Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Psychoanalysis - On the Front Lines of the Experience of Reality

It has been my experience and observation that personal pain, unexpressed and unshared, is a root cause of much malaise and suffering in the world. To the extent this can be remedied on a personal level, people can experience more freedom and become more empathic, kind and caring individuals.

To the extent that analysands can explore there own misery and suffering, share and express their pain, psychoanalysis is a tool to provide more freedom, empathy and kindness in the world.

I believe the potential collective amount of suffering in the world is boundless. It can be limitless. It is relative and thus can always improve or decline.

Thus I see psychoanalysts on the frontlines of pushing the collective experience of life in one direction or another. It's the only school of therapy I've surveyed that gives people a chance to explore deep misery and pain.

Throughout history, we have observed enormous human tragedy inflicted on humanity by it's own participants. Hitler, for example, was a person who had intense pain buried within, unshared and unaddressed (Dorpat, 2007). We all know the incredible misery he inflicted upon mankind.

Humans alone among all species (Becker, 1971) must confront their own mortality. This painful truth had led many to run from reality and lead quiet lives of misery. Projected fear of mortality has lead to all manner of collective abuse, collective denial and maladaptive behavior on a societal level.

Just as the personal experience of reality can be profoundly changed by confronting one's own deepest fears and pain, so too can the collective experience of reality be profoundly changed.

Psychoanalysis has incredible potential for humankind. Suffering is here to stay for homo sapiens. How we express it, constructively or destructively, is entirely our collective choice. As a tool for meaningful social change, psychoanalysis is the most promising frontier for mankind. Analysts and analysands alike stand at the frontlines of our collective pain and suffering.

As a tool for fighting poverty, I think psychoanalysis may be a potent tool. As a tool for alleviating social stratification and collective alienation, psychoanalysis may be the best we can offer ourselves.

All this assumes that psychoanalysis is performed with patience, respect and kindness. No school of thought has a monopoly on these traits. It also assumes that psychoanalysis can become less of a tool of, by and for those of great means, insomuch as it is just that.

Finally, I do believe psychoanalysis has an unparalleled modern voice of kindness and reason, a light that points it in the right direction. I humbly suggest this voice is that of the late Dr. Theo L. Dorpat. It is my hope that I can send as many clinicians and patients alike straight to his works. I firmly believe Dr. Dorpat shows us all the way forward to 'a more peaceful, just, and verdant society.'

-- Tim LaDuca

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