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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Dec 1, 2019

“In Jacques Cousteau’s book there’s this turning point moment when he looked into the water and it was a completely different world and then he looked back up and he saw people going around, with no idea what was under the surface...There are people who can dive into topics that are kind of unbearable, I mean beyond comprehension, and have the ability to put them into words we can understand.”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. A. Chris Heath, who is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Heath has dedicated himself to helping people understand their unconscious mind and he’s done this through his remarkable YouTube channel called HeathMD where he features entertaining videos about how the mind works and it has more than 45,000 views. Dr. Heath is a member of the social media and board of the International Psychoanalytical Association as well as a member of the Committee for Public Information of the American Psychoanalytic Association. As you will hear in the interview, there is an aliveness and vibrancy to Dr. Heath - he shows all of us his love of the work, his enjoyment in explaining it and the gift he has of taking nuanced concepts and presenting them in a very user-friendly fashion.


Key takeaways:

[3:17] Video from Dr. Heath called “How does psychotherapy work?”

[5:06] Dr. Heath talks about how he started his YouTube Channel and what is the feedback he receives from the audience.

[7:15] The contrast between the privacy of the psychoanalytic process and how psychoanalysis outreaches to the community as a tool to achieve profound life changes.

[7:44] Psychoanalysis in times of “quick fix” approaches.

[8:40] People tend to be afraid of psychoanalysis, perceiving it as a “swallowing hole”.

[10:20] Dr. Heath talks about the style he uses in his videos.

[13:07] Dr. Heath ́s YouTube Channel audience is people in the range from 25 to 35 years old.

[16:25] The ability to put into accessible words abstract concepts for everyone to comprehend.

[18:15] The biggest source of anxiety is irrational.

[20:54] The audience who actually view Dr. Heath’s YouTube channel was not the one he was aiming for.

[22:05] Dr. Heath talks about the feedback from the viewers while interacting with the comments section on his YouTube Channel.

[25:10] Dr. Heath shares how his work on YouTube relates to his own personal life and professional career.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch

Dr. Heath YouTube Channel: HeathMD


Recommended Readings:

Bill Nye (2015). Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World. St Martin's Press


Jaques-Yves Cousteau (2004). The Silent World. The National Geographic Society


Heath, AC (2018). Will a Video-Based  Psychoanalytic Outreach Effort Engage a Young Audience? The Freudalicious Mind Project. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 66(4): NP1- NP6


Obaid FP (2014). The Incidence of Freudian Self-Analysis in the Construction of the Psychoanalytic Theory of Anxiety. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 95(1): 15-41