Canoeing in the Lac Sainte Jean

Canoeing in the Lac Sainte Jean

Canoeing in the Lac Sainte Jean north of the Laurentian Mountains near the great woods of Quebec. It was what they most wanted a strong woman and a determined man traveling west toward gold, harvesting pelts along the way, warring and trading with the Indians, indigenous to the land.  My ancestors lived with the land, they lived off and they died into the land.

My DNA is seeded into the ground, into the northeast side of the continent.  They lived snowed into the root cellars and seeded the land in the spring.  I inherited my perseverance form these ancestors and unfortunately I inherited by patience as well.

Many of my pastels and water colors have a theme of Canadian villages that emerge during the drawing.

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August 7, 2016 · 12:30 am

A Pretty Young Thing in a Yellow Dress

st augustine, cezanne finish

Pretty young Things in Yellow Dresses

What has the suffering been about? Why do learned men and women tell us that we have to know hate to be able to know love well? Suffering drives an urgency toward action, towards war. But if we can hate and not take an action, could it be that we could then prevent war, prevent unnecessary pain. At the very least prevent the war of internal conflict.
In the midst of extreme abandonment, I found in me the invincible winter of discontent; and along with that invincible winter I found a location within my mind where genuine love shares a bed with genuine hatred.

I feel rage-full and resentful, angry and sad….what was once love has become bile, putrid and
solid waste. I find it hard to believe that the negative side of love is a passionate hate that comes from hurting at
a place that I do not want to understand. The aspect of love that is characterized by hatred is an aspect I do not want to
acknowledge; but try as I might when I hate, I know that I hate. For many years I compounded this by hating myself for hating.

There are stages to life’s development of love—mother love, daddy love, child love, love for things, love for places, love of life and lovers who we love for a time before they disappear—receding into that bin of discarded dolls and playthings. There is a time to love that feels unconditional, until that one deep abiding principle pops up out of nowhere and expectations and conditions begin to taint the purity of ecstasy and sexual love that we thought was going to be forever.

There is no forever. That’s a delusion if there ever was one. “We do what we can,” Henry James said, “and the rest is the madness of art.” He could also have said, the rest is the madness of love.

So, what then is Love? Is Freud right to say it is a psychosis, a suspension of reality based on denial and pipe dreams and visions of pretty young things in yellow dresses. Is it the unconscious memory of the beautiful woman who lives next door, but can only be appreciated if she is memorialized in a granite statue in a garden in Pompeii. (see Freud’s Gradiva)

Or, is love, unfortunately, more practical than that?

In some ways Love is as much a business contract as it is a feeling. Often when I have seen couples in counseling, I discover that it is an MBA that they need not an MSW. Because after the dust of illusion has settled, love is a commitment, a decision to honor, and to respect, and to hold as precious—like a gem. It is a contract to remain kind and compassionate, to our best possible extent.

Love, like the blush of youth, is a stage of development. It is a recognition that we really are a herding bunch and that the feeling of belonging is as precious and as necessary as food and air and shelter. But, it is not a forever lasting ecstasy. It is not mysticism. It is a practical way of getting on in life. It is acknowledging that a companion is valuable and useful as a partner in getting through this journey we call life.

I guess I ought to be grateful for the changing quality of love. It is much more useful that way. I think of all the loves that i have had in my life and they all have evolved, they never stayed one consistent thing. Even my love for the sea seems different then when I felt it was a muse, or an inspiration.

Nonetheless, I reminisce about those early days when I was twenty and one, and the idea of Ecuador as a snowman build by a river was a promise of something everlasting. It has faded into something almost as delightful as the moon-lite was that night. It faded into a friendship that can never be broken. For that I am grateful.
Dr. A. L. Dussault
Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis

psya@aol.com

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Hope, Desire & Sobriety

Hope, desire & sobriety.

What is the promise of sobriety? In a word, Hope!  The glimpse of hope that we get may be the first thing in a long time to come around that let’s us know that this unmanageable life we are leading is really the figment of a delusion.  The real life is one that follows the laws of nature.  In humans that law of nature is two fold.  First and foremost it is desire and close behind is hope. Between desire and hope we have all the tools that we need to run a successful and smooth life. But, you ask, where in me can I find those prime elements?  

