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]

Emotional Communication

…[T]he conference provided a space where over time, and thanks to the presenters, discussants and the participants, they could experience a certain level of emotional communication and connection.  This conference also demonstrated how BGSP offers training that is applicable not only to clinical work in mental health or private practice settings, but also to work in nursing homes with patients with dementia, preschools and classrooms at all levels, work with children in foster care  and very powerfully in groups and family relationships. [Read More]

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]