Thursday, February 27, 2020

Psychoanalyze With SDSU Press’ "Psychoanalysis on the Couch" Series and Lectures by Ralph R Greenson

How To Psychoanalyze Your Friends At Parties
From The Teachings of Ralph R. Greenson
by Abigail Jones

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash
Ralph R. Greenson
With the right drive and passion, going to school and getting a degree in psychoanalysis is well within the realm of possibility for most people.

What if, however, you could learn psychoanalytic techniques for as little as $20.

With just one book from SDSU Press's series, Techniques and Practices on Psychoanalysis from the lectures of Ralph R. Greenson (edited by Harry Polkinhorn), you can pull out psychoanalytic techniques that you friends will totally love. Who doesn't want to have a free therapy session?

All the techniques used are from the publication Techniques and Practices of Psychoanalysis, 4 by Ralph R. Greenson and edited by Harry Polkinhorn.  

1. Make sure your 'patient' gives up her/his emotional defense-- Surely, when your friend asks you, "What should I do about [event]?", they are asking for you to psychoanalyze them. Greenson's first step in a successful session with a patient is to lower their defenses, and his plan for this is to make the patient uncomfortable and educated. This will make them ultimately more comfortable with you and make analysis more accurate. Imagine:

Friend: I had such a weird dream, it made me so uncomfortable. I'm glad it was just a dream. 

You, educated from reading Greenson's work: Well, this is probably a bad time to tell you that whatever you dream are the desires of your hidden unconscious. 

2. Be careful in debunking the 'patient's' analysis of their own lives-- Of course your friends knows themselves better than you know them. However, they didn't read SDSU's "Psychoanalysis on the Couch" series and you did (at least I hope you did). Greenson says to broach the debunking of incorrect analysis carefully. You must not lie to the patient, but you don't want to disrespect another analyst or the patient themselves. Here is an appropriate way to broach the subject:

Friend: I looked it up and my dream was telling me to take risks. I think I am going to start that new job! 

You, an analyst: No, definitely not. 

3. The Trial Period-- Greenson looks at trial analysis, and its failure in psychoanalysis today. The idea is to make the first period of analysis a trial period. The analyst will looked at the patients responses and their psychosis to try and see if they are a good candidate for analysis. With your friends, every minute you spend with them can be the trial period until you finally understand them. Greenson warns that most analysts don't agree with this anymore because patients are resistant. Here's how to avoid your friend realizing they are on trial.

Friend: You know, lately I've been feeling like you have been putting me through an analytical trial.

You: Whaaaat? Me? No. 

4. How to analyze your 'patient's' secrets-- Greenson looks a lot at how to combat resistance in his lectures. One form of resistance he looks at is a patient who doesn't want to reveal something but will acknowledge that they are leaving something out. Now, wouldn't you say that -- for the most part -- when your friends want to tell you something, you seem to know what they want to say. Analyzing a friend puts you in a unique position, as you might have more insight into their lives than an analyst would. However, Greenson says it's best to circle around the topic without making the patient have to tell the secret. Here is an example;

Friend: I want to tell you something, but I can't. 

You: Why not! I haven't been friends with you this whole time for you not to tell me things! I tell you everything! It's only fair. (GET A COPY HERE)
Congratulations! You have finished your first class in psychoanalysis, and you would not be here without Greenson's lecture. Go forth and psychoanalyze your friends.

A friendly reminder, however, that nothing in life is free and that reading the Techniques and Practices of Psychoanalysis series from SDSU Press can help you on your way.

The series offers inside transcriptions of Greenson's lectures, and is a deep dive into techniques that a skilled analyst may use.

It also, obviously, is not a replacement for actually going to school for psychoanalysis, but Greensons diverse manuals do offer an intriguing read and a fun new skill to hone.

Edit: Looking back now, having psychoanalyzed my friends for fun--I can tell you that the techniques offered by Greenson are great, but maybe we should leave this one to the trained professionals.

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