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The
Psychoanalytic
Experience:
Analysands
Speak



By Esther Altshul Helfgott, Editor


For years I wanted to publish a newsletter or magazine focused on the therapy client's point of view, but costs were prohibitive. I wanted such a publication to emerge into the public sphere because, with rare exception psychoanalytic journals, and others dealing with psychotherapies, document what happens in the therapy room from the point of view of the clinician. Theories are advanced based on the understanding and perspective of the man or woman in the seat of power and interpretation. Client interpretation is rare; from the clinician's point of view, it is the client alone who suffers a pathology, not the clinician. This is not always the case; often the clinician's problems enter into the client's drama. Always the clinician's personality and worldview exist in the room, right alongside the client's. The internet has given me the opportunity to publish an anthology of client voices for the purpose of exploring the relationship that exists between therapist and client and for documenting client accounts of their experiences in therapy. The journal, which might act as an archive, is an open book that accepts new material around the clock. All forms of writing are welcome—poem, essay, memoir, non-fiction fragment and diary—from emerging and experienced writers.

Contributors to The Psychoanalytic Experience: Analysands Speak need not have "client status." Two sections of the journal, "Childhood" and "Family," include work by writers whose words focus on issues that are the substance of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Seattle poet, Don Roberts, has written "The Belt Years: Nine to Twelve." Alicia Ostriker has contributed "Vocation," which looks back on her childhood, and beat poet Irene Drennan remembers "Third Grade." In the "Family" section, Italian poet/essayist, Erminia Passannanti, offers two poems, each in an Italian and English version. Linda J. Clifton contributes "Kaddish, and artist Jane Tilton," The Last Step," a poem about her mother's dying. A third section, "Analysands in History," is also open to everyone. I would especially like work from researchers, historians, scholars and clinicians, as well as from analysands and other clients. The purpose here is to document information about public personalities who have been in analysis, therapy or mental institutions, so that individuals who lead private lives may feel less alone, however unique their circumstances.

"Therapy Room" comprises two sub-sections: "Psychoanalysis" which, at the moment, consists of excerpts from the diary of my five-day-a-week-psychoanalysis. I am looking for accounts of four and five day a week analyses to keep my account company. The "Psychotherapy" sub-section includes work by Canadian writer, Maria Fletcher, and a poem by an anonymous writer. Look for writing here by English professor Dr. Swapan Kumar Banerjee, of Calcutta, India and for Canadian humorist Tom Obrien's fiction, "The Hypnotist." The section on Confinement in Mental Institutions includes Crysta Casey's diary, "6 Days in West Seattle Psychiatric Hospital," Koon Woon's "King County Court House," and Belgian writer, Martin Burke's "Seven Fragments."

I am proud of the reception the journal is getting. In addition to the fine contributions, many waiting to be posted, I have received emails from readers expressing gratitude for "the great idea." My hope is that access to a global community will bring people in all forms of psychoanalytic therapy to a position of greater understanding, not only about the various analytic processes and treatment methods, but also about the reflection of the human condition in written form. Most important this inquiry hopes to bridge cultural divides, including those that exist between analysands and analysts, therapists and clients, doctors and patients.

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Esther Altshul Helfgott, Ph.D., Editor



www.analysands.homestead.com

Post script: Since the September 11th bombings in New York City and Washington D.C., I have heard comments to the effect that Now is not the time to write. One major writer said he would not put a word on paper about the tragedy. I disagree with this point of view and believe it is not only healing to write, but that at this time, especially, it is imperative. Writing is a mechanism for connecting. Most important, it is a way of seeking new possibilities for ourselves and for others —in our hemispheres and theirs. I answer those who choose to look at the world and art without words with Rabbi Hillel’s question: If not now, when? As such, I have created a Home Page for Seattle’s It's About Time Writers Reading Series (which I coordinate) with an accompanying journal entitled September 11, 2001: a journal on the writer's role in society. Contributors are invited to answer the question: What is the writer's responsibility to self & society? Submit material in poem, essay, diary, memoir or story—whatever form your writing takes. Or just stop by and say hello in the Guest Book. We'll be glad to hear from you. The site can be accessed via The Psychoanalytic Experience by clicking on 9/11/01.

Esther

It's About Time Writers Home Page
www.itsaboutimewriters.homestead.com