How can I tell you? How can I convince you, my psychoanalyst brothers and sisters, that you are in danger?
Everyday that you wake and assume your seat behind the couch, listening with the third ear, you are committing a rebellious act. You, as an alive and functioning psychoanalyst, as a person who believes in the existence of the unconscious, are a revolutionary.
There is little to nothing in this country that validates, protects or encourages your existence. Weekly if not daily we are told we are obsolete. It is nothing short of a miracle that you are here at all, reading these words. You should, by all rights, no longer exist or have a practice. Years ago you lost all legitimacy. Whatever cachet you are granted is granted to you as long as you accept your status as a relic.
Don’t be fooled. Insurance companies, cognitive behavioral therapies and drug companies own the world and the only reason you manage to hold down your practice is you’re smart, you’re lucky or you’re a fighter. None of your so-called professional organizations have sought to address the ongoing attack of psychoanalysis. Indeed, so busy are they in trying to sanitize and make legitimate our way of working that neuroscience and evidence-based research dominate their agenda. The psychoanalytic world doesn’t even bother to try to get the attention of the NIMH. This is how far gone we are. That you haven’t become a life-coach is nothing short of a miracle!
CBT therapists and psychiatrists are privileged to do as they please and to practice without fear. They speak the language of the insurance companies who also try to tell us how to do our jobs as analysts. CBT therapists never need to prove themselves; they speak the discourse of the powerful. But not only do they live without fear in their professional lives; they flaunt their freedom in our faces. Their ideas are on Oprah, in the fashion magazine I just bought, in psychology and social work programs, at hospitals, clinics, everywhere — everywhere we used to be.
I want there to be a moratorium on positive psychology that sends soldiers relentlessly back to the front, mindfulness, homework assignments, goal setting, coping skills, resilience — all these gimmicks that promote the idea that we are driven by our rational selves and our conscious minds. Until I can enjoy the same freedom to practice as I see fit, exploring the transference, resolving resistances, listening to dreams, the privilege given to the CBT world must stop and it must be returned to psychoanalysts. Rx companies, insurance companies and CBT therapists will not do this voluntarily and so they must be forced or frightened into it. No one will give us what we deserve. Remember, rights are not given; they are taken.
It is easier to fight when you know who your enemy is. Insurance companies, drug companies and the CBT therapists and those who teach those methods are your enemy. When your invisibility, your having been wiped out, goes unacknowledged, when both your knowledge and your vision of human subjectivity is derided as lacking evidence, you know the enemy is near. We live in a culture that is set on killing us off: every day at least one of us is taken by the enemy. Whether it’s an analyst who hides her psychoanalytic training in a fee for service clinic for fear of not being seen as keeping current with best practices, to a new career professional who is careful not to mention her interest in psychoanalytic training during her PhD psychology interview, to an analyst working with children in a hospital setting who translates his ideas regarding conflict and unconscious fantasy into the language of behaviorism, every act of omission is an act of suicide. Make no mistake that if we continue this way we are doing nothing short of building our own coffins.