Thursday, January 20, 2022

Challenging the Limits of Free Speech in the Therapeutic Encounter

photo: Nick Gripton

And now comes the question, what are the limits of free speech in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy? What is the equivalent of “crying fire in a crowded theater” when it comes to the couch? If a person pays a therapist, does that mean they can say whatever they want? Can a patient treat a therapist like a writer whose submissions are tantamount to excretion? Can you come into the office and tell your doctor that you want to make him your  bitch. Chaturbate? Paying a lawyer’s hourly fee doesn’t mean that you can talk dirty to her, but psychoanalysis deals with the realm of the imagination. It’s opposite to the kind of behavior modification that goes on in cognitive therapy. After all free association is self-explanatory? If you want to treat the couch as your crib and begin to scream and cry for your parents to come that’s your prerogative. Back in the old days Times Square was filled with peep show boothes that were very much like confessionals. It’s surprising that with all the instant therapy being trumpeted by online services, no one has come up with the idea of a kind of walk-in therapy in which a psychiatrist sits on a stool behind a pane of glass and picks up the phone when you put in your tokens. Imagine a patient telling their practitioner to pull down their pants. Is such a revealing demand something a psychoanalyst would want to suppress? What then is the protocol? Should the therapist end the session or merely ask the patient what they were thinking? Better yet if they’re having a countertransference, should they accede to the demand, drop their pants and see if that produces mental health?

Read "Pornosophy: The Pleasure Principle" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers

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