I think we first find it by looking out at someone that we respect and saying to ourselves.  I think I would like that for me.  When at first we desire to return to a kind of control over our lives it is important for us to witness hope and desire as having worked for someone else.  It is a kind of warranty.  If it worked for him or for her, it may work for me.

The desire is only located in extreme silence.  Not an easy trick for we who have been conducted by a diseased ego for most of our lives.  Silence is truly golden.  I am talking about the kind of silence where you hear nothing but a slight ringing in your ears, or the hush of tires on the pavement or the hum of the fridge.  Silence is clearing the mind for a simple moment.  One to ten seconds is all it takes to find the silence.  Then in a simple second the rush of thought flows back into our brain creating for us a kind of firewall against the instincts which dwell in the silence. We do not find the silence right away.  It may take several tries, or several days. It is much easier than it seems.  Then right there in that sacred place of silence we can discover an empty warehouse that is ours to fill with all the desires that are the gifts from the universe to humanity. The hope lies in the glimpse that we can allow ourselves to discover hope within and that allows us to desire,  really desire from the heart.  Seldom have I seen a person discover desire then fail. Desire: That is the promise of sobriety? Dr. A. L. Dussault Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis 401 447 5765

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Sur le Lac Sainte Jean

The concept of self-love seems to be under perpetual attack, from the right, the left, and the center.  It seems that self-love, narcissism and selfishness or selflessness are all concepts that manage to disguise the authentic meaning of self love.  For me I find it easier to lump all aspects of self-love under the umbrella of managing ones life.  

    Management is an executive function that has come primarily under the influence of the ego, that aspect of ourselves that we generally think of when we call ourselves by our first name.   Repeat to yourself the following: “My Ego’s name is___(Al)______________.”  That give you a clear sense, and a sense that you can continue to clarify anytime you decide that it is necessary to check in with yourself to make sure that you are on the track for knowing what you want and what you want to do in life.  Without that compass to due north we are, indeed lost in a sea of consciousness.
   The management of self-love will never be satisfying if it emits exclusively from the ego.  Therefore it is of primary importance to we seekers that we know how to subjectively look within for data and information that comes from the other aspects of our organism other than the left-brain ego.  For starters the best way to access our more primal instincts is to simply stop as much thinking in english as we can, calm our bodies by taking simply a few deep breaths, to ensure that we are preparing ourselves for the transition to the search within instead of the objective and perpetual scanning of all that is outside of us. Then calmly ask yourself this question.
                    
               If I could have anything and everything that I wanted what would that be?  If I were able to permit no resistances to
     my most heartfelt desires what would that look like?  
 
  There has to be no moral, no religious, no social or civilized judgements about your most inner and most personal wants.  This simple exercise in Letting-Go of Fear requires abject honesty with yourself and perhaps with your analyst, but with no one else, not your beloved partner, not your priest or minister….this is entirely a personal inventory that will help to guide you toward finding the star that you want to hitch a ride from. Keep in mind we are lost in
a sea of consciousness until we know our true north.
 
   Self-Love is a state of human affairs where by we understand that the primal objective of life is to successfully survive.  Self-love begins with an ability to access our survival instincts.  These instincts however are hidden under the shadow of the ego and getting to these instincts means that we have to be prepared to have a discussion with the aspect of us that is the Ego.  The Ego, as chief executive of the human organism, will not relinquish power readily.  So, you have to be prepared to go into the bosses office and be entirely straight, entirely honest with what you want for yourself and you must be able to fight off
the powerful intimidating and over-whelming feelings that the Ego will erect as a defense against you wanting to consult the wider sea of consciousness.
 
   Once in the presence of our deeper instincts rather than solely in the presence of the Ego, we can look at forgiveness, compassion we can see that Love is an action that we take, not a thing we have.  We can embrace all aspects of what we want because what we want is as good for ourselves as it is good for people and critters around us.  Narrow in on the positive feelings that would erupt if you were living exactly the way you would like to live your life.  And begin
to believe that you can and will have what you want once you know how to handle the pressures and the stresses of your own ego.
 
   All conflict in life is within the ego.  The metaphor that I have been using about ego induced conflict is this:  “You are going to a horse race with only two horses racing.  You decide to bet $1000 on one horse and to hedge your bet you bet $1000 on the other horse.”   That is the consequence of winning a battle within the ego…there can be no winner and no looser.   
 
