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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jun 7, 2020

One can actually teach development using literature by Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown - all of these great authors of children’s literature. What I have done is created a course where these are paired with case reports from the child psychoanalytic literature, so one hears directly the experience, the words, the play of children of every age and their proximate developmental sequence.


Description: Dr. Steven Rolfe welcomes Dr. Lawrence Blum who is a teacher and supervisor at the Anthropology and Psychiatry departments of the University of Pennsylvania where he is co-director of the undergraduate minor in Psychoanalytic Studies. He’s received many teaching awards including the Edith Sabshin Award of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Blum has written articles on the application of psychoanalytic ideas to a variety of topics in psychiatry, society, and culture, where psychoanalytic ideas are useful and have been underutilized. In addition to publications in professional journals, Dr. Blum’s articles use psychoanalytic ideas to explore social and cultural phenomena such as guns and violence, voter behavior and even the federal budget. They have appeared in Clinical Psychiatry News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Psychiatric Times. His most recent work is centered on his teaching Freud and Psychoanalysis to college students and to professionals which is the subject of today’s podcast.


Key takeaways:

[5:05] Dr. Blum shares how his passion for teaching developed.

[6:55] Differences between teaching candidates and undergraduates.

[11:50] Dr. Blum talks about how he developed the program at the University of Pennsylvania.

[15:50] How are different developmental phases experienced in other parts of the world?

[18:28] Changing the focus of psychoanalytic teaching.

[20:46] The advantages of using children’s literature and paired it with case reports from the child’s psychoanalytic literature.

[22:55] Dr. Blum talks about the blog: Psyche on Campus.

[24:10] Dr. Blum explains how he introduces Freud to the undergraduates.

[28:50] Dr. Blum talks about his publications in American Imago.

[30:33] How do students react in general to Freud, psychoanalysis, and psychoanalytic ideas and how they handle the idea of introspection.

[34:23] How has COVID-19 affected the teaching-learning experience?

[37:11] DSM can be used to teach psychoanalytic ideas.

[39:11] Why kids like dinosaurs can only be answered using psychoanalytic ideas.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:

Teaching Freud, Teaching Psychoanalysis: From College Students to Professionals (2018). American Imago, Vol. 75, No. 2.


DSM Fantasies, Psychiatric Times, XXX, No. 4, April 2013. Also available here:


Physicians' Goodness and Guilt Emotional Challenges of Medical Practice. JAMA Internal Medicine, 179:5, 2019. Published online April 8, 2019. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0428


Doctors and Guilt, Psychology Today, Lawrence D. Blum M.D.


See also a blog about teaching psychoanalysis to college students


Addresses to Dr. Blum's blog and web site, which have a number of articles oriented to presenting psychoanalytic ideas to non-analyst, are here: and here: