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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Mar 19, 2023

“A child [patient] makes a mistake, upsets things - one doesn't console or complain, but just reflects whatever the patient's affect was at that moment, such as, ‘that seems to bother you’ or ‘it's hard to put those two pieces together’- to just observe it, to not have an affective response of disgust or irritation. The same thing is true if a patient comes in bragging or talking about something that made them very proud - to acknowledge their being proud but to not get all excited. The kind of things that often these children who have a lot of difficulty due to parents’ narcissistic investment in them, and we're all narcissistically invested in our kids - they have a lot of trouble knowing what they really feel and what they really want. I think my non-judgmental, either positively judgmental or negatively judgmental attitude, allows them to begin to experience that what they're doing is what they are doing for themselves for some reason, not what they're doing for me or for the witness, that's an enormously important part.”  


Episode Description: We begin with Judy sharing her professional journey that led her to child analysis. She is active as a psychoanalytic clinician, supervisor, teacher, consultant, writer, and editor. We discuss four key papers of hers that study neutrality, enactments, informative experiences, and the role of attachment. Central to her writing and thinking is her curiosity about the inner lives of her patients, especially as action and interaction provide clues to that latent life. We discuss the analyst’s experience of ‘wearing the attributes’ that patients need to project onto us and tolerating the often deep discomfort in doing so. We consider how her model of therapeutic action, entailing surprise and changes in perceptual frame, does and doesn’t have some similarities to psychedelic-assisted therapy. We close with her sharing her analytic experiences with gender-conflicted boys and her hope for the future of our field. 


Our Guest: Judith Fingert Chused, MD, is an Emeritus Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Denver, Cleveland, and Seattle Institutes.  She is also a Clinical Professor of Behavioral Sciences and of Pediatrics at the George Washington School of Medicine. She is married for 57 years to a former nursery school and medical school classmate and has seven delightful, mischievous grandchildren.  


Recommended Readings: 

Chused, J. F. (2016) An Analyst's Uncertainty and Fear. Psychoanalytic Quarterly 85:835-850 


Chused, J. F. (2000) Discussion: A Clinician's View of Attachment Theory. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 48:1175-1187 


Chused, J. F. (1999) Male Gender Identity and Sexual Behaviour. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 80:1105-1117 


Chused, J. F. (1996) The Patient's Perception of the Analyst's Countertransference. Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis 4:231-253 


Chused, J. F. (1996) The Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis: Abstinence and Informative Experiences. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 44:1047-1071 


Chused, J. F. (1991) The Evocative Power of Enactments. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 39:615-639 


Chused, J. F. (1992) The Patient's Perception of the Analyst: The Hidden Transference. Psychoanalytic Quarterly 61:161-184 


Chused, J. F. (1990) Neutrality in the Analysis of Action-Prone Adolescents. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 38:679-704 


Chused, J. F. (1987) Idealization of the Analyst by the Young Adult. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 35:839-859 


Chused, J. F. (1982) The Role of Analytic Neutrality in the Use of the Child Analyst as a New Object. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 30:3-28