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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jun 14, 2020

In Western countries there was a certain reduction in the importance of the father. I think there is a confusion here between the importance of the father or at least the father function with the authoritarian father, the patriarchal father, that figure that arouses so much suspicion and reactions against.”


Description: Dr. Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Claudio Laks Eizirik who is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Porto Alegre Psychoanalytic Society in Brazil. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, former president of the IPA and the recipient of The Sigourney Award in 2011. Currently, he is chair of the IPA’s International New Groups Committee. His main areas of interest are psychoanalytic training and practice, the process of aging, and the relation of psychoanalysis and culture.


In today’s episode, Dr. Eizirik dives deep into the meaning of the fathering function, which exists in our minds and later emerges in our analysis, and also exists in the political sphere, both in our national politics and in the capacity of our leaders. Dr. Eizirik evidences a life built upon the richness of this fathering function.


Key takeaways:

[6:14] Dr. Eizirik talks about the health and the political health currently in Brazil.

[9:05] The reaction of the psychoanalytic community in Brazil to the pandemic and the current political situation.

[10:56] Psychoanalysis is seen as a living force in the Brazilian current scene.

[12:29] The fathering function in the office and how it applies politically.

[15:24] The role of the father has been neglected by psychoanalysis due to the emphasis in the relationship between mother and baby.

[16:15] The confusion between the father principle with the authoritarian father.

[18:25] Winnicott’s meaning for the word “democracy”.

[19:40] We are seeing in many countries the presence of leaders who don´t understand the role of a father, someone who inspires, leads, shows empathy and compassion, and instead take an authoritarian stance.

[21:44] How does the father function live in the minds of daughters and sons?

[24:26] Dr. Eizirik shares disguised clinical material.

[29:55] How is Dr.Eizirik sustains himself during this crisis.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:

Eizirik, CL ( 2020) Uma vez mais, ‘ O OVO da Serpente” ? ( Once again, “The serpent`s egg “?) Observatório Psicanalítico, Federação Brasileira de Psicanálise.


Eizirik, CL, Foresti, G. ( 2019) Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry: Partners and Competitors in the Mental Health Field,IPA/ Routledge, London and New York


Eizirik, CL ( 2018) Contemporary developments and challenges of analytic training and practice. In Tylim, I and Harris, A ( editors) Reconsidering the Moveable Frame in Psychoanalysis, Routledge, London and New York


Eizirik, CL, Falcão, L. and Libermann, Z. ( 2018 )The death drive and the work of the negative in André Green´s work: metapsychology, clinical practice, and culture. In Reed, G. and Levine, H. André Green Revisited.IPA/ Routledge, London and New York.


Eizirik, CL ( 2015) The Father, the Father Function, the Father Principle: Some Contemporary Psychoanalytic Developments, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, volume LXXXIV, n 2:335-350