Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jul 26, 2020

"I don't think you derive technical rules or interpretive strategies from theory. I think that what we do instead is to try to be open-minded, available and resonant with what’s happening in the world of the patient and try to maintain a rich world of associational potentials in the back of our mind"


Description: Dr. Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Robert Michels to today’s episode. Dr. Michels has been a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York. Dr. Michels was the Dean of Cornell University Medical College, Provost for Medical Affairs of Cornell University and was a long-standing Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell.


Dr. Michels has been a leader in psychoanalysis and psychiatry - he is the past President of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, past President of the American College of Psychiatrists and past President of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatrist. In addition to authoring over 350 professional articles, Dr. Michels has also been an active editor - he is a former Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, former Joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and he has served on the editorial boards of the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Psychoanalytic Quarterly among others.


Dr. Michels shares in this episode his exquisite attunement to what takes place in the psychoanalytic dyad, from both the analysand’s and analyst’s perspectives, and how this can be best understood for the benefit and growth of the patient.


Key takeaways:

[5:31] How does psychoanalysis interface with psychiatry and academic medicine?

[11:45] Every discipline has unique characteristics that cannot be understood by other disciplines.

[13:50] Dr. Michels shares his experiences and perspective of the field of psychoanalysis during the past half-century.

[16:45] There is a change in the notion of what we do as psychoanalysts.

[17:35] Dr. Michel talks about not being concerned about being logically inconsistent with a patient.

[19:56] The associative immersion.

[21:01] How to test an intervention.

[22:18] Dr. Michels shares some clinical examples that demonstrate the change in his thinking.

[28:03] Dr.Schwartz shares an example of psychoanalysts working at the beginning of the COVID crisis.

[30:15] Dr. Michels talks about the meaning of a patient’s way to start a session by asking “How are you?” to the therapist in times of pandemic.

[31:36] What is life like for Dr. Michels being at risk in COVID times?


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch