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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Apr 26, 2020

In this period with the Coronavirus and even during the wars, I don’t think that the relationship between me and the patient is symmetric even if we have to face the same external dangers. The relationship continues to be asymmetric - I manage the treatment, I decide the setting, I continue to be the analyst.”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Yael Samuel who is a Training Analyst at the Israeli Psychoanalytic Society. Dr. Samuel works full time in private practice as an analyst in Tel Aviv and is a member of the training committee in charge of the new candidates, programs, and teaching. Dr. Samuel is also the Co-Founder and Manager of the nonprofit organization called Lechol Nefesh, “For Every Soul,” which is a program designed to bring psychoanalytic psychotherapy to a larger population of often psychotic patients. As part of this program for the past seven years Dr. Samuel has been managing a treatment unit in a psychiatric hospital. Dr. Yael Samuel is the Israeli Psychoanalytic Society representative to the Congress of French Psychoanalytic Speakers and works along with Harvey Schwartz on the IPA in Health Committee.


In today’s conversation, Dr. Samuel shares her unique Israeli perspective on facing this crisis, as Israeli analysts have faced many crises before as a consequence of the wars they have been through. She shares some dramatic examples of the prior trauma they had to deal with as analysts in the analyst-patient dyad.


Key takeaways:

[7:45] Dr. Yael Samuel talks about what life is currently like in Israel.

[9:12] Israeli people are used to obeying when it is time to protect themselves.

[11:25] Israeli people have an app that shows if you have been in contact with someone infected by COVID-19.

[13:07] The response of the analytic community in Israel to the COVID-19 outbreak.

[15:28] There are a lot of groups and forums organized by psychoanalysts.

[16:05] Dr. Yael shares how the transition was to working with patients in an online modality.

[17:19] Dr. Yael talks about a difficult moment she experienced in her practice with one of her patients.

[20:01] Struggles that may arise in phone sessions with different patients.

[22:18] Real vs metaphoric.

[23:20] Dr. Yael talks about her work on a unit designed for psychotic patients.

[25:50] Dr. Yael talks about the asymmetry in the relationship with the patient.

[27:50] Dr. Yael confesses to being less frightened by the COVID-19 infection than by the war.

[30:08] What sustains Dr. Yael during this current crisis?


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch