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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Feb 20, 2022

"I'm interested in with what mind and what imagination and thoughts and association one person lives her life. That’s the common thread in all three novels and that is of course what interests me as an analyst practicing psychoanalysis, doing psychoanalytic work. It is also what interests me in terms of psychoanalytic theory, what goes on in the mind? That’s an endlessly fascinating question that I have."  


Episode Description: We consider three expressions of Cordelia's immersion in the world of psychoanalysis - her novels, her theoretical writings, and her work as chair of the IPA in Culture Committee. She shares with us her interest in the minds of her fictional characters especially as they reveal Oedipal struggles. She reads an excerpt that reflects her attunement to conflicts related to seeing - the wish, the taboo, and the punishment. Her theoretical focus is on fine-tuning Freud's notion of aggression with her emphasis on the more fundamental self and other preservative drives. We discuss her interest in culture and in the enriching experience of linking images with words. We close with her sharing her personal journey having trained in Switzerland and now living in the States. 


Our Guest: Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst and on the Faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute as well as of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society. Her area of expertise is metapsychology, in particular drive theory. She has published numerous papers and three books on theoretical and clinical psychoanalysis. Her 2018 publication Driven to Survive was a finalist of the American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize. She has published her first novel in German in 2019, Rousseaus Traum, and in 2020 her second novel Memory’s Eyes, and has just finished her third novel, Memento. Since 2017 she is the chair of the IPA in Culture Committee. She works in private practice in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. 


Recommended Readings: 

Freud, S. (1908). On the Sexual Theories of Children. Standard Edition, 9. 


Freud, S. (1940). An Outline of Psycho-Analysis. Standard Edition, 23. 


Lispector, C. (2015). The Complete Stories. Translated from the Portuguese by K. Dodson. New York: New Directions. 


NDiaye, M. (2013). Three Strong Women. Translated from the French by J. Fletcher. New York: Vintage Books. 


Schmidt-Hellerau, C. (2018) Driven to Survive. Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis. New York: International Psychoanalytic Books. 


Schmidt-Hellerau, C. (2020) Memory's Eyes. A New-York Oedipus Novel. Queens, NY: International Psychoanalytic Books. 


Schmidt-Hellerau, C. (2021) The Analyst as Storyteller / El analista como narrador. Queens, NY: International Psychoanalytic Books.