One Woman’s Encounters With Psychoanalysis

New York Times contributing writer Daphne Merkin has just published a piece in the New York Times magazine, chronicling her encounters with numerous psychotherapists – primarily psychoanalysts – over four and a half decades.  As Merkin puts it,

To this day, I’m not sure that I am in possession of substantially greater self-knowledge than someone who has never been inside a therapist’s office. What I do know, aside from the fact that the unconscious plays strange tricks and that the past stalks the present in ways we can’t begin to imagine, is a certain language, a certain style of thinking that, in its capacity for reframing your life story, becomes — how should I put this? — addictive. Projection. Repression. Acting out. Defenses. Secondary compensation. Transference. Even in these quick-fix, medicated times, when people are more likely to look to Wellbutrin and life coaches than to the mystique-surrounded, intangible promise of psychoanalysis, these words speak to me with all the charged power of poetry, scattering light into opaque depths, interpreting that which lies beneath awareness. Whether they do so rightly or wrongly is almost beside the point.


2 thoughts on “One Woman’s Encounters With Psychoanalysis

  1. clarespark says:

    This article by Daphne Merkin was unreadable. Surely there must be some more trenchant way of evaluating the efficacy of psychotherapy and medications in the treatment of depression. She appeared to bring no social context or even self-awareness of herself as a creature in history. More navel gazing by a New York female of a certain age. She is suffering, but without self-knowledge or social knowledge. What a terrible comment on her education and cultural milieu.

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