   Quiet the mind for a moment, let yourself access anything and everything that you want and place no restrictions whatsoever on that desire….open your eyes and go on living as if nothing happened.
Our dreams unfold when we access them through our broader instincts.Image

 
 

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The Art of Psychoanalysis

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There are times as psychoanalysts that the immersion in science begins to over-rate the objective, deductive, projective and submissive adherence to the rules of conduct prescribed by the founders of our profession.  There are times when the clues to unblocking a resistance, comes to us not empirically, but wildly and subjectively.  It is at these times that I like to think about practicing the art of psychoanalysis.

Any science can be practiced artfully.  But psychoanalysis is greatly enhanced by useful, tasteful and invigorating creativity that allows for full use of both hemispheres of the brain.  Or to say it another way psychoanalysis is best taught when the design of the divided mind is recognized and encouraged as a foundation for an analysis or for a counseling therapy.

The knowledge that we acquire over time allows for the strictest rules of psychoanalysis to be an opportunity for challenging the status quo.  It is not as if we do not know that ideas and thoughts come from the strangest places.  Certainly, the concept of a primitive unconscious lining the bottom of our minds and the vision of an ego, shaped much like an egg, sitting in a pool of this primeval ooze with a strange out-growth on the top acting like an angry CEO of a large corporation, is in itself an artfully designed concept.

The metaphor of mind acting like a mapping of the brain is, once again, an artfully designed concept.  There is a flow to psychoanalysis that is calmly down-stream.  Let the patient express everything and the flow of progressive information tends to emerge in the order that it needs to be dealt with.  The artful expression of an analysis is it’s way of following a patient rather than leading the patient.  By allowing what is inherently inside to express itself, the semi-permeable boundaries of the mind open and widen permitting what is sacredly kept behind a curtain to emerge into the world as a new thought, a new idea.  This newness is the meat and potatoes of creativity.  Any new thought is by definition a synthesis of previously acquired knowledge and information.  Psychoanalysis promotes creativity by demonstrating to the patient that to know ones drive is the key to unleashing the energy of achievement.

Creativity and psychoanalysis go together like a horse and carriage.  The analyst needs to be creative to facilitate the creative drive in the patient.  Casting a wide net, the exploration of newness is pretty close to a characteristic of art, and very close to the process of an analysis.

Although creativity is an expression of drive, it is energy that is uniquely experienced in our minds. Our perception of what it feels like to be creatively expressive is a sensation that distinguishes this energy from other drive derivatives.  It is not exactly a third drive, but in many ways it does challenge, if not rival, the sexual and aggressive drives that conduct the living organism toward either an anabolistic or catabolistic direction.

Perhaps creativity is a fusion of the primary drives, somewhat of a hybrid, like when we mix red and blue.  The harnessing of the primary energy in the use of manifesting new materials, new thoughts, is key to the minds ability to create a self imposed reality that then expresses the uniqueness of our desires.  The spiritual foundation of drive theory is in the application of desire toward acquiring of what we want:  “Ask what ye will and it shall be done.”

In the process of assisting a patient toward the understanding that the divided mind is not a conflict, it is a reality of evolution; the patient can begin to get comfortable with the notion that a mind must be operated, not left to its own devices to conduct the organism.  Imagine, for a moment that you had no control over your hand.  The trouble in store could have some rather dire consequences.  The mind, like the hand, needs to be harness and used in furthering the goals of of the individual organism.  Use of our fused drives permits for a modicum of control that permits creativity to emerge.  The newness is a form of art, the art of psychoanalysis.

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Desire as Strength of Character

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desire is a pretty strong indicator of our strength of character.

When we want something in an un-ambivalent manner the strength of the desire propels us in the direction of the want.  In this mode the unconscious is assisting the conscious mind to accomplish the desired out-come.

The outcome is the desired end, but the process is managed by our ability to recognize
negative emotions (in-relation to the desired out-come).  Once we recognize the fears
or the contradictions we are creating, we have an opportunity to shift our thought process–if we are still desiring the outcome we had been wishing for.
Desire unhampered by negation provides for all of our strength of character to mount
an effort toward the desired goal.  Fear that the goal will not be met syphons the positive
energy of the psychic movement.  This is not only selfish, it is also the stuff that heroes
are made of.
Once we let ourselves believe that our desires are not selfish anymore that our life is, we
can begin to want as much as we need and bring others along with us who are still
struggling with contradictions.
Let your self want in an unconditional manner and life will go your way–toward your
desires.
dr. albert dussault
mindfulness in psychoanalysis

 

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Aspects of Applied Psychoanalysis: the role of feelings

The role of sensations and feelings in Psychoanalysis is on the one hand obvious, front and center to the process; but in another more subtle manner, the knowledge of what feelings to apply to an intervention are much less clear.  The murkiness of emotional communications leads to a phenomena where we speak and write a somewhat different language than the language of spontaneity that we use in the consultation room.  Emotional Communications are not the feelings that we feel in side of us and deliver to another person.  Emotional communications are the emotions that need to be communicated to the patient to foster progressive communication, that is, to promote the patients ability to keep talking and to say everything–that is, the motivation needed to move forward.

In this essay I would like to examine why the spontaneous language of the consultation room is a distant background to what the theory espouses.  Are we less comfortable in supervision than we are in the consultation room?
The reasoning for this discrepancy  may involve two primary emotions that are connected in the unconscious and that want to remain there.  The vulnerabilities connected to shame and love may prevent the analyst from reporting the accuracy of the consultation room words.  In their place are words and phrases that will more accurately fit the theory.  Therefore I have titles this essay, “Aspects of Applied Psychoanalysis,” because I believe that the science and theory of analysis may not be an accurate template for the art and practice of the profession.
In the education of a psychoanalyst, though it is conducted in an academic/institute setting, the most accurate learning experience is the psychoanalysis of the analyst in training.The supervisory and control analysis comes in later in the training when each session is recorded and transcribed and discussed in supervision.  In a way the model for training in psychoanalysis is more analogous to the apprentice, journeymen, master training model that one finds usually associated with crafts and trades.  It is somewhat unorthodox to think of analysis as a trade, but in fact, if we did think of it this way, we might come closer to understanding the reasons for success and the reasons for failure in the analysis of our patients.
Indeed, concepts such as cure, success and failure have almost all but fallen out of favor in training institutes.  We have replaced these definitive goals and processes with less precise language at the same time that we are professing to be a science.  The greatest controversy that exists in the field of psychoanalysis lies in the idea that we have to conform to the norms established by the philosophy of science in order to be recognized with the big boys of the academic circles:  physics, biology, chemistry, neurology, engineering and even mathematics, to name a few.  We would like to compete in that league.  We want to be Ivy League when in fact our knowledge base is only recently advancing to a place where our data might be looked at as a metaphor for a scientific process. (see Freud’s Scientific Project)
In training it often felt, as experienced by me and reported by many of my fellow candidate/students, that sticking to a kind of formula was necessary in order for the data collected to be “objective”.  The objectivity of reporting seems to have become a priority rather than the accuracy of reporting.  In the arena of emotional communications, analysts in training are encouraged to behave in such a fashion in the consultation room that will allow for the collection of uncontaminated data to be used in assessing the findings of our research.  Research in psychoanalysis is the third leg of a stool that holds up our profession.  Clinical conditions are always attempted to be sterile, much as if we were attempting to not contaminate a condition by the germs of our own condition.  The problem that this type of accuracy generates is that human emotions and human behavior is never met in its pure form.  In fact there is no such thing as a pure form of emotion, because it is only in the relationship of that emotion with another human’s emotions that any of these feelings have any meaning.  Meaning is always in context.
In other words a sterile word like ‘jealousy’ or ‘envy’, or ‘gratitude’ or ‘greed’ does not exist.  There is no definition for any of the human feelings that adequately states that that feeling is in a static situation.  The very nature of these primary emotion is that they are only recognized when they are in relationship to someone or something else.  All study of human emotion is study of a dynamic not a static condition. The fact of looking at something brings to that something the unique perspective of the viewer.
However, for purposes of satisfying the research component of our profession we attempt to distill these human conditions down to a rather sterile condition so that we can look at it while it is not moving.  The case that I am making for rethinking this kind of research based on 19th century physics is that it is not measuring anything useful.  The only metric that is of any use to a counselor, therapist or analyst or psychologist is the metric whereby the patient is given a tool to accurately measure his or her conditions against his or her processes.  It is not possible to place love or shame or jealousy or envy in a petri dish and watch it behave.  In fact when you remove a feeling from its host agency you are left with nothing.  There is nothing to place in the petri dish because human feelings are essentially human dynamics and there is no metric to measure them when they are dead, or stopped.  And they are only alive when they are in relation to consciousness.  When they are no longer in relationship they cease to exist.
