Freudian psychoanalysis is so popular in Argentina, even prisoners go once a week

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Freudian psychoanalysis is all the rage in Argentina. This is the country with the highest number of psychologists per capita and where psychoanalysis is a standard treatment option for kids. So it makes sense that in prisons, too, the inmates get Freudian psychoanalysis once a week.

At least that’s the case in one Buenos Aires prison, where psychologist and researcher Alicia Iacuzzi has headed the program for 30 years. Other mental health services for prisoners have a more Lacanian approach, based on the work of French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, but Iacuzzi believes that Freud provides the best guidelines for prison therapy.

Read more: http://qz.com/762734/freudian-psychoanalysis-is-so-popular-in-argentina-even-prisoners-go-once-a-week/

August 20, 2016

 

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Where the Wild Things Are

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This Friday, June 24, the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought presents Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze based on Maurice Sendak’s book. The screening will be followed by discussion about grief in a dramatic dreamscape by Rachel Zlatkin, Professor of English at NKU, and Alla Baskakova, psychiatrist at VA Medical Center.

Wine and cheese at 6:30. Program starts at 7pm.

Location: Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute, 3001 Highland Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45219

Please RSVP: Norman Hirsch, hirschnorman@gmail.com or 513-515-6836.

New publication in PsyArt Journal

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Sookie and Symptom, Vampire and Void: Irruption of the Real in True Blood

February 18, 2016 ·

Abstract

Sookie Stackhouse, the protagonist of HBO’s True Blood, is a telepath who has grown up knowing what people “really” think. From the first episode, however, moments suggest we view her character symptomatically—after all, she hears voices in her head. The series then becomes an illustration of Lacanian concepts of subjectivity and the Real. Sookie is a sexually-repressed 24-year-old virgin, molested by her great uncle and left in the care of her grandmother, with whom she still lives after losing both parents. The extimate sexualized voices in her head can be read as a mechanism constructed to cope with traumatic loss and abuse, and to justify her repression. The introduction of vampire Bill Compton signals the irruption of the Real in the Symbolic order. His unreadable mind presents a void upon which to project her fantasies, but their relationship, mirroring that of analyst and analysand, provides a way for Sookie to work through her symptoms.

View the full article here:

http://journal.psyart.org/article/sookie-and-symptom-vampire-and-void-irruption-of-the-real-in-true-blood/

Spring Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival

Presented in association with The Freud Museum – London

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Saturday 12 March 2016, 9:30 am5:00 pm

Word & Image

In talks, readings and conversations, speakers from the worlds of poetry, film and psychoanalysis explore the power of images in memory, imagination and poetry. How is an image re-rendered in a poem, and how might perception be influenced by the poet’s internal world?

Sessions include:

Gerry Byrne on the transformational power of words and images in poetry and psychotherapy.
Valerie Sinason on the language of trauma and dissociation.
Mark Solms on ‘The Mind of the Artist’.
Eliza Kentridge, poet and artist, reading from and introducing Signs for an Exhibition, and in conversation with Mark Solms.
PoetryFilms selected by Zata Banks and introduced by the filmmakers themselves.
Maurice Riordan with a ‘poem on the couch’, conducting an in-depth analysis of a single poem, ‘Santarém’ by Elizabeth Bishop.
Pascale Petit on ‘Pained Hearts and Painted Sorrows’; how imagery and images filter pain; exploring the creative dialogue she has developed with the work of Frida Kahlo.

Tickets

£62 full / £46 concs (with £5 off for members of Freud Museum and/or The Poetry Society)

Booking now open. Visit the Freud Museum’s Eventbrite to buy your tickets.

Speakers

Gerry Byrne is a consultant nurse and child and adolescent psychotherapist, working in the NHS and privately in Oxford. He is clinical lead for the Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service (Oxon, Wilts and BaNES) and the Infant Parent Perinatal Service (Oxon). With two colleagues he runs the annual Children in Troubled Worlds conference which promotes the contributions psychoanalytic thinking and the arts can make to work with troubled children and with Janet Bolam, theatre director and writer, he runs Between the Lines – Writers and Psychotherapists in Conversation. www.bolamandbyrne.co.uk

Valerie Sinason is a poet, author, child and adult psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst. She is Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in London and Honorary Consultant Psychotherapist to the Cape Town Child Guidance Unit.

