Popular Psychoanalytic Blogs

The Difference Between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

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Whether you are seeking mental health treatment or training to become a mental health provider, you will encounter many different approaches to therapy. It can be confusing to tell the difference between them and to figure out which one is right for you. So, in this post, I’d like to address the question: what is the difference between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis?

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How Novels Help You Grieve

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As the holidays approach, our thoughts often turn to loved ones who are no longer with us. For those of us who have not been able to more fully grieve our losses, this may be especially difficult—and may catch us unaware. At times, we can get cut off from feelings related to loss which prevents a natural process of grieving from occurring. Over the years, I have learned it is possible to reconnect with feelings about a lost loved one by spending time with works of fiction because reading novels can help you connect to an emotional experience. I have seen this both in myself and in my patients.

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Sexual Assault Is About Power

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This is the part 1 of a 2-part series on the impact of sexual harassment on mental health.)

All about power

Despite its name, sexual abuse is more about power than it is about sex. Although the touch may be sexual, the words seductive or intimidating, and the violation physical, when someone rapes, assaults, or harasses, the motivation stems from the perpetrator’s need for dominance and control. In heterosexual and same-sex encounters, sex is the tool used to gain power over another person. And as #MeToo attests with heart-breaking clarity, sexual abuse affects children and adolescents as well. 

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People Don’t Still Lie on a Couch, Do They?


The couch has become the iconic symbol of psychoanalysis in cartoons, television, and movies. However, not all therapists, or even all psychoanalysts, use the couch. When you first consult a therapist it is unlikely they will suggest the couch right away. It is an approach that is appropriate for some patients and generally is something that one evolves into. While some mental health professionals' consulting rooms include a couch, only psychoanalysts are extensively trained to use it as an accompaniment to psychoanalytic therapy.

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Sorry, Your Therapist Can’t Be Your Friend

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There’s a force more powerful than free will: our unconscious. Underneath the suits, behind closed doors, we’re all ruled by the same desires. And those desires can be raw, and dark, and deeply shameful.”

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Your Memories Make You Who You Are


Memories make us who we are. They create our worldview in ways we hardly realize. Like a character made of Legos, we’re built of blocks of memory that all fit together to form our consciousness. How can it be otherwise? How can we say hello to someone or lean in to kiss someone new without evoking memories of previous greetings and kisses? The way it feels to be you— your  hopes expectations, and fears— are all built upon what you’ve experienced before.

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Help! My Antidepressants Aren’t Working

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The most current research on depression shows that it is most often caused by a combination of both environmental and genetic factors. Treatment for depression, therefore, works best when it addresses both these factors and takes into account an individual’s unique personal history. A common issue with a medication only approach is that it is a "one size fits all" treatment, when depression is different for everyone.
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Hey, New Dads: Having Scary Thoughts Is Common

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When you think of Father’s Day, what do you think of? Images of outdoor family gatherings, shaving sets, and greeting cards immediately come to mind. Perhaps you think of the men in your life and wonder about who has recently become a father. There’s a very good chance you know a new father—every day over 350,000 men become fathers to a newborn all over the world. Almost all of these men have actively dreamed about what their child and what life would be like for months leading up to the arrival. Dreams of bonding, attaching, and caring for one’s family are ubiquitous on social media and commercials. However, if you look beyond Facebook, you find that the fantasies of many new fathers are often confusing, shameful, and terrifying.

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Helping Kids Understand Frightening Events

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It is impossible to completely shield children from learning about horrific events such as the recent terrorist bombing in Manchester, England. The pervasive and repetitive news coverage of these frightening events, particularly on cable news programs, news flashes on our iPads and cell phones, and on social media makes them impossible to completely avoid. In general, children, especially young children, should be shielded by insuring as much as possible that they avoid watching these events on TV and mobile screens.

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Six Elements of All “Talking Cures”

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When faced with an array of psychotherapies, it is difficult to know what’s right for you. Psychoanalysis? Psychodynamic PsychotherapyCognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? Gestalt Therapy

They are all so very different, right?

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Freud Is Everywhere

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Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856. He'd be 161 today.

Freud revolutionized the understanding and treatment of mental disorders. He created the psychoanalytic theory of personality. But beyond this, he profoundly changed our understanding of humanity, thought and culture. Freud, like Darwin, disturbed the sleep of the world by revealing hitherto unpalatable, but fundamental, truths about human nature. Contested and criticized, Freudian theory still permeates Western culture and scholarship. Modern neuroscience confirms Freud’s insight that most of mental life takes place outside of awareness. That the sexual drive and aggressive impulses are inseparable from human thought and action has been generally acknowledged. Though inevitably subject to continuing advances and modification, Freud's basic formulations about the functioning of the human mind have stood the test of time.

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Psychoanalysis? Is That Still Around? 


Scene: Overheard conversation between two diners at a neighborhood restaurant. 

Q: What kind of work do you do?
A: I'm a psychoanalyst.

Q: I thought that was dead. Who can afford to go lie on a couch five times a week where the shrink hardly speaks and nothing happens? And wasn’t Freud proven wrong anyway – they should have called him Fraud. Also, I’ve heard that it’s painful. Who needs that?A: OK. I get your point and I can see where you’re coming from. But here’s what you might want to know. For starters, yes, psychoanalysis is still around. And yes, it can be expensive. But you’d be surprised at the availability of low-cost treatments. And many analysts believe that the frequency is a decision for the analyst and patient to make together.

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Why Do Millennials Get a Bad Rap?

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Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are often derided by older generations as selfie-stick wielding, “Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s”-watching, soft-in-the-middle whiners.  Surely the stereotypes of Millennials as entitled, self-centered, and shallow are a distortion and misrepresentation of an entire generation of people. So how do we account for this bum rap on Millennials?

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Can You Lie to Your Lover?


Lately we find that truth-telling at the highest levels of power cannot be taken for granted. This disturbing reality, however, presents a valuable opportunity to think about the consequences of dissembling in our personal relationships.

Some years ago, I fell asleep behind the couch while conducting a session of psychoanalytic therapy. My patient, a young man I’ll call Michael, turned around and caught me with my eyes closed.

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3 Myths About Men and Eating Disorders 

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  1. Only teenage white girls get eating disorders
  2. Male eating disorders are a new phenomenon
  3. Only gay men struggle with their body image

All these statements are false.

The reality is, eating disorders impact people of all races, ages, and genders, regardless of sexual orientation.   It is estimated that 10 million men suffer from a clinically diagnosable eating disorder.

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Psychosomatic? No, my Stomach Really Hurts!






I’m a psychoanalyst, and today’s post is brought to you by this stomachache I have! My wife says I’m being psychosomatic. Maybe. But what does that even mean? Why would I want to make my stomach hurt? And could I, if I wanted to?

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Psychoanalysis Unplugged: Let the Music Begin!





MTV Unplugged, a program first aired in 1989, highlighted well-established rock musicians performing in non-traditional ways, typically playing their songs on acoustic guitar or piano. Inspired by informal jam sessions and concerts by notable performers like Elvis, The Beatles and Pete Townsend, Unplugged came to be embraced as a more casual and intimate way to listen music

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