Back to the original intent of this paper I want to discuss the analytic relationship as a dynamic tool of research rather that a static tool of research.  As an example of a static tool of research that brings to mind 19th century science, think of the microscope.  The objects of study under the microscope may be wiggling and presenting themselves in odd shapes and in different color, but the tool for studying the micro-germ is a purely static instrument that does not impact on the objects being studied.  Contrast this with the study of human feelings. There is no static instrument that we have to measure feelings.  It is only a dynamic instrument like another human being that can perceive this object of study.
In order for us to return to the language and the processes of 19th century science we need to devise instruments that are cold blooded like a computer, or we have to abandon the project altogether and ask ourselves why it is so important to be an academic discipline at this point in the development of this field.      There may be visionaries among our ranks who are capable of writing theory and discussing our discipline as a philosophy & a science and I wholeheartedly endorse and endeavor to do this myself.
But, as mush as this increases the body of literature that supports the narratives of our profession, I do not see it as serving the needs of our patients who are indeed coming to us for reasons such as, “cure.”
Why do people enter analysis?
Well, there are some broad categories that immediately come to mind.  Illness, depression, anxiety, death of a loved one, loss of a precious object, sickness, ruminations…..I could continue, but I am sure you get my point.  People come into analysis or come to counseling looking to improve a bad feeling and wanting very desperately to be able to change that internal negative experience into a positive feeling that allows for life to be more about joy than it is about misery.
After some 45 years of being a consultant of some form or other, I can say with experience that people come to me because they do not feel good and they want to feel better.  Somehow, somewhere in our current world, they have heard that undergoing an analysis, going into counseling will assist them to having better feeling life.  They want me to help them to see what they can not see for themselves.  We really are a part of the medical profession.  Despite what insurance companies or philosophers of science may  think of us, as counselors and analysts and psychologists, our consultations are sought after because a disruption in the homeostasis of their being has allowed them to recognize that they “do not feel right, do not feel good…they are not sure, but they think that “something” is wrong.  And, they are turning to our profession for help, or cure.  We provide a subjective analysis of the narratives presented.
Patients, or if you like clients, come to see us thinking that we can help them to make “things” better.  From the very first few moments of the interview we begin to gather information that allows for us to get more specific about language so that we, the care-givers, can begin to understand what about this person’s life is wrong.  What is the ailment, the disease, the condition, the symptoms and the syndromes that present themselves before us.
Immediately, we become the instrument of our practice.
As we begin to register information, data about the presenting problems, we are also gathering a secondary type of knowledge.  This knowledge is not actually part of the patients presentation, but none the less the dynamic is instantly there in the room.  The patient, smells, looks, feels to us in a unique and dynamic way.  There is too much perfume, I don’t know why he has not taken his hat off.  She is beautiful,  this one is angry, I am not sure i want to make time to see this one…this one is gorgeous, smart, pretty, ugly, small, big, rich, poor, needy, unsophisticated, too sophisticated…..there is no end to the subjective data that we get from our senses when we meet another human being.  The registering of our categorizing skill begin to work immediately.  Like the microscope we do not need to turn it on.  We are sitting there as an instrument of observation waiting for something to assess.
The use of this subjective information has become more and more the object of study as our profession out grows its infantile years and begins to become interested in things that are not me.  The psychologies, of which psychoanalysis is one type, are very young disciplines.  Our curiosities over the last several centuries have become increasingly interested not only in things but how things interact.  And one of the most dynamic interactions known to man is the interactions that are caused when two or three people gather.  The material of the interactions are mostly internal.  There are superficial greetings and salutations that are societal.  They are fairly common and are as simple as, “Hi” to as complicated as,  “Your awful man, you lousy cheating bastard, I hate you.”
Messages are constantly blaring across the back of our minds much like a running news commentary looks like on a television newscast.  We are seeing and doing one thing while our mind is engaged in processing and seeing and hearing words from a different internal location in us.  This constant backdrop of verbal assault on our consciousness is material of the subjective and is the actual material, the guts, if you will of our human emotions.  Much like our internal organs are constantly at work in the background of our human experience, our subjective emotional life is the back-drop of our emotional lives.  And it conducts itself semi-automatically in the back drop of our consciousness.  As one patient recently put it–“the semi-psycho-automatic” nature of the Unconscious.