Mark Solms is Director of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town. He is a member of the British, American and South African Psychoanalytical Associations, and has won many awards, including the Sigourney Prize. He has published over 300 articles and six books. He is editor and translator of the forthcoming Revised Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (24 vols) and the Complete Neuroscientific Works of Sigmund Freud (4 vols).

Eliza Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1962. She moved to England in the late 1980s and has lived in Essex for the past 25 years. She is an artist who works in many media, though she is primarily known for her stitched drawings and applique flags. Her literary leanings, evident since childhood, now result in her first book of poetry: Signs For An Exhibition

Maurice Riordan’s poetry collections include The Water Stealer (Faber, 2013) and The Holy Land (Faber, 2007). He has recently edited The Finest Music: Early Irish Lyrics (Faber, 2014). He is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University and the editor of The Poetry Review.

Pascale Petit is a poet living in Cornwall. Her sixth collection Fauverie was shortlisted for the 2014 T S Eliot Prize, poems from it won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. Her fifth collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, and was a Book of the Year in the Observer. Pascale has had four collections shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and chosen as Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, Independent and Observer. She is the recipient of a Cholmondeley Award. Bloodaxe will publish her seventh collection Mama Amazonica in 2017.

PoetryFilm is the highly influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, celebrating poetry films and other experimental text/image/sound material. Since 2002, PoetryFilm has presented over 70 events at venues including Tate Britain, ICA, FACT Liverpool, Cannes Film Festival, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Royal College of Art, and Curzon Cinemas. Zata Banks has also judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and Carbon Culture Review in America. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is an accredited member of Film Hub London, part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains about a thousand artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.

The Ghosts of Christmas: Was Scrooge the First Psychotherapy Patient?

For much of my adult life, I believed, inaccurately, that I knew the story of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”—that I remembered it from childhood. It was about a miser called Ebenezer Scrooge who, when wished a “Merry Christmas,” always said, “Bah, humbug.” Then three ghosts came, from the Past, Present, and Future, and showed him how he was, and had previously been, an asshole. Then he saw his own grave and understood that Christmas was real, so he finally spent some of his money and bought a giant turkey for a disabled child…

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-ghosts-of-christmas-was-scrooge-the-first-psychotherapy-patient

Elif Batuman – The New Yorker

A Story about Psicanálise (Psychoanalysis) in Latin America

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Please consider attending the next event sponsored by the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought on Friday, January 22nd, 2016:

A Story about Psicanálise (Psychoanalysis) in Latin America

The Association for Psychoanalytic Thought (APT) is pleased to present a viewing of an episode of the HBO Latin America Channel series, Psi about a psychoanalyst living and practicing in Saõ Paulo, Brazil, based on the writings of Brazilian psychoanalyst Contardo Calligaris. Calligaris trained in Switzerland and France and moved to Brazil. He is a columnist as well as a clinician and has written several psychoanalytically oriented novels. He is the creator of the series.

The viewing will be followed by a discussion by Natalia Jakovkis, professor of Modern Languages at Xavier University, and Karl Stukenberg, professor and chairman of Psychology at Xavier University and a CPI faculty member.

The event will be held in the Kapp Memorial Library of the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute, 3001 Highland Ave., Suite C, Cincinnati, Ohio 45219. The event begins at 6:30 pm with wine and cheese and the program begins at 7 pm. Admission is $5.00.

Please RSVP early by calling 513-515-6836 or by emailing hirschnorman@gmail.com

The Irruption of the Real in the CW’s The Flash

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Something that’s been zooming around my head these days is the current television series, The Flash. I read the comic as a kid and the new series fascinates me. The whole series is constructed around Barry’s childhood trauma and is, therefore, ripe for symptomatic reading.

“To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible. Can you do that? Good.”

Right from the first voiceover, in his invoking narration at the beginning of the very first episode, he’s openly asking us to believe in the impossible.

