhymes with love - a blond haired, blue eyed jewish grandson of immigrants who is gifted athletically, revered by his peers; and who chooses to walk away from professional baseball to take over the family’s glove making factory in Newark.  He does not take over the family’s ethnic identity, however.  He moves out to Old Rimrock,…

Telephone Treatment - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Earns Continuing Education Credit

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Mandatory Continuing Education workshop.Now, I didn’t have to go to this particular workshop – it is mandatory that I receive 20 hours of continuing education every two years, and three of those hours have to be in the area of ethics in order to maintain my license in psychology.This workshop offered the needed ethical credit, and it was on an area that has been of great interest to me: Provision of psychological treatment via phone and the internet.
I have wandered into providing service via phone and email as many of my peers have done, a little bit at a time, reading as I go along, but also finding that the literature on treating at a distance is evolving, just as my practice is.That said, I have always provided psychological services at a distance.My very first training in the field was when I was in High School and I was a volunteer at a community mental health agency and I was trained on a suicide hotline.I don’t think I fielded a crisis call dur…