Psychoanalysis Can Help Shed Light on Complex Situations

Often, when dealing with a case, we are presented with a certain way of thinking about things and conducting ourselves. Specialists in fields that are currently popular may have a certain protocol or philosophy in the way they approach a patient and try to understand a case. But oftentimes, this can lead to frustration, a dead-end in treatment, because the factors at play in the case seem to elude our particular philosophy. I have encountered just such a scenario in my time as a behavioral therapist, which ended abruptly and unsuccessfully; but perhaps there was another way to consider the case, one that might have had a better result. [Read More]

Freud and the Force: Classics on the Couch

“School children read the Greek myths as delightful stories about imaginary people. They learn from the dictionary that the very word mythical means nonexistent, or the opposite of factual. Then when they grow up and read about modern psychoanalysis they are told the opposite; that the gods and demigods of ancient Greece [AND FARAWAY GALAXIES FROM LONG AGO] behaved very much like themselves.  Myths survive because they echoed universal aspects of our own experience.” [Read More]

Psychoanalysis in El Barrio

The film features ten psychoanalysts from a variety of Latin heritages reflecting on the complexities of working with issues of culture, class, immigration, language, ethnicity and race within the Hispanic population.  El Barrio is the name given to Hispanic neighborhoods riddled by socioeconomic challenges. Very soon, the viewer can recognize the applicability of these reflections to other marginalized groups of people. [Read More]

The Truth Just Twists

The following post includes an analysis of Bob Dylan’s lyrics entitled Psychedelic Irony in “The Truth Just Twists: Psychadelic Irony in “The Gates of Eden” by Sara Gates followed by a response entitled “Deep Listening, Close Reading; or How are a Songwriter and an English Professor like a Psychoanalyst?” by Mara Wagner. [Read More]

More Movie Analysis: The Lovers

I attended the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute’s (BPSI’s) film night at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in May, where The Lovers was on the screen and “off the couch” in the discussion that followed. In this film (spoiler alert) a middle aged married couple carry on long term, lackluster affairs with needy lovers and avoid each other at home, each hoping the other has to “work late” again. The action, slow and almost painfully protracted, is as if choreographed in slow motion; the BPSI discussant likened it to a silent film in this regard. Indeed, there is little language. We feel the unhappiness, the boredom, the stuckness of this couple not only with each other, but with their whining and threatening lovers who are demanding that their slack partners tell their spouses they will be leaving the marriage immediately. The symmetry of the situation is near isomorphic, and to be fair, this part is a bit funny. [Read More]

Reflections on Abbas Kiarostami

Since the death of Iranian film maker Kiarostami in July of 2016, I have wanted to write something about him. Why this need to write? What is so special about Kiarostami- besides his numerous awards and critically acclaimed movies- that speaks to me? Has his death heightened his desirability? Or had he always held a special place in my heart? It is these questions I hope to explore. [Read More]

Psychoanalysis? In my Schools!?

Recently my girlfriend and I attended a bed and breakfast which had an extensive library in the basement. I asked to purchase a few dilapidated books from the owners at a discount price, one of which was Sartre’s Existential Psychoanalysis. “Psychoanalysis – that was the academic trend a while ago so you can have that one” said one owner. “Yes, since we’ve learned more about the brain a lot of that has become irrelevant” added the other owner. They were then surprised to hear that I had recently acquired a Master’s Degree in Psychoanalytic Counseling. The look on their faces seemed to say ‘people still do that?’ “We apply it in school settings to great effect, believe it or not!” I replied. Unconvinced they changed the subject. [Read More]

School-Based Counseling: Better than Sushi with Ice Cream

One September day in 2014 my first child client walked through the door of my office with his head down and hands clasped tightly together. He sat in silence for the entire session. Joey had selective mutism and did not speak a word to me for several weeks—an experience teachers and students had with him on a daily basis. I remember thinking to myself that first day, “Why in the world did I sign up for the school-based fellowship program? I have no idea what I am doing when treating kids.” [Read More]