His powers are impossible. That’s the irruption of the Real in the series. His powers signify nothing possible. They are the symptomatic, the return of the Real.

That Real is based in trauma, the traumatic murder of his mother.

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Yes, Barry has serious mommy issues. His mother was murdered and his father is in prison for the crime. That’s Barry’s self-stated desire: finding who killed his mother, to clear his father’s name and have him released from prison. The murder of his mother is a repetition of the original separation from his mother that occurred in the development of his subjectivity earlier in childhood. This is the original lack at his core, setting his desire in motion.

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Barry also has daddy issues. His real dad is in prison, an absentee father but one with whom Barry still communicates. He was raised by Detective Joe West. Barry also works as a forensic scientist with Joe at the Central City Police Department. Joe was the physically-present father, but still doesn’t believe Barry’s memories of what happened the night of his mother’s murder. Dr. Harrison Wells, too, serves as a father figure for Barry until he is revealed to be the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, whose desire is to return to the future, at any cost.

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The overdetermined father figures in his life can’t make up for his lacking mother, however. His real desire is to become fast enough to race back in time and change the past; not to find his mother’s killer, but to save his mother’s life. In this way, he seeks to fill that original lack at his core, the desire to be the phallus for the mother, to be her object of desire.

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Barry has further familial issues. He is in love with his foster-sister, Iris. His, at first unknown and then unrequited, desire for her is, again, symptomatic of the lack he feels at his core.

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As Barry grows into his role of The Flash, he hears voices in his head. Through the audio transmitter in his mask, we typically hear the voice of Dr. Harrison Wells (Eobard Thawne), Cisco Ramon, or Dr. Caitlyn Snow instructing Barry on what to do or where to go. There are moments where Barry leaves behind the comm system or it goes out, but for the most part, he is guided not by his own conscious motivations, but by voices in his head.

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The series is fruitful for a psychoanalytic reading.

Psychoanalysis and Non-Western Art

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Yoshitoshi’s Banchō Sarayashiki

At last night’s December meeting of the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought, I had the pleasure of speaking as part of a round-table discussion titled, “Psychoanalysis and Culture: Psychoanalytic Concepts in the College Classroom.” The other two presenters were Norman Finkelstein, Professor of English at Xavier University, and Rachel Zlatkin, Honors Professor at Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Zlatkin began the discussion with readings of quite different versions of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as cautionary tales about young women’s sexuality. I then spoke about the “return of the repressed” in horror films and sublimation in film noir. Dr. Finkelstein ended the discussion with readings of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.

As Norman Hirsch, president of the APT noted, while the influence of psychoanalysis has waned in departments of psychology and psychiatry in American universities, it has seen a resurgence in the humanities. The three of us provided examples of how we use psychoanalytic theory in our research and in our college-level pedagogy. A psychoanalytic approach is but one hermeneutic we use in the classroom to help students make meaning of texts, but a still-important one, nonetheless. An interimplication of psychoanalytic theory and the products of popular culture is fruitful to the understanding of both, and I hope that the examples we three shared gave evidence to that effect.

Discussion afterwards was heated, as usual. An audience member noted that each of us only referred to Western texts, implying that psychoanalysis may not be a universal lens through which to examine texts from other cultures. A critical cultural theorist in the audience responded that the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss shows the presence of universal structural elements in the mythologies of various cultures that can be accessible to psychoanalytic theory, regardless of cultural context. The speakers were in agreement with her.

I must admit, however, that I have been reticent to apply psychoanalysis to the texts of non-Western cultures in my own work.  Just how much of the Oedipus, for example, can be attributed to the universal nature of the human unconscious, and how much to family structures and child-rearing practices particular to the West? I believe that a work of art cues us as to how we might read it, which hermeneutics might be appropriate in its interpretation, and I have sought to look for theories originating in the cultures in which the art was produced. My interests in Japanese art and film and in psychoanalytic theory have led me to the wish to find some psychoanalytic entrée into the interpretation of Japanese art. And yet, in the back of my mind echoes Lacan’s infamous statement that the Japanese are unanalyzable. But what of their art?

