Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Psychoanalysis - Shrink Rap radio review

My old favorite podcast, to which I am no longer able to keep the pace is Shrink Rap Radio. The psychology interview and talk show is cranking out issues at least once a week and maintains a remarkable high quality standard. Host David van Nuys is not only a good psychologist both scientific and in practice, but also a very professional podcaster with a great radio voice.

The 144th issue of Shrink Rap Radio tackles to good old, ancient ground of psychology, psychoanalysis. (Funny that my previous post should have been about a history podcast featuring Freud) Dr. Dave's guest is Fern W. Cohen a psychoanalyst who wrote the book From Both Sides of the Couch ... Reflections of a Psychoanalyst, Daughter, Tennis Player and Other Selves. Both in the book and in the interview she explains the development of psychoanalysis by Freud's followers into a direction which gives more and more attention to early child development and the relationship with the parent. She divulges her own relationship with her father, her admiration, her attempts of getting close to him and in a way to imitate him.

This is where psychoanalysis can help and Cohen makes a strong plea for serious in-depth analysis; the kind that has fallen out of fashion completely: three to five sessions a week for years on end. Dr. Dave mentions this has become nearly impossible unless you are very rich and willing to pay, for insurance is vying for the short term solutions. Cohen acknowledges, that the short term solutions can get people back on track, but claims that it takes much more intensive treatment to deepen the process and will do more than just get the patient back on track. She sort of paints a picture of people in need of a transformation, a growth, rather than a couple of skills to keep their neuroses in check and maintain a civil life.

The thought stuck with me, that although it seems plausible, more need to be done for people in need of mental support, than just to get them back into daily routine. The root of the problem should be treated. However, is that possible? Or in other words: will a shower of attention to the problem, help solve the problem? In any way, both a very personal and a very thought provoking podcast.

NB: This podcast has a transcript available (pdf).

Previous reviews of Shrink Rap Radio:
Conscious Living,
The Happiness Hypothesis,
Sign language for babies,
Doll Work and what with the brain,
Confronting Death (and more).

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