Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Fisher King - IOT

The latest In Our Time sheds its light on the legend of the Fisher King, or rather a continuum over the ages, with each time and place adding its own. It is the legend of a wounded king, who cannot die and in his castle, accompanied by a bleeding spear, waits for cure.

The origins are probably Celtic. The Middle Ages added Christian elements, where the Fisher King also became the guardian of the Grail. The nineteenth century saw a renewed interest in the legend. The fact that it was Celtic, made it purely European (or British for that matter) serving the quest for nationalist identity. Ethnological approach sought the element of fertility in the legend - as fertility was assumed to feature in all primitive tales. And psycho-analytics took the tale to the realm of interpreting human soul. Last but not least, literature took a bite and made its own versions.

The thought that sticks with me is, yet again, how formative the nineteenth century has been. How our concepts and identities were shaped then and lay basis where we can hardly think past today. But that is besides the point. IOT analyzes the legend and it is brilliant as usual.

More In Our Time
The Charge of the Light Brigade,
Albert Camus,
The Nicene Creed,
Four humor medicine,
The Sassanian Empire

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Anxiety and Panic Disorders - Wise Counsel

On the latest issue of Wise Counsel, Dr. David van Nuys interviews David H. Barlow Ph.D. on the Nature and Treatment of Anxiety and Panic Disorders. The rather extensive show notes give a good impression on the subjects discussed. They also link to Dr. Barlow's page on the Boston University web site, though currently that link is broken. will probably fix that soon; until then, at least my link is working.

In short, and much less professionally put than over at, Barlow explains what are fear and anxiety - they are not the same. He explains how they overcome people to the extent of a disorder and what treatment he suggests. His approach is that of clinical psychology, I take this to imply leaning towards psychotherapy rather than medication. Some of the interview is also spent on his evaluation of the current state of clinical psychology in the health systems in general.

Dr. David van Nuys is the excellent interviewer, one hardly notices during the podcast. Nevertheless, he is very instrumental in keeping the show on track, easy to follow, coherent and evenly distributed in focal points. His talents make for the persistent quality of the Wise Counsel podcasts.

Other guests on Wise Counsel were a.o.:
Richard Heimberg,
Tony Madrid,
Francine Shapiro,
Amy Baker,
Marsha Linehan.

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