In seeking some means of applying psychoanalytic theory to Japanese art, I’ve researched broadly the place of psychoanalysis and Japan; read of the concept of amae, the asaje complex, and the “don’t look” prohibition; and tried my best to find ways of utilizing distinctly Japanese psychoanalytic theory. Still, this is beyond my comfort level and I’ve not been successful in these endeavors. The Japanese psyche seems to me to be guided as much by Shinto, Buddhism, and distinct social practices as by Freudian, Kleinian, or Lacanian theories of the unconscious, desire, and subjectivity. Does this mean that employing psychoanalytic theory to analyze Japanese art would be misguided, a misapplication of that theory?

I’ve not settled on an answer, but I certainly think it’s worth investigating further.

100 years old and making a comeback – Freud’s theories of the unconscious

The unconscious has had a bumpy ride since Sigmund Freud first described the extent of his discoveries in a seminal paper published 100 years ago this month. Sceptics sneer at its mention, assuming it’s as discreditable as penis envy. Others, who sense the father of psychoanalysis was on to something, prefer to hedge their bets and not be tarnished by Freud’s mixed reputation: they refer limply to the subliminal or subconscious. Yet it could be the case that far from being past its sell-by date, the time of the unconscious is yet to come….

100 years old and making a comeback – Freud’s theories of the unconscious

Mark Vernon – The Guardian

Hermia’s Desire

The audience at September’s meeting of the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought took part in a true clash of fundamental ideological positions on empathy: philosophical and psychoanalytical.

Heidi Maibom, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati and editor of the recent book Morality and Empathy, delivered a paper examining Hermia’s relationship with her father, Egeus, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in terms of empathy regarding her desire to marry Lysander against her father’s wishes.

A professor of Shakespeare from NKU offered another source of desire in the play, “They are all at one point or another on drugs thanks to Puck’s potions.”

John Hall, former director of the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute and respondent to Maibom’s paper added, “and the drugs can just be seen as allowing them free expression of their unconscious desires.”

“You see, you don’t think the unconscious, the unconscious thinks you,” explained a critical cultural theorist from UC, trying to force the speaker’s logic against the limits of the Cartesan cogito, to the “Thing-that-thinks.”

“I don’t know what that means,” was Maibom’s honest reply.

We’re reminded that Freud’s great contribution to Western thought was not the invention of Psychoanalysis, but the discovery of the unconscious. The discovery is one of Copernican proportions, a radical de-centering of the human subject from the place of the ego to the place of the unconscious. As Lacan writes in “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire”: “This is what the subject is missing in thinking he is exhaustively accounted for by his cogito– he is missing what is unthinkable about him” (E 304).  Philosophy rarely takes us into this territory, that which is unthinkable about us, which is the realm of psychoanalysis.

In Lacanian terms, Hermia’s desire is not for Lysander, but for a lost object, a lack that is always already unattainable. Lysander is a substitutionary object, the objet petit a, an object Hermia hopes will fill that lack. The sexual relationship, according to Lacan, is impossible because the partner is always a substitutionary object of desire. We are forever looking for the satisfaction of our desire in something that can never fill the Real lack in ourselves. Therefore, if Hermia’s conscious wish to be with Lysander is fulfilled, it cannot assure her happiness. Lysander is just an objet petit a in what may become a lengthy chain of objet petit a, b, c… Desire is always for a void that moves away from us as we chase it. As soon as we think we have it in our grasp, what we desire changes coordinates.

Maibom’s paper prompted some interesting responses by the clinicians in the audience, who took the conversation in the direction of the role of empathy in the transference and the limits of empathy in one’s relationship with a patient or client. It’s this sort of clinical evidence that is missing from most interimplication of psychoanalytic theory and cultural production. This meeting of the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought brought together theory, praxis, and culture in a way that created fruitful dialogue between clinicians, academics, and critical cultural theorists. Dialogue of this sort informs the work of those of us doing cultural critique through a psychoanalytic lens and helps to ground the work in the findings of clinical practice.