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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

May 24, 2020

Transformation is a kind of buzz word and it’s not just some economic and sociopolitical transformation. Indeed, it is about transforming the inner self as well and psychoanalysis is well placed to face these challenges.”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Armien Abrahams who is a Training Analyst at the South African Psychoanalytic Association. He is in private practice in Cape Town, South Africa. He has a special interest in the internal-external dynamics specifically regarding the legacy of Apartheid. He works in many areas, one of them is on setting up and providing affordable psychoanalytic services. He is the chairman of the Low Fee clinic structure which is part of the Psychoanalytic Institute. Armien is also very heavily involved in education and training.


In today’s conversation, Armien Abrahams shows his deep passion for his work, more specifically about that pivot point between the internal and the external worlds. He speaks of the power and the importance of meeting both at the same time - there is a great need for focus on the external disadvantages, burdens and challenges without losing awareness of the importance of the internal struggles that we all simultaneously face.


Key takeaways:

[4:35] How is South Africa managing the current crisis?

[10:50] The prohibition of buying cigarettes has triggered a black market.

[12:33] Psychoanalysis in South Africa.

[15:27] Psychoanalysis in South Africa consists of two different organizations SAPI and SAPA.

[17:20] Armien Abrahams talks about the switch to online sessions.

[20:15] Psychoanalysis provides the possibility of an inner journey.

[21:30] Armien Abrahams shares some clinical examples to illustrate how the transition to online sessions has been like with patients.

[25:10] The showing vs the wish to show.

[28:22] Armien Abrahams shares the challenges SAPI and SAPA are facing which do not outshine his passion for psychoanalysis.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch

South African Psychoanalytic Association