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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

May 10, 2019

“A psychoanalytic consultant is really the enemy of people ignoring the role that the unconscious has in their lives, just denying that there is an unconscious effect on their rationally selected behavior. I strongly believe that the interferences from the unconscious can be minimized by a consultant, just as we can minimize the irrational influence on patients in our work with mental illness.”


Description: Steven S. Rolfe welcomes Dr. David Sachs to this episode. Dr. David Sachs is the Clinical Professor of Mental Health Sciences Emeritus, at Hahnemann University and a training and supervisory analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He was chair of the American Psychoanalytic Association Committee on New Training Facilities from 1976 to 1984, Vice President of the APA from 1995 to 1997, and IPA New Training and Facilities member and chair from 1993 to 2012.


Dr. David Sachs is one of our pioneers, he has worked off the couch from a relatively early time in his career and we will hear today about how his interest in business and organizational consulting grew and was deeply influenced by his training and experience as a psychoanalyst.


Key takeaways:

[3:15] How Dr. David Sachs’ training and experience prepared him to consult with businesses.

[4:00] Analyst’s skills applied to consulting with people in the business world.

[5:17] How Dr. Sachs views have shifted about Psychoanalysis over the years.

[7:03] Difference between analysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in consulting to businesses.

[9:10] How Dr. Sachs colleagues responded to his interest in applied psychoanalysis.

[14:40] Example in which Dr. Sachs applied psychoanalytic ideas to a corporate consultation.

[21:04] How Dr. Sachs consulting experience has influenced his career as a psychoanalyst.

[22:15] Supervision similarities in business consulting and psychoanalysis.

[24:52] Kind of problems Dr. Sachs has addressed as a consultant.

[29:40] Psychoanalytic business consulting provides people the opportunity to discover hidden irrational interest that prevent them from reaching their goals.

[32:08] Dr. Sachs’ thoughts about the future for applied psychoanalysis.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:

Esman, Aaron, "What is Applied in Applied Psychoanalysis”, 1988 International Journal of Psycho-Anal79:741-752


Sachs, David , “Lost Leaders: A Psychoanalytic Business Consultation”.In The Perverse Transference and Other Matters  Ed  Jorge Ahumada, Jorge Olagara, Arlene Kramer Richards Arnold D Richards.  Jason Aronson Press. 2009


Sachs, David “The Patient as a Universe of One”. In Schon,Donald The Reflective Practitioner, Basic Books, Inc 1983


Zaleznik, A., Executive's guide to understanding people: How Freudian Theory can turn Good Executives into Better Leaders, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.


Zaleznik, A., The Managerial Mystique: Restoring Leadership in Business, New York: Harper & Row, 1989


Zaleznik, A., Hedgehogs and Foxes : Character, Leadership, and Command in Organizations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.