An American psychoanalyst comments on the matters in his world - books he reads, movies he watches, conferences he attends - from a psychoanalytic perspective. Intended for those curious about modern applied psychoanalysis.
This grows out of a project - the 10,000 minds project of the American Psychoanalytic Association - intended to help the public become aware of contemporary psychoanalysis.
I am part of a summer reading group at my local psychoanalytic institute and we are looking at some of Freud's papers during a time of year when there is a little more time to think about and reflect on them. I was not prepared to have those readings intrude into, or to guide my thinking, in quite the way they did. Lots of things have changed since Freud wrote, including the ways that we conduct analyses. Also the papers we were reading, at least to my way of thinking, were papers that were a bit dry and theoretical. I wasn't expecting them to come to life. So forgive me if this blog imitates life and is a bit dry in terms of introducing some terms before I let you know how this material came to life. I found it worth reading "dusty" papers because they led me to think differently about how I connect with people in my life, including my patients, and hopefully that will help me improve the usefulness of the connections that I offer.
Woody Allen is the poster boy of psychoanalysis - famous for featuring it in his films and in his life - sometimes twice a day with two different analysts... After one of his very public peccadilloes twenty five years ago - let's just say it was when he married his stepdaughter - I was working at a psychoanalytically oriented hospital and thought to myself - if there was ever proof that psychoanalysis does not work, Woody Allen is it. But one of my trusted supervisors had a different view - that his behavior demonstrated how pernicious - how difficult to change - character pathology is. Currently I suppose that there is something to both of these thoughts. There are certainly limits to the ability of psychoanalysis to create change, particularly in people who are attached to their pathology - and Woody Allen's latest movie, Blue Jasmine, demonstrates the complexity, and insidious nature, of character pathology.
OK, so it is a cliche for an analyst, reluctant or not, to wr…