Nov 27, 2022
“When I first started teaching it was most often done through theory, and teaching these complicated words with hard-to-understand concepts. It never made sense to me, to be honest, as a student myself. So, when I began teaching, I would tell stories whether they were about my own life or about my children as a way to express the idea of whatever the concept was. I found that the students became so engaged and interested, and it made sense to them. I think it also made it less frightening when they heard these diagnoses and different terms that scared them. Whatever the concept was I wanted to normalize it and let everyone know that these are experiences we all have. I think it works well for teaching and it’s been fun when I run into a student even 25 years later who says: ‘Oh! I remember that story.” – KM
“Students are overwhelmed with how much they are learning; they want to know what to say - looking for a kind of formula for that. I think the stories help to show how many different kinds of situations one can encounter with the work and what is happening in the course of a day and how spontaneous an intervention might be. When you are talking about learning to play a musical instrument rather than the theory, we are also learning to listen to the music. I think the stories offer a way of learning how to listen in the layers that an analyst does.” – AA
Episode Description: We begin by outlining the challenges we face in teaching an affective process while focusing on conceptual abstractions. It's akin to teaching how to play a musical instrument by studying music theory - both are important, but theory won't teach musicality. Kerry and Anne use storytelling as a vehicle to demonstrate the dynamic process as it lives in our everyday lives. We learn from the lessons in the stories as well as from learning to listen to the melodies. They each read their stories and we consider the presence of manifest and latent meanings in what we hear. We are also alerted to the essential role of the therapist's personal responses to the clinical material and with that the childhood memories that are often evoked. We close with their sharing with us something of their backgrounds that have led them to this work as well their involvement in the New Directions in Writing program.
Our Guests: Anne Adelman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Training Analyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and the Contemporary Freudian Society. She is the co-editor of the JAPA book review section and launched a feature column called 'Why I write’. She is co-chair of the New Directions in Writing program and maintains a private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Her books include Psychoanalytic Reflections on Parenting Teens and Young Adults: Changing Patterns of Modern Love, Loss, and Longing (2018), The Therapist in Mourning: From Faraway Nearby with Kerry Malawista (2013) and Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories, with Kerry Malawista and Catherine Anderson (2011), When the Garden Isn’t Eden (2022).
Kerry L. Malawista, Ph.D. is a training and supervising analyst at the Contemporary Freudian Society and a Board Member at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. She is co-chair of New Directions in Writing and founder of the recent project The Things They Carry – offering virtual writing workshops for healthcare and frontline workers across the country. She is permanent faculty at the Contemporary Freudian Society and teaches widely. Her essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and The Boston Globe, to name a few. She is the co-author of The Therapist in Mourning: From Faraway Nearby with Kerry Malawista (2013), Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories,(2011), When the Garden Isn’t Eden (2022), and Who’s Behind the Couch (2017,). Her first novel Meet the Moon was released in September 2022.