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Showing posts from January, 2015

Research and Treatment Outcome: The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Continues to Report from the Convention

Psychoanalysis has a long and uneasy relationship with traditional empirical research.  Freud was quite concerned that researchers would not appreciate that the unconscious cannot be observed directly and he privileged the analytic hour as the one and only position from which we can learn about the unconscious and, indeed, the functioning of the human mind.  Taking this position hamstrung psychoanalysis.  It interfered with it joining the mainstream of scientific development that revolutionized so many fields during the twentieth century.  I suppose it is a testament to the psychoanalytic situation and to Freud’s genius that he developed something from it that still has some relevance now, more than one hundred years later.  But we are woefully behind our peers who work from other disciplines, many of which were founded within an empirical tradition, of using research techniques to both a).  Understand how well our patients “objectively” benefit from our work together and b). Underst…

A Delicate Balance and Jonathan Lear – The Reluctant Psychoanalyst goes to the Annual Psychoanalytic Convention

The American Psychoanalytic Association holds its annual convention every year in New York City.  This is an opportunity to hear and talk with the finest analysts in America, and many others from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.  It is also a chance to spend some time with the reluctant wife in the Big Apple.  This year we took a bit of a busman’s holiday and saw Edward Albee’s play “A Delicate Balance” with Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins, and Martha Plimpton, a tight play about three days in the life of a family that is balanced on the edge of madness with the mother, played by Glenn Close, characterizing herself as the fulcrum.  It is a play that was first performed in 1966 – a moment that was itself a fulcrum.  On the one side was a way of doing things the way they had been done – well, not for all that long, but seemingly forever.  It was a kind of Golden Age of the ruling class of the United States.  We had won the war, we were doing…