Applied psychoanalysis is the term that I would use to describe what I do in a consultation room when sitting with a patient.  The application of emotional communications to the patient with the express purpose of relieving pent-up tension and forming a paradigm of knowledge that will assist the patient to understand who they are and how their mind is working.  In the process we look together for clues that will allow us to get glimpses of material that is not easily available to the patient.  Analysis create an atmosphere where the patient feels safe to discuss the intricacies of their sex life, their internal dialogues, their fears, their wishes, their dreams, both conscious and nocturnal, as well as conversation about tremendous dissatisfactions in the families they live with and the people they work with. We hold and keep secrets, and we do this in such a way as to protect the integrity of the patient thereby minimizing the attempts at self-criticism and exchanging that behavior for a more objective understanding of where they stand in their lives in relationship to where they want to be.  It is named, “resistance analysis”.
This is an ever evolving process.  In this process, we use behaviors such as withholding, judging, assisting, talking, listening, encouraging and again, even self-disclosure if the condition warrants it.  We use every available objective and subjective feeling to establish a bridge of understanding that we can stand on, and cross back and forth between our minds.  We bring “stuff” made up of thought and emotion over the relationship bridge and into the mind & body we are , and they bring stuff over the bridge into my mind.  We co-mingle our thoughts and emotions and attempt to garner understandings that are meant to eliminate the patients resistances and perceived inability to move from feeling “bad” to feeling “good.”
That sums it up.  We engage with each other, and in the process our concerns essentially become aligned in such a way that the conversation promote health in the person who came in perceiving themselves to not have the resources to bring themselves out of dark miserable feelings and into the light of feeling good about life and about their ability to make full use of themselves as a resource to the expressed end of they getting what the want from life.
Applied Psychoanalysis:
I assist people to manifest the things and conditions that they most want in order to fulfill the wishes created by the libido — desire.  Desire is the most important element to free up from old habits that govern what the patient or client wants.  What is the resistance or what are the resistances that prevent them from allowing or perceiving themselves to feel good about life, themselves, and the universe they live in.  All of this is accomplished through the function of having facilitated the establishment of a trusting relationship where the patient can feel certain that the analyst will not judge the content being discussed, but instead will frame the language to create self-worth, self care, and self-esteem.
The function or the purpose of applying psychoanalytic thinking to problems and concerns and issues presented by the patient, is simply to bring about an understanding where there previously stood a judgment.  By removing the chronic self-criticism that runs in the back of the mind like a ticker-tape, the energy is freed-up to engage the organism in constructive thought which leads to constructive action and constructive feelings.  For those of you who are students of eastern philosophy, like Zen Buddhism or Yoga, you will recognize this as a central feature of mindfulness and specifically of breathing.  For those of you who are scholars of New Age thought, you will recognize this as manifestation.  There is a convergence of thought when we apply ourselves to the subjective aspects of the mind.
Single case study has been the standard bearer in psychoanalytic research and it should continue with the same rigor that has kept it moving forward for the last one-hundred years.  Psychoanalysis as a philosophy, as a paradigm for understanding the human condition is the necessary arm of our elegant body of literature.  But, the third leg of the stool, our clinical practice, ought to invest more energy and focus on those feelings necessary to both bolster and foster the relationship between patient, supervisor and the analyst.  We do not conduct a psychoanalysis in order to provide research data. Research data ought to come out of accurately described consultation sessions with no regard for whether the emotional communications are pure enough, or blank enough to be admitted into a research paper.
It is fraudulent to engage a patient in analysis who wants to be “cured,” then go about the business behind closed doors to claim that psychoanalysis has nothing to do with cure.  It is wrong to profess that empathy should play no role in psychoanalysis because the role of empathy can not be adequately defined to be call scientific.  As psychoanalysts we bear a burden that we share with philosophy. Our aims and the aims that we work with in our patients ought to be running parallel to the search for truth and beauty and even to the search for meaning of life and spiritual comfort.  It is doubtful that we will ever find the strand of DNA that explains our humanity fully.  We are too complicated.  We have evolved more like a jungle evolves than like a computer is built.  When we engage a patient in an analysis we fully assume the responsibility to place ourselves in the tangle that the patient has become.  And with the relationship that evolves, we stand together looking at the organism being studies, and to the best of our human knowledge, help the person to see and understand things about themselves that they would not see without our help.
Nothing stands exclusively alone–it may indeed take a village to salvage a fallen fellow.
dr. albert dussault
mindfulness in psychoanalysis

