Friday, March 7, 2008

A Stroll in The Maze: Psychoanalysis

The closer I get to graduation the more I contemplate, what have I really learned? Even past thinking about the facts of the field that I have picked up along the way I think about how my education has shaped my views of psychology, education, and eventually the world as corny as that might sound. My liberal arts education was unique in that it forced me to push aside the concept of the major and dip my toes into many fields, and at the same time it forced me to see the connections between each discipline. The question now is, what do I believe in?

I came into college with a strong dislike for psychoanalysis. In AP psychology I learned about Freud and the psychosexual stages of development and disregarded them as old fashioned. When forced to write about Freud in my sophomore year of college my perspective began to change. Sigmund Freud made sense, his theories could be seen in the children I worked with. What struck me even more was how vast and interesting his theories were and how often they contradicted each other. I didn't have to love everything Sigmund Freud said, and I don't, but some of his theories of the unconscious and development are a part of how I look at the world.

I started saying 'Sigmund Freud' because I needed to differentiate in my mind between him and his daughter, Anna Freud. My interest in clinical work with children led me to play therapy which led me to Anna Freud and Melanie Klein two psychoanalytic theorists who dedicated their lives to children. They broke more of those psychoanalytic stereotypes for me and I thirsted for psychoanalytic theory.

I still cannot get enough. For my thesis I read some Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and even briefly attempted to read Lacan (a theorist that's writing is still above me). I enjoy reading Bettelheim, Erikson, Vaillant, and many more. My education has taught me that psychoanalysis is more than being in love with your father and an oral complex. Through showing me the breadth of the field I now feel comfortable saying I believe in psychoanalysis. When I might people who disregard the field as old fashioned, as I once did, I try my best to smile and break the stereo types one theorist at a time.

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