We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, January 20. 2007
More items from the American Psychoanalytic meeting in NY this week:
1. Confidence that antidepressants will work improves their effectiveness by around 40%. I don't know what that means, and I tend to doubt it - but that's the data. Interesting. There are still many analysts who feel that antidepressants interfere with treatment. They could be right.
2. Most psychoanalysts practice very little analysis. It's the nature of the modern world. Analysts regret it, but they feel that their rigorous and lengthy training helps them in whatever they do.
3. I always knew this, but analysts tend to be stiff, unapproachable, stern, and unfriendly people. The presentations are humorless, cold, unrelaxed, and always delivered in a wierd - can I say "hypnotic? - monotone. Very strange, given their profession, in which they are very kind and caring. And yet an analytic meeting is the coldest, most unfriendly sort of "convention" you could ever find. Nobody chats, nobody hoists a few beers at the bar - unless they know eachother already. They are totally isolated at the meeting, which is not fun at all. Even when you sit next to them, they don't acknowledge your existence. It's like an Episcopal Church. A bit schizoid. When you smile at someone and say "hi," you feel like you are intruding. I am not like that, at least since my second analysis. Will ask Nathan to try to explain this unpleasant phenomenon.
4. In semi-contradiction to the above, overheard at the Waldorf lobby bar between a somber but cute youngish analyst gal and a gal friend at 2 pm: "I need a drink or two. And then, let's go do some shopping or something. I need a break." Do not ask me what I was doing at the bar.
5. I always find it amusing that Freud never had a psychoanalysis. He said he did self-analysis, which I am certain that he did. Like any explorer, he opened many doors, and was wrong about some small things, but right about a few very big things. A hero, for certain.
6. "Self-psychology" and object relations theorizing: Just say the term "projected self-object" and I am asleep. Same goes for the words "Melanie Klein." I am outta there. This stuff is gobbledy-gook to me, and I ain't dumb. If you can't explain it to me in the King's English, forget it. No sale. Back to Charles Brenner.
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The Waldorf bar is acceptable self-medication, right? Many apologies to an analyst from someone who would eschew the couch for a moving van back homeward while looking forward. We are accountable to ourselves for the arrangement of our lives, after other important responsibilities have been met. Anything less, needlessly enduring, is a cop-out and miserably passive, I think.
At any rate, you sound more grounded than some of your fellow professionals and that's a godsend for both you and your patients. You have to wonder how some psychoanalysts apply theory without common sense and an inherent people connection.
Personally, I have always found that the stories people make up about me are more exciting than my actual life...like an analyst's.
I think the cold and unfriendly stuff is just the necessary toughening necessitated by daily walking across the broken glass of other people's lives, trying to coax them out into the sunlight from the shadows.
Words and stories bring you closer to a person than sex ever will, so one would have to wear reserve and mystery and detachment as one's daily armor, or be lost. Then it just gets hard to remove at times when it might be alright. One gets accustomed to hiding one's true face, quelling one's warm and friendly expressions....One even comes to like it. I think it was BD who wrote once about liking being masked and mysterious.
Members of the clergy have discovered this recently as the horror stories of clerical abuses have emerged. All have had to undergo "insensitivity training" in which one is cautioned never to touch a parishioner,never be alone in a room with them with the door closed, always have two people teaching a class of kids, etc. Beware the impulsive, loving gesture lest it be misinterpreted.
It could be worse. Think what ***holes most lawyers are at home, always determined to win, defeat the opponent utterly. They need wives who needlepoint reminder cushions that say "Do you want to be happy or be right?"
On the effectiveness of meds: I grew up taking care of an invalid mother who could not be helped by all the doctors and meds that money could buy. I learned in youth, soothing the inconsolable, that a reassuring voice, gentle hand, cool water, and repeated assurances that "this will make you feel much better very soon" worked. In high school,I discovered that this was called the placebo effect. I use this to this day in taking care of sick children and hypochondriacal husband. No harm done.
Healing is about a healing relationship as much as it is about meds. Even magic bullet meds (and there are some) work better when administered with love and compassion. MDs who had loving mommies, or who had to be parental figures to sick mommies, know this and it makes them better doctors.
ach, I would love to have you people in my neighborhood. Such lucid sensitivity about the coarse, confused, disorganized hairball called 'the person'.
"Humankind cannot bear very much reality," Eliot said. That's why we have dreams and God and love to sustain us. Even a love that never was and never will be can be a light in the darkness. As a love that always was and saved us and will save us yet is. We love because He first loved us.
Somber, planning a funeral, pondering dust to dust, but the earth is not our final resting place.
Thanks, BL. No atheists in foxholes, I guess. To sleep now, perchance to dream...
i wuz dun tawt dat a gud caning solve a bad attitude. iff'n that don't git it then a good chicken coop clean out with about five yurs worth a buildup wud bring a fella around to be'n more agreeable.
Now my uncle, well he dun worked at the post office and owed a farm and he taught them things. says he conjured from experience and be'n thoughty about behav'nor. h'ed git it on big time after sum corn liqour and wildwood weed.
died young thou when he slud off da barn roof.
Then again, a former supervisor tells the tale of how when he was 12 his dad said "Now you are a man" and gave him a hatchet and told him to kill 200 of the family chickens on a stump out back for market. My supervisor obediently did as he was told, and vowed silently never to become a farmer, and went on to seminary and to become a wise, gentle and compassionate chaplain...No problems with his attitude...
Shoot, I knowed he uz agonna slud ofen at roof. Hit twar pitched up too steep un angle, i tole him at when he wuz abuildin it. but wood he lissen? nawwww.
I know a man whose brother is in jail for murdering his sister. This man then chose a "unique","liberal arts", "distance education" program at a private school right in the center of town. He taught himself psychology. His only child--a son acts,speaks, and thinks so robotic it is terrifying. The faculty have lied about his "academic" qualifications--poor guy such a troubled family. He is now practicing family therapy, for which his credentials are fraudulent. He went on to become a part time lecturer at the same "university". One day he was part time lecturer--next day he was academic dean (tribal connections). From simple, mild victim one day--to brutal barbarian the next. His "real" accomplishment in the world of Psychology is that he once wrote a paper for a conference such as yours. His paper was recognized as the most perfectly organized in terms of the criteria for APA. In the state where this guy practices, there are no "really enforced" rules about certification. Everyone who thinks they are one--gets to practice!