Particular Pleasures of Psychoanalytic Clinical Work, and Notes on a History of Their Non-Discussion
A review of psychoanalytic history suggests that it has been difficult for us to allow ourselves to fully elaborate the particular pleasures we experience in doing our clinical work. Our clinical practice is constituted in a highly intensive, long-term, intimate contact with another, a mode of work putting us at odds with prevailing cultural mores, which suggest our investment in what we do is an indulgence, and in the individuals we help, an extravagance. The author suggests that our work, in fact, provides substantial quantities and qualities of pleasure not available in other occupations. Yet our pleasure is only rarely discussed by us, especially in our written literature, which continues for the most part to elaborate our trials and pains rather than pleasures. The collective difficulty of our psychoanalytic "pleasure problem" is examined, its consequences suggested, and some ideas proposed to help understand why our pleasures are ones we cannot more fully speak.
Michael Shulman, Ph.D.
Discussant: Jolyn Wagner, M.D.
Saturday, March 11, 2006