Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Oct 20, 2019

“I feel that I bring analytic love and receive love from my clients in abundance and that is very much a part of the necessary frame for the work that we do, and by frame I do mean analytic frame as well as a frame of relatedness.”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Linda Emanuel. Dr. Emanuel began her professional career as an internist working with patients who were dying in the early field of palliative medicine. She then did her training at the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis and became a psychoanalyst who continues to provide psychodynamic therapy and analysis for dying patients and their families.

In her work, she discovered a concept that we will discuss today called “existential maturity”. Most of us have experienced death with those we were close to. We can only hope that the people who cared for our loved ones and will care for us eventually will have the existential maturity that we will learn about in today’s interview.


Key takeaways:

[4:45] Dr. Linda Emanuel explains the concept of existential maturity.

[9:49] People die as they lived.

[11:01] Working with the families of dying patients.

[12:20] How early attachments continue to impact later life.

[13:48] The subject of love and death.

[15:35] Analytic love.

[18:19] Love experienced by the person who is dying and by the one who is about to lose someone.

[18:43] Love as a sense of continuity.

[19:05] Love can make staring at mortality bearable.

[19:43] Dr. Linda Emanuel talks about her transition from being an internist to a psychoanalyst.

[23:23] Differences between working as an internist to working as an analyst.

[25:17] When a person is dealing with mortality they go through the phases of termination.

[25:50] People are not afraid of death, they are afraid of dying.

[29:15] Dr. Linda Emanuel presents two cases.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:


Ernest Becker (1973) The Denial of Death Free Press


Yalom Irvin (1980)  Existential Psychotherapy Basic Books (1980)


Sheldon Solomon S, Greenberg J, Pyszczynki T. (2015) The Worm at the Core. Random House


Emanuel L, Reddy N, Hauser J, Sonnenfeld S. And yet it was a blessing: the case for existential

maturity. J Pall Med 2017 20 (4): 318-327.