Psychoanalysis at Work in Public Schools

Twenty years ago, faculty member Joan White decided to bring modern psychoanalysis into the public schools. “The emotional demands made on teachers by their work can be overwhelming,” says Dr. White. “Children who come to school with emotional problems are still expected to perform at grade level. But their feelings get in the way of their learning.” Violence, racism, drugs, non-cooperation, inattentive, and provocative behavior are among the challenges confronting teachers. “And the teachers,” she reports, “take it personally.” They can be left feeling hopeless, frustrated, angry, and helpless. [Read More]

CBT or Psychodynamic Therapy

By William Sharp. Which is better?  I hear this question a lot, and the ultimate answer is: it depends. Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short term (often 12 session) approach to treatment that encourages changing your thinking, in order to change your feelings and behaviors.  Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapy is usually longer term work, as it is based on more than just the stated symptoms someone walks into treatment with.  [Read More]

Understanding Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic therapy is different from more cognitively based therapies in that it starts with the assumption that a person’s symptoms are an indicator of a more complex set of emotions – those that are deeply rooted and outside of their awareness. The psychodynamic psychotherapist learns to understand these unconscious factors that prevent positive change, and is able to address them and help people who are struggling to resolve their mental and emotional problems. [Read More]

A MONSTER CALLS: How hating leads to love

The first words in the movie, spoken by Connor, are “How does this story begin?” to which the monster replies, “It begins like so many stories. With a boy too old to be a kid, too young to be a man, and a nightmare.” Much like treatment beginnings, we don’t know what any of this means yet – but all the answers are there, in codes we can’t yet decipher until we know the person better.  We have to look at the data the we are presented with to begin making sense of it all, and the group at this BGSP event rose to the challenge.  [Read More]

School Violence

It’s time again to grapple with what to do to so that the Parkland students’ wish for #neveragain can someday be realized. In the aftermath and the public outcry we ask ourselves why highly specialized military weapons are so easily accessed by obviously disturbed individuals. Will we finally make changes to our gun laws that value human life and safe schools more than the insanity of the NRA and its second amendment fanatics? Is the answer in background checks and improved mental health services? We must do whatever we can to keep killing machines out of the hands of deranged individuals. If improved mental health services are the answer, what kind of improvements should be considered? [Read More]

Psychoanalysis in the Pre-school Classroom

Ms. Vanessa Cid graduated this year with BGSP’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Child and Adolescent Intervention. A pre-school teacher, Ms. Cid was looking for ways to support her students beyond the traditional behavioral methods offered by her school system. She says of her children, “I was looking for something to address their heavy emotional experiences.” [Read More]

Working With Preoedipal States of Mind

By Chris Fry with response by Dr. Jane Snyder. I would like to talk with you about the serious issue of making therapeutic contact with patients who are suffering from the more primitive disturbances that psychoanalysis has come to classify as preoedipal states of mind.  Here we are concerned with problems that have developed in early life while the child was in the process of constructing a mind with which they could safely contain and elaborate the deepest and widest experiences of being alive.  This is something that all of us have had to wrestle with and it is clear that there are remnants of preoedipal experience in all of us – and indeed it is difficult to imagine a good life without access to these deep, and at times, intense experiences of being alive.  Most of us can get in touch with them and elaborate them in our intimate lives and our creativity.   But it is also clear that some people are confined to a form of relating that was established at this early time in life and that this is getting in the way of them developing a more coherent sense of self and of making and sustaining satisfying relationships with other people. [Read More]