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Psychoanalysis as Restorative Art

Mindful Psychoanalysis: a short essay

Dr. Albert L. Dussault,  Ph.D., LIC.Mhc

Associates in Clinical Counseling &
Mindful Psychoanalysis
401 447 5765
aldussault@cox.net

Wickenden Street Prov.,
Sanctuary Road, Charlestown, &
SaltPond Office Park, S.Kingstown. Rhode Island


Counseling, Consultation & Psychoanalysis

The Art & Science of Psychoanalysis has perhaps been around as the most easily recognized method of psychotherapy available.  Unfortunately it also remains the least understood of the counseling theories. The use of the couch in psychoanalysis has confused people because of its use and ridicule in movies from the early 1950’s to the present.

Actually, psychoanalysis  is perhaps the most comfortable and the most comprehensive of methods used today.  But also, the most expensive and the least available method on the market.  Training for the analyst never ends and a relationship lasts years, much like one we would  expect with a general practitioner of medicine or perhaps, a minister.

A person who decides to undertake an analysis makes a decision to look for his or her undreamt dreams, and the lost memories that formed the underpinnings of character & therefore repetition.  Somewhere in the theater of the mind there lies the seed of our personal unconscious, wishes that have been layered over with years of consciousness and blocked and repressed with ideas from a voice within that tell us “no”.

Differing from other forms of counseling, psychoanalysis probes the character aspects of the client and rarely asks of client or patient that they make any changes; rather the emphasis is on understanding one’s character in relation to the problem that is being presented. Changes emerge based on the growing awareness of new desires.   Marriage difficulties, family feuds, financial problems, sexual value differences, & social issues all converge on the personality and ask of a person that he or she step up to the plate and confront the resistance that is preventing health, happiness or success—the triune goal of an analysis.

The presenting problem most often has little to do with the outcome of the analysis because in most cases the person is stuck in his or her routine not understanding the reason or even the method by which they are losing out on what they want in life.

Aggression and desire are the dual drives, of the personality and the ultimate fusion of what we want and how we go about getting it create for each of us a circumstance in which we either are satisfied with our lives, or a circumstance in which we feel deprived of health, happiness and success. The ego, being the executive that it is, becomes the default position of our mental and emotional selves.  Steeped in defenses as is its nature, the ego perpetuates a concentration on negativity which prevents the attraction of those states of consciousness that we all crave–peace, freedom, gratitude and serenity.

The unconscious motives often govern our behavior in directions that prevent us from getting what we want out of life.  In time the unconscious takes over and pilots our lives in such a way as to make us feel we are driven by something outside of ourselves.  Returning control to the conscious aspect of self is the primary goal of an analysis.  Emerging from the narcissistic ego, into the clarity of being, and awakening is the goal of my profession.

Contrary to public opinion, psychoanalysis is actually enjoyable.  Perhaps it can be compared to a deep tissue massage.  We might touch on some pain, but only briefly and in service of removing it from where it became lodged in the body.   Learning to operate the mechanisms of the mind, which have had a life of their own, is a very gratifying process.

It usually takes a minimum of six weeks for a person to determine if they are suitable for an analysis.

During this trial analysis items such as fee structure, frequency of sessions, areas of concern and specific problems or goals are discussed along with issues such as use of the couch, confidentiality and time and location of meetings.

In my years as a practicing analyst I have found that people best suited for analysis are people who are seeking not so much to solve a problem, thought that certainly happens; but rather to understand life in its multidimensional facets.  I have always considered psychoanalysis to be an art form.  The patient is a canvas who frequently enters analysis in a torn and tattered way, already a masterpiece.  My job is to work as a Reconstructionist.  To return the canvas to the patient unmanipulated by the analyst, but repaired and reconditioned ready to stand in its own gallery.

Psychoanalysis exposes the innate talent and like other art forms it invents itself in a new way each time it is practiced.

A. L. Dussault

Charlestown, Rhode Island & St. Augustine, Fl

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IS IT THE THING, or is it the mood

is it the thing, or is it the mood..

Is it the things that we own or the property that we live in or the books or pieces of fine art that we have accumulated, is it even the wild perennial garden that we established that gives us our sense of joy & well-being?  Or, is it simply our mood that provides us with the feeling that all is well with us and the world.

It is very easy to think that it is because I have what I want that I am well, or it is equally easy to think that I do not have what i want and that is why I am not well or joyous.  But the facts of human psychology and the truths of human spirituality movements through out history seem to claim something other that acquisition as the factor that quells our jittery minds.

That damn–ego

Those of us who have been studying mindfulness and researching subjective concepts such as joy and contentment or compassionand gratitude have been coming across a phenomenon often referred to as well-being or in some religious faiths it is referred to as Grace. These words denote a concept that is entirely reached through sensation, feelings and an internal awareness or awakening that allows for a verbal description of the mental state that we are in at any given moment.  The importance of the internal awareness is that it provides a lens or a view of what is happening inside of us.  This perspective does two very distinctive jobs.  First, it is an alert mechanism–similar to the alert that anxiety might cause in the mind when the organism senses danger.  And secondly, it provides us with a view of ourselves that requires that we acknowledge that there is both a mechanism doing the viewing and a mechanism that is being viewed.  And for all practical purposes–it is the same mechanism, the human mind.

Let me for a moment review in a very simply way what Freud meant by the use of the word, “ego.”  For Freud, the ego constituted the most alert of the aspects of the psyche.  He essentially experienced the ego as the executive function of the the psychic apparatus…in addition to the ego he described the unconscious which the ego sat in and was partially submerged in and also described a super-ego as that aspect of us that learns based on the immediate environmental factors–so simply put the super-ego is our incorporated mother that taught us the right from wrong aspects of life.

The “id” which is simply the German word for “it” is where memories are both repressed to and in some cases originate from.  It is most primarily connected with the alligator brain or the brain stem which is analogous to the autonomic nervous system.  It is the source–again simply, of aggressive and sexual impulses un checked by the ego or the super-ego…I use to laugh with my major professor and say…in other words when it comes to the id we are like untrained dogs in a park….

O.K. back to the word “ego.”  In recent years and mostly through popular psychology the word ego has had less and less of a scientific, glossary-type definition and it has come to mean the persona of of the self…So, we might hear some one say, “he or she has a big EGO,” and they would be meaning they are so full of themselves.  I will use the word ego in its current colloquial form rather than in the more scientific psychoanalytic form.  For our discussion the ego will refer to the part of myself that has perception, ideas, consciousness and is the part of ourselves, that is most know to us by our first names.  In other words, when I think of who Al is, I am thinking of the egoic aspect of myself that has grown with a consciousness of myself growing in an environment.  I am a bi-lingual french/english speaking man of middle age and I am the person who I think myself to be when I say, “I am Al!”

It is really pretty simply.  Who ever you think of when you think of yourself by your first name is pretty much what the ego is in you.

However, it is not the totally  of my consciousness and that is the part of me that I want to talk about, the other part of me that can stand back and watch “Al” make up his mind, or make a mistake, or say something out-loud or even say something to myself.  I have a lens or a perspective that give me the ability to watch myself act in the world.  I can see myself thinking and I can say to myself something like, “oh, al–give it up, stop-it–damn you can be a fool,” or I can see and hear internally Al saying, “wow, I like that–I hope I can do that again.”

What I am getting at is that in my mind I have the capacity to watch my ego at work.  I can see it do and say things and even see it planning and being disappointed and angry and frustrated and manic and glad and all the rest.  In my mind and with another aspect of myself that is not my ego, I can see me at work–manipulating, facts and emotions into conclusions and ideas and opinions.  But the fact that I can watch myself do this–it the fact that most interest me and I have come to see this lens as the lens that can guide us out of narcissism and bad moods and other stuck places that the ego can find as a jam to be in.

The question that I am asking of myself when I ask, is it the thing or is it the mood that creates our state of mind is first and foremost a question that has to be directed either to the ego, or to the lens, if you will–that other aspect of self that is not the ego but can watch the ego.

I am not even sure that that lens has language except for what it borrows from the ego.  So it may be that the self apart from the ego can not really function aside and apart from who I am as Al, but I do know that I am able to be in a much quieter space, a space more full with well-being when I manage to stop or shut down the ego and in its place I am existing as a consciousness from which my ego emerges.

In the next post I will study further the emerging from the ego as what I mean by the emergence from narcissism. It is a bit like the process we used some many thousands of years ago when we came down from the trees.

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