Nirvana

Today I discovered a really phenomenal music group called Nirvana. Wow, people,  that’s really good music.

Of course, 30 minutes later I discovered that the lead singer died a bizillion years ago. And got very sad. I had already started planning to go to a concert.

Please,  don’t laugh. I have a weird relationship with music.

Questions on Psychoanalysis

Reader n8chz (whose great blog you can’t find here) left some good questions about psychoanalysis that I want to address sin a separate post:

Psychoanalysis somehow seems expensive, but that’s because I’ve been told (perhaps by people I shouldn’t listen to) that real psychoanalysis is at least three 50-minute hours a week for something like five years, at with a practitioner with an MD, plus psychiatry residency, plus being psychoanalyzed, plus training in psychoanalsyis.

Today, most analysts refuse to do more than one hour-long session per week. I could go into details as to why they have departed from the Freudian model of four 40-minute sessions per week but I don’t want to bore. Suffice it to say, that these days hardly anybody practices this way. In extreme cases, an analyst might offer (and reluctantly, at that) two sessions per week for a short period of time. This is normally done when the analysand is in an acute stage. Four sessions per week are maybe suggested for people with terminal cancer or something as tragic and urgent.

Psychoanalysts don’t hold MDs, they don’t study psychiatry, they can’t and don’t want to prescribe drugs. The very words “doctor” and “psychiatry” make them wince. Psychoanalysis was born out of a rejection of psychiatry. Of course, there are analysts who follow Freud’s journey of studying psychiatry, getting massively disillusioned with it for obvious reasons, and switching to psychoanalysis. 

Here is the kind of training a psychoanalyst needs to get to be considered one: 

1. full personal psychoanalysis (at least once but often twice.)

2. assisting a practicing analyst.

3. constant and ongoing supervision.

The number of hours any individual analysand will require depends on:

1. the goal s/he wants to achieve. 

2. the readiness of the analysand to solve his or her problems.

3. the analysand’s capacity to relinquish control and break out of the intellectual rut.

4. the analysand’s familiarity with the procedure. 

Usually, the first 6 months of analysis are all about breaking through the very typical resistance structures. As we discussed before, psyche values nothing above stability and will cling to what is bad but familiar. 

The technique of psychoanalysis is “supportive frustration.” While a psychotherapist consoles and comforts, an analyst will gently try to frustrate you during every session (except when you are in extreme distress.) If you don’t feel the need to say, “Oh my God, my analyst is so annoying!”, something is not going right.

The Perception of a Crisis

The economy of the US recovered from the global economic crisis of 2007-9 brilliantly. Unemployment rates dropped off a cliff, Western Europe is enviously eyeing “the American economic miracle,” the most underdeveloped regions of the US have gone back to full-scale constructions, expensive chic restaurants started mushrooming even in our small town in the middle of nowhere, job recruitment agencies are overworked and overwhelmed, etc.

However, the American people don’t seem to be happy. They went to the polls two weeks ago to show their discontent to the president who walked the country out of a crisis that is still ravaging other developed countries. There are constant reports that the general public believes we are still in a recession and does not notice any improvements in the economy.

Are the American people simply stupid? Can they not see how different today’s economy is from what we were all experiencing in 2008 and 2009?

No, of course, they are not stupid. The American people have a deep-seated and completely justified suspicion that the old world order is gone for good. The economic crisis of the 2008 is gone in terms of the economy but it is still very much here in every other sense. The Great Recession coincided with the moment in time when it became completely clear to everybody that there was a massive transformation underway of both the global world order and the structure of the nation-state. Since there is no public discussion of this enormous tectonic shift, people are verbalizing their preoccupation through the familiar language of recession and unbalanced budgets. 

The conscience of crisis remains even after the unemployment rates have climbed down. This would be a great time to talk about what is really going on and why we feel like the crisis is only beginning. However, what is the likelihood that anybody will put aside the comforting party slogans to look for new terminology that will be relevant to the new reality?