About Inside Out Journal

by MLHeller

Exploring the Life of the Mind

Psychoanalysis has long been recognized as a method of psychological examination and inquiry intended to promote self-awareness, thereby enriching the resonant qualities of life.

Because psychoanalysis explains how the mind functions, contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice have social, political and public policy functions that expand well beyond their customary academic and clinical applications. From describing the origins of culture, religion and art to examining the individual personalities of politicians, notable personalities and criminals, psychoanalysis offers plausible and viable explanations that can be readily applied to the smallest of life’s daily situations.

Therefore, in an effort to both inspire and educate, these essay-columns use current events as a point of departure to examine psychological topics of interest from a psychoanalytic perspective. Addressed to the inquisitive and psychologically curious reader, they are intended to facilitate reflective thought and stimulate an interest in the ideas and practice of contemporary psychoanalysis.

Complex analytic concepts are distilled to facilitate thought-provoking dialogues, rendering theory understandable and applicable to everyday circumstances. Though each column may be read independently, when read as a collection or compendium, they build a foundation from which to understand the mind.

Reaching the public

The benefits of psychoanalytic knowledge and awareness are too often limited to professional exchanges, failing to reach the general public where they might be utilized and applied more broadly, as I imagine Freud had originally intended in the early creative years of the 20th c.

If not exactly a rock star, Freud was a notable personality in fin de siècle Vienna whose books were anticipated and read widely by the European and American public. While the field owes a great debt to him, it has progressed and evolved much as any other enterprise or domain.

In 1926, Sigmund Freud in The Question of Lay Analysis declared that the proper training for a psychoanalyst must include not only the study of the mental-psychological sciences, but of the history and evolution of culture, including world mythology, philology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, art, literature, music and religion. In essence, it requires a comprehensive study of all things human.

Fortunately, this has not changed. A rich blend of science and art, contemporary psychoanalysis is the most efficacious, integrative and potent change agent available.

Changing perception over time

Unfortunately, psychoanalysis has been devalued and marginalized since the rise of academic psychology in the 1960’s, its emphasis on outcome data and the concomitant reliance on behavioral techniques. Lack of exposure to contemporary modalities has permitted psychoanalysis to be reduced to a one-dimensional caricature by the uninformed.

The inability to distinguish between what psychoanalysis once was and what it is today has insured that the public remains grossly misinformed or completely uninformed about its benefits.

Current Research supports Psychoanalysis

Not surprising to psychoanalysts, current research suggests that these short-term behavioral approaches, while used extensively and preferred by insurance companies because they are inexpensive, have little long-term traction and that changes tend to be superficial and temporary at best. The slower and deeper dynamics that define and inform psychoanalytic process yield more lasting, characterological changes.

In conclusion …

These essay-columns are written to spark increased self-reflection in the hope that each of you becomes sufficiently fascinated by your own life to ask deeper questions and search for meaningful answers. Not another gimmick to seduce you into buying another disappointing self-help book, these columns are meant to inspire and to challenge the customary beliefs you have always held about who you are and how you came into being as a unique person. These column-essays invite you embark on your own psychoanalytic journey, to get to know yourself anew from the inside out.

Inside Out Journal is published by Dr. Mauri-Lynne Heller, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Psychoanalyst in private practice in the Newport Beach area of Southern California. Learn more about Mauri or contact the author.

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