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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jan 12, 2020

Attachment theory is a psychoanalytic theory that extended its field to the neurosciences, to clinical trials, and to behavioral observations such as going to the schools and seeing teachers and children together. We can observe children's' behavior and use psychoanalytic theory to understand them allowing us to detect problems even in infancy.”


Description: Dr. Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Humberto Persano. Dr. Persano is a psychiatrist and an adult and child psychoanalyst at the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association where he is a training and supervising analyst. In addition, Dr. Persano has been appointed the Director of Mental Health Services for the City of Buenos Aires. Dr. Persano is a full professor in Psychology and Nutrition in the School of Medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. He is as well the author of The Importance of Psychodynamic Diagnoses in Patients with Severe Mental Illness, and he was also a collaborator on the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, second edition. Drs. Persano and Schwartz have worked together on the IPA in Health Committee. Dr. Persano shares in today’s interview how his roles as both a psychoanalyst and as a mental health administrator interact with each other and how he applies his psychoanalytic thoughts and knowledge on a large scale


Key takeaways:

[4:44]What does being the Mental Health Director of the city of Buenos Aires entail?

[9:04] Dr. Persano talks about his mentors.

[9:54] Dr. Persano describes Buenos Aires’ main features (population, geography, hospitals)

[11:07] Buenos Aires counts with four public psychiatric hospitals and seven psychiatric units in general hospitals.

[12:13] There is a need in Buenos Aires to create more mental health units in general hospitals in order not to stigmatize people suffering from mental disorders.

[15:10] Dr. Persano talks about his professional background.

[17:14] The relationship between psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

[20:55] Dr. Persano talks about the attachment behavior in the transference process.

[25:35] Dr. Persano shares an example on attachment of his work in the early 90's.

[30:40] Dr. Persano talks about a research that was conducted in Sweden about the role of a psychotherapist in the long term psychic organization of the patient.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:

Beutel, M. E., Rasting, M., Stuhr, U., Rüger, B., & Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. (2004). Assessing the impact of psychoanalysis and long-term psychoanalytic therapies on health care utilization and costs. Psychotherapy Research, 14(2), 146-160.


Fonagy, P. (2018). Attachment theory and psychoanalysis. Routledge.


Lingiardi, V., & McWilliams, N. (Eds.). (2017). Psychodynamic diagnostic manual: PDM-2. Guilford Publications.


Persano, H. L. El mundo de la Salud Mental en la Práctica Clínica. Editorial Akadia, Buenos Aires, 2018.


Sandell, R., Blomberg, J., Lazar, A., Carlsson, J., Broberg, J., & Schubert, J. (2000).Varieties of Long-Term Outcome Among Patients in Psychoanalysis and Long-Term Psychotherapy: A Review of Findings in the Stockholm Outcome of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Project International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(5), 921-942.