Thursday, March 25, 2021

Journal of Medieval Scholasticism: Can You Be Psychoanalyzed Over Zoom?

photo portrait of Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt (1921)

Remember psychoanalysis, the form of psychotherapy where the patient lay on the couch with his doctor rarely saying anything? Remember how Viagra was accidentally discovered as a treatment for E.D. when patients who had been treated for Angina displayed erections? Psychoanalysis turned out to be a sleep inducer for patients and doctors suffering from insomnia. Patients could never be sure, but one of the ways you knew your doctor might be sleeping through a session was the sound of soft snoring, which you may have conveniently defended yourself against; conversely from the patient’s point of view, your doctor might as well have intoned “nighty night” as you prepared to lie down looking forward to the prospect of 50 minutes of sleep. Nothing like the feeling of safety that came from having someone sleeping in back of you. And this would have gone on for years (a la Freud's Analysis Terminable and Interminable from l937) if it weren’t for the pandemic  Sure your analyst might simply turn off his video function as you lie down on your sofa and drift off, but the protected feeling of having the other body looking over you would be lost. Then there are the interactions and bodily responses like skin respiration, flatulence and yes tumescence which are often the products of free associating in the moments when a patient is not sleeping? And what about the much-vaunted transference? How are you going to fall in love with anyone when one or both of you are muted?

Read "As I Lay Down" by Francis Levy, illustrated by Hallie Cohen, Noise

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