love psychoanalysis

What psychoanalysis owes

1. I think it’s been 2 years with this analyst: more? Some of us have trouble finding a good fit. Psychoanalysis, the discipline, is in love with making us feel — those of us who have trouble finding a good fit — that it is our fault. Or that we should turn somewhere else. Or that we should stay untreated.

2. Of course we don’t have the luxury of staying untreated, and, really, there is no one else.

3. Whose problem are we? What if psychoanalysis* really is not for those of us whose hurt is deep and massive and goes way back — and what if really there isn’t anywhere else? Maybe we are no one’s problem except our own and, if someone loves us, theirs too.

4. Does this mean that psychoanalysis fails? Maybe not. Maybe psychoanalysis is fine with being only for some people. It already is for some people — White (very few psychoanalysts of color), affluent enough, articulate enough to talk their pain through, resilient enough to stick it out for years.

5. Maybe no one, really, owes me anything, not even my analyst, who fails me repeatedly at something very, very important to me, which she regrets, and tries very much to give me, again and again, in a feedback loop of good will, love, and hurt.

6. And why should anyone owe me anything? Why should anyone owe anyone anything?

7. But this is know: I owe it to myself, and those I love, to keep trying, with the assistance of professional healers or alone, to keep trying to salve my wounds, find a way through the madness, and maybe hope the wounds won’t hurt so much, one day.

8. Here’s a confession though. I believe in a world in which we all owe each other however much love we have to give. And this love is not a smile or courtesy. This love is easing up other people’s pain, seeing them, sharing a bit of the road with them, giving whatever respite and joy they need.

9. But the trick is, we are all responsible only for our part in this. We are not entitled to others’ love. And if we die alone, unloved by other humans, we still will be able to say, I have loved.

* This blog uses “psychoanalysis” as meaning psychodynamic psychotherapy, either applied intensely as psychoanalysis proper (however you understand it) or applied intensely or less intensively as therapy.