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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Oct 1, 2023

"I made a film for PepWeb on the research of Beatrice Beebe. I made the video for her picture book, The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book, and various other short films. These are deep dives into mother-infant dyads that reveal something, i.e. rupture and repair, various kinds of dyadic interchanges. These are available for free on YouTube. That's another way that I use my analytic self and my documentary maker self together. I'm much happier with the YouTube films  even though they're less produced because they reach a wide audience - they are for parents, not clinicians. I want to get the story of this way of thinking or various ways of working, or psychoanalysis itself out to the greater public because I’m such an evangelizer for it. It changed my life in so many ways, and I think it's a very different animal than what the wider world (if they've heard of it at all) thinks that it is - it’s so alive these days, so integrative, and so worthy of letting people know.” 


Episode Description: We began with Karen sharing with us her journey from documentary filmmaker to psychoanalyst. She discusses her immersion in the world of cinema verité - "a camera capturing life" - as the pathway that brought her to train in psychoanalysis. We consider the similarities and differences between these ways of thinking and how she feels that for her, they are additive in deepening her listening abilities. She describes her films of Beatrice Beebe's work, how she serves as a consultant to filmmakers, and how she often treats those in the field, especially in regard to their (over)involvement with trauma. We close with Karen's recommendations for using YouTube to let the wider community know about psychoanalysis.

Our Guest:

Karen Dougherty is a Psychoanalyst (FIPA) and documentary filmmaker. She has an MA in English Literature (McGill) and an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies (University of Sheffield). She is a clinical supervisor and course instructor at the FPP and the Advanced Training Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, with a particular focus on attachment, relationship issues, and trauma. In addition to her private practice in rural Amaranth, Ontario, Karen is the host of the podcast for the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society, Conversations in Psychoanalysis. Since 2022, she has been a member of the IPA Think Tank on the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, for which she produces a YouTube Channel. The recipient of a PEPweb video grant, she has made several films on the research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe for clinicians and parents. She continues to collaborate on documentary projects as a researcher and story consultant (recent films include Toxic Beauty; Category: Woman, both directed by Phyllis Ellis). Bridging these two careers, Karen is both a communications consultant for psychoanalytic organizations and a mental health consultant for film and television.


Linked Episode:

Episode 97: Off the Couch and into the Political Arena with John, Lord Alderdice FRCPsych – IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Links:


Karen Dougherty 


The CPS podcast will be accessed through the CPS website.


The PEPweb citation for the documentary for clinicians:

Dougherty, K., Beebe, B., Margolis, A., Altstein, R., Berman, J. & Mathieson, G. (2016) Mother-Infant Communication: The Research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe. PEP Video Grants 1:11.


Beebe, Dr. Beatrice, prod., Dougherty, K., dir. “Joining Your Baby’s Distress Moments: A Story of One Mother and Infant”:


“Decoding Mother-Infant Interaction: A Story of One Mother and Infant,” the first two of a series of short films for parents showcasing the research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe:


Allan King, The Criterion Collection


Allan King, Queens University Film and Media Collection


Allan King’s Warrendale, a “direct cinema” documentary about a home for emotionally disturbed